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IAM Platform Top 100 Motivational Quotes

Motivational Quotes can pick you up from the depths of complacency like nothing else.   We challenge you to read all 100 of these quotes and not feel like embracing the change necessary to improve your situation!

Ready?  Set.  Go!

  1. “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” Henry David Thoreau
  2. “If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” Jim Rohn
  3. “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life-think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” Swami Vivekananda
  4. “If you are willing to do more than you are paid to do, eventually you will be paid to do more than you do.” Anonymous
  5. “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
  6. “Whenever you see a successful person, you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them.” Vaibhav Shah
  7. “Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” Albert Einstein
  8. “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin
  9. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Eleanor Roosevelt
  10. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt
  11. “The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.” Bruce Feirstein
  12. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” John D. Rockefeller
  13. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Albert Einstein
  14. “There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” Ray Goforth
  15. “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Robert Collier
  16. “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear.” Mark Twain
  17. “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” Pablo Picasso
  18. “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain
  19. “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” Bruce Lee
  20. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs
  21. “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” Jim Rohn
  22. “The No. 1 reason people fail in life is because they listen to their friends, family, and neighbors.” Napoleon Hill
  23. “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” Margaret Thatcher
  24. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas A. Edison
  25. “What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?” Robert Schuller
  26. “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing.” Abraham Lincoln
  27. “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” John Maxwell
  28. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
  29. “Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.” David Allen
  30. “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” Greg Anderson
  31. “You never regret being kind.” Nicole Shepherd
  32. “Success at the highest level comes down to one question: Can you decide that your happiness can come from someone else’s success?” Bill Walton
  33. “Do what you have always done and you’ll get what you have always got.” Sue Knight
  34. “Think of what you have rather than of what you lack. Of the things you have, select the best and then reflect how eagerly you would have sought them if you did not have them.” Marcus Aurelius
  35. “Happiness is where we find it, but very rarely where we seek it.” J. Petit Senn
  36. “To be content means that you realize you contain what you seek.” Alan Cohen
  37. “Expecting life to treat you well because you are a good person is like expecting an angry bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.” Shari R. Barr
  38. “View your life from your funeral: Looking back at your life experiences, what have you accomplished? What would you have wanted to accomplish but didn’t? What were the happy moments? What were the sad? What would you do again, and what wouldn’t you do?” Victor Frankl
  39. “Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time…serenity, that nothing is.” Thomas Szasz
  40. “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” Eleanor Roosevelt
  41. “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward
  42. “Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” Robert Louis Stevenson
  43. “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets people to do the greatest things.” Ronald Reagan
  44. “Power isn’t control at all-power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.” Beth Revis
  45. “Don’t tell people how to do things; tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” George S. Patton Jr.
  46. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
  47. “Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan.” John F. Kennedy
  48. “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter F. Drucker
  49. “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” Albert Schweitzer
  50. “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” John C. Maxwell
  51. “The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.” Brandon Sanderson
  52. “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” John C. Maxwell
  53. “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” Steve Jobs
  54. “A leader … is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.” Nelson Mandela
  55. “Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.” Colin Powell
  56. “Do you know that one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.” Margaret Thatcher
  57. “A leader is a dealer in hope.” Napoleon
  58. “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” Theodore Roosevelt
  59. “If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. But do not care to convince him. Men will believe what they see. Let them see.” Henry David Thoreau
  60. “I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.” Robert E. Lee
  61. “Consensus: the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: ‘I stand for consensus?'” Margaret Thatcher
  62. “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be.” Rosalynn Carter
  63. “There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust.” Klaus Balkenhol
  64. “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” Nancy D. Solomon
  65. “In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” Max De Pree
  66. “A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others so that they may have the strength to stand on their own.” Beth Revis
  67. “Always remember, Son, the best boss is the one who bosses the least. Whether it’s cattle, or horses, or men, the least government is the best government.” Ralph Moody
  68. “If you really want the key to success, start by doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing.” Brad Szollose
  69. “Give as few orders as possible,” his father had told him once long ago. “Once you’ve given orders on a subject, you must always give orders on that subject.” Frank Herbert (from Dune)
  70. “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” Tony Blair
  71. “Wisdom equals knowledge plus courage. You have to not only know what to do and when to do it, but you have to also be brave enough to follow through.” Jarod Kintz
  72. “In a battle between two ideas, the best one doesn’t necessarily win. No, the idea that wins is the one with the most fearless heretic behind it.” Seth Godin
  73. “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  74. “Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” Patrick Lencioni
  75. “Leadership is an action, not a position.” Donald McGannon
  76. “Surround yourself with great people; delegate authority; get out of the way.” Ronald Reagan
  77. “I cannot give you a formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.” Herbert Bayard Swope
  78. “Show me the man you honor and I will know what kind of man you are.” Thomas John Carlisle
  79. “A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason.” J.P. Morgan
  80. “If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything.” Tom Rath
  81. “Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.” Orrin Woodward
  82. “Don’t blow off another’s candle for it won’t make yours shine brighter.” Jaachynma N.E. Agu
  83. “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Peter F. Drucker
  84. “When you put together deep knowledge about a subject that intensely matters to you, charisma happens. You gain courage to share your passion, and when you do that, folks follow.” Jerry Porras
  85. “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” John Maxwell
  86. “A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” John Maxwell
  87. “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” George Patton
  88. “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward
  89. “Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.” Gertrude Stein
  90. “The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.” John E. Southard
  91. “Keep your eyes open and try to catch people in your company doing something right, then praise them for it.” Tom Hopkins
  92. “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” Eleanor Roosevelt
  93. “Low self-confidence isn’t a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered-just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.” Barrie Davenport
  94. “Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.” Andre Dubus
  95. “Do it or not. There is no try.” Yoda
  96. “Rarely have I seen a situation where doing less than the other guy is a good strategy.” Jimmy Spithill
  97. “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” Margaret Thatcher
  98. “The best revenge is massive success.” Frank Sinatra
  99. “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” Ayn Rand
  100. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Steve Jobs

The Magic In Giving

IAM Podcast - How to monetize your blog

This week we have seen some pretty volatile stuff, haven’t we?  First @TonyRobbins sticks his head where the sun doesn’t shine and tries pushing an agenda with a real victim of sexual abuse because he was tone deaf immersed in his own “juice” (and for the record I don’t think Tony is a bad person, he just really, really allowed his ego to get in the way).  Second, we have more revelations that Social Media Platforms are doing more with your data than they should be (frankly I think we all suspected this).  Finally, we have all forms of e-commerce architecture coming under scrutiny as the government begins to probe taxes on the Internet.  What a week.

Some great examples of areas where giving has gone awry.  No?  So let’s examine giving and kindness and how it can be used for good and for growth and benefit to all.

In order to do that we first have to examine the word itself.  Giving is the act of exchange without expectation of return.  Giving differs from investment and does not consider returns.  It is a release, not a grasp.  For this reason, it is free and whatever is free is powerful.  It is not enslaved to emotions or agendas.  This is precisely why giving has the potential for magic.  OK enough blabbing.  Let’s examine some concrete examples.

The first magic you experience when you start giving is the breaking down of walls and trenches that desperation builds.  It does not start slowly either.  It’s a freaking avalanche.  Why?  Because nobody, literally nobody, wants to be crushed, they want to crush it!  So they see the energy of your giving and in their starved state they crave it and do the same.  This explodes exponentially and soon every boat rises.  Give and you shall receive.  It’s a law.

The second magic you experience is the idea that promoting others promotes yourself.  It is also known as the principle of referral.  This is a very powerful magic indeed.  The formula for successful referral is successful advocacy.  This means that you must choose a format for a referral that allows your promotion of others to also promote you.  Further, you must choose a format which allows the promotion of other’s promotion of you to refer back to you!  Social Media is inherently capable of this.  Posting and sharing are built in with a tag to your profile so no matter where the original post goes, it includes you!  This allows you to forget about you.  Yes, forget all about you and start promoting others.  In essence, you start to realize it’s all information.  The sharing of information and humans love to share information that is relevant and the greatest relevance for humans comes in the form of other humans.  That is why Social Media is such a popular form of information exchange.  Social Media is not the only form of information exchange, but it is a very popular one for the reasons mentioned above.  And that, simply put, is magic.

The final magic you will experience is exponentiality.  This is like cloning yourself, or the ability to be in several places at once.  This is also known as the principle of bilocation.  Right now, on the Internet (which is really only about 13 or 14 years old), we have a full on land rush/land grab.  It’s a veritable New Homesteading Act.  Yet we are faced with a problem.  Have you ever seen the game where you place a human in a glass tube and blow money around and the human tries to grab as much money as possible in a defined amount of time?  What you experience while watching that is exactly what is happening online right now.  However, just like there are those who find ways to scoop up the cash effectively and there are those who are overwhelmed and gather no money, the same applies to this land rush.  The New Homesteaders are the Content Providers and the New Homestead is the Internet and Content Provider Platforms.  Once you understand this your orientation to content shifts dramatically.  As this shift in your understanding starts to grip you, you begin to feel the panic of the sheer size of the information that you about to process.  You realize quickly that you are not able to process enough content to make even the slightest dent in the massive momentum of the already existing information that is exponentially increasing every nanosecond of existence.  Even your own personal generation of information exceeds your ability to grasp and control it completely.  This is where the principle of bilocation works to your advantage.  Leveraging the first two principles we have already covered, we achieve the magic of bilocation.  Our action here is advocacy and being creative about advocating the content of others so that they are motivated to move your content and add their own “spice” to it.  Pretty soon you have a wonderful concoction that powers everyone who is participating.

A great example of this is the #TwitterChat.  Centered around the lowly hashtag (any hashtag will do), a group of dedicated individuals can create what is known as a  “#Trending” topic which gets blasted to anyone who is looking for that hashtag or mentions words that contain it.  With a potential audience of 500 million, that can get massive fast.

My good friends Marsha Wright (@marshawright) and Madalyn Sklar (@MadalynSklar) have mastered the #TwitterChat.  Marsha currently has over 5000 dedicated Tweeters engaging her content and promoting their content as well in a veritable smorgasbord of synergy that promotes the magic of giving using all three principles we covered today.  Her #TwitterChat #ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha is always trending and covers entrepreneurship, motivation, B2B, kindness and trending topics.  Madalyn Sklar, another #TwiterExpert, has built an amazing #Twitter centric community discussing #TwitterTips.  These can be surprisingly structured and cohesive even though when you peel back the layers you see the amorphous nature of the gathering.  We “relate” to the subject that the hashtag centers us all on and that provides something out of nothing, MAGIC!

I hope that this helps you see a bit of magic today and helps you to understand that the reason you are not growing is not that you are not working hard.  It is because you don’t have strong magic helping you.  You need this magic to help you and if you will just reach out and start the journey on the path of giving you will experience an unbelievable tsunami of growth that will make waves.  Riding on that wave like the best pro surfer is you and everyone else you touch!

See you on the Internet!

Benjamin Alexander De Mers Continue reading “The Magic In Giving”

How to Monetize your WordPress Blog (Series Pt. 1)

Sounds easy doesn’t it?

No?  Not buying it?  Whelp, no worries, that’s where we all started.  Just wondering, day in and day out, how, just how, did they do it.  How did guys like Neil Patel and gals like Tamara McCleary do it?  How do they make five figures a week basically shuffling information?

Well, the answer is manifold.  There are lots of things you need to learn and lots of things you need to master in order to really pull that kinda dough from the World Wide Web which just happens to be the greatest opportunity for advancement humanity has ever conceived.

The first thing you have to do is orient your mind to a whole new way of thinking.  This involves answering three fundamental questions.  1) Just what is the Internet?  2) Just what does it do?  3) Just how does it work?  In order to capitalize on something we have to understand it first.  I personally believe that many, many people stumble and fall at this Internet Business Thang because they truly just do not understand how truly different the Internet is and yet still grasp how fundamentally the same it is as well. So let’s answer some questions and see where you stand on your understanding.

What is the Internet?  The Internet is not a place.  It is not a thing.  It is a network of things that together create something else.  From the physical infrastructure that supports the Internet to the basic protocols that allow it to move data packages about, it is like a big package factory, warehouse and delivery system for the world’s data packages, regardless, truly, of the content that is in the packages.  So that is the first thing you have to understand so that you can rightly orient your mind to the Internet.  It facilitates YOU and YOUR content and really does nothing else.  OK?

Now the second question.  What does the Internet DO?  Well, as we mentioned above briefly, the Internet moves packages.  It does not care what is in the packages, it just moves them.  It uses protocols, known as Internet Protocols, which are like delivery routes, and Internet Protocol Addresses, which are like destination points, to move packages from one place to another and make sure that they get there.  So that is the second thing you should understand if you are going to wrap your mind around the Internet.  Again, YOU and YOUR content are still firmly NOT being created by the Internet.  This is key to understanding how to monetize your blog, which is way down the road from where we are now.  So follow along further here to the AHA moment, OK?

Now to answer the third question.  How does the Internet Work?  As we have previously briefly mentioned, the Internet is a support structure for the movement of Packages.  What is in the packages is irrelevant.  The only thing that matters is that there either is or is not a package and where it is going.  Because the Internet does not care what is in the packages it is moving, literally anything can use this package moving system to manipulate the way those packages move from one place to the next.  This is where we start to understand HOW your blog came to be in the first place and how you can understand that it is a TOOL for you to tailor the content that is in the package that is being moved about so that it speaks about you.  But we have one more thing to cover.  Remember when we discussed being able to influence the way packages are moved from one place to another?  It is precisely this capability that allowed Sir Tim Berners-Lee (sorry Al Gore, but he was the REAL inventor of the World Wide Web – Al actually had something to do with the creation of the Internet) to envision and create the World Wide Web.

By now you can see that the Internet and the World Wide Web are decidedly not the same thing. This is a cause for confusion that leaves many not understanding the power of either and therefore not understanding how to orient themselves for a solid business footing in either.  So now that we have established the answers to the three fundamental questions and we understand what the Internet is, what it does and how it works and we have now seen that it is compatible with products that can be built to enable a certain way of moving packages from one place to another (as distinguished from the total flow of packages moving on the Internet) and we understand that one of these products is the World Wide Web, we can now get to your Blog.

Remember when I mentioned Internet Protocol Address?  Well the World Wide Web uses these and creates another very important addition, like a postal code, to the Internet Protocol Address, it is called a Domain Name.  This domain name is a unique identifier which allows the personalization of the Internet Protocol Address.  Up until now, the Internet did not care what was in your package, right?  Well it still doesn’t but the World Wide Web, which is built using the structure of the Internet, does.  It cares very much so what is in the packages you are sending. It shows its care for this in the very structure that built it.  That structure is called a semantic markup language and just like you use words and sentences and paragraphs and pages and books and volumes and libraries to organize and  transmit information from one place to another in the brick and mortar world, so to the World Wide Web has created a language system to organize and transmit a digital copy of all that we have in the real brick and mortar world.  The structures in this language have certain “tags” which allow us to tell the difference between a cat and a dog or a still image and a moving image and so on.  How we refer to those objects is different than how we move them.  The Internet is going to move the package no matter what is in it but the World Wide Web is only going to move packages with a certain type of content.  This content is what is designated and defined by the language of hyperlinks and the structural language of the World Wide Web, namely Hypertextual Markup Language or HTML.  Just as there have been many iterations of our human speech based language, there have been five iterations of the machine language we call HTML.  Betcha you did not know that!

So how does all this relate to making money with my BLOG?  It relates because of what we said about orientation, remember?  Now that you can see the nuts and bolts of this “thing” we use you can position yourself to make money on it.  The most fundamental understanding of this educational moment we are having here together is that WE ARE STILL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CREATION AND CONTENT OF OUR CONTENT.  We are still responsible for the context of our content and its value.  We are converting our brick and mortar world value into a value that can enter the packages that are moving on the World Wide Web.

Although this sounds like a lot of work, it really is not.  See your BLOG is run by a software that is built to make the conversion of YOU into a package that can be sent throughout the very unique delivery system of the World Wide Web plug and play easy.  You are literally publishing yourself and everything you see and hear, and taste, and feel and think, get it?

Now, nobody wants to experience everything about everything (well I do, but then again, I am decidedly NOT normal), we just want to experience this thing or that thing and we want to do it when it is appropriate and relevant, right?  We want it to SPEAK TO US.  So how do we get it to speak to us/them/everyone?  We use what we have learned and we write about it envisioning how it is going to be witnessed by those who have opted in to receive our “packages”.

So you can see now that it is not so very different than you already know how to make money in the brick and mortar world, it is just that you have to embrace the way in which things move and how people access things on the World Wide Web.  For one thing, and there are countless “things” you are going to have to learn about how it is also very different than your brick and mortar reality, it is a ton more IMMEDIATE than you have ever experienced in your life.  That means that what you are is immediately translated, without filters, without history, without context, without any understanding except what you have given it right then and there.  In fact the only way a package on the World Wide Web has any meaning is if it is linked to other packages in a meaningful way by YOU.

Remember those hyperlinks we talked about?  Remember that whole Internet and World Wide Web relationship we talked about?  Remember that whole World Wide Web and Blog relationship we talked about.  Well, I have to let you in on a naughty little secret.   Those relationships are NOT monogamous!  (Oh shoot, the cat’s outta the bag and she’s screaming!)  That’s right, there are countless other “things” that have relationships with the World Wide Web “thing” which in turn is just one relationship that the Internet has with many other “things”  That is how we get the term Internet of Things.  Of course to really blow your mind I would have to tell you that all of these relationships can have relationships with each other no matter who starts the relationship!  Yep, that’s right, you are being cheated on constantly.  So lets say you have a SKYPE call going on and you are also using your BROWSER to surf the WORLD WIDE WEB, well, these are all “things” using the Internet to move their packages and they are also using each other to move different content within those packages in a giant Whoopsie of cheating that is only organized by the ability to do so (and believe me that ability is endless).

So as you start to develop a vision of how to monetize your BLOG, yep, your little old blog in the middle of that maelstrom, you have to first get in touch with your voice.  Remember when I said you have to SPEAK TO THEM?  Well, trying to figure out what someone is looking to hear is impossible to sustain.  It might be possible to know in any given moment, but we don’t write things in one moment, it takes many moments to craft something and put it into the digital world we know as the World Wide Web right?  For some less and for some more.  But all of us spend TIME crafting when we do finally understand just exactly what it is that we are crafting on, how it works and what it does.

So what does that mean for YOU and YOUR CONTENT?  It means that both YOU and YOUR content have to find something that is able to be heard.  WHAT?  I can’t hear you!  Exactly.  That is the point.  Now understanding the giant cluster fuck of the World Wide Web is going to make sense to you more and more. Just because you build it does not mean that they will come (well the truth is they will come, but they will not stay) it also does not mean they will hear you (well the truth is that they will hear you but will they LISTEN).  Remember, everything is connected, so everything is just a connection away, so you really DO hear it but you do not listen to it.  It is the din.  The messy massive noise machine.  So what do they LISTEN to?  They listen to YOU.  Finding YOU is the most important thing you can do.  It is also the very last thing anyone should be able to pull out of your cold dead hands when you have penned your last.  That YOU is the only YOU that YOU have in YOUR life.  It is the ONLY thing that is YOURS.  Therefore, learn to concentrate singly on YOU and get a real feel for how YOU are experiencing YOUR unique point of view.

Now that sounds a bit myopic, and believe me it is.  So at some point you will have to start relating to how this new YOU that you have discovered relates to every other YOU-person out there but you must never allow YOUR YOU that you have discovered to ever be displaced by any other YOU-person that is out there.  I am harping on this because even though there is an interminable and ubiquitous omnipresence of information out there, there is only ONE YOU.  In fact you are the rarest of finds in all of existence.  That is why for most people finding YOU is the hardest thing to do!  But if you want to make money with your BLOG, you have to do this.  You have to find YOU.

Now I know, there are tools and stuff that we have to go over and I am going to get to that in the next part of this series.  For now, little miss or mister YOU, I want YOU to go and sit down with YOU and get to know YOU.  Look at your world, your brick and mortar world and how you have formed within it.  Look at the way you relate to you in that world.  Study yourself and everyone that knows you.  Study how you relate to them knowing you.  Believe me it gets pretty complex.  So how do you know when you have studied enough?  Well, the honest answer to that is that you will never get to the end of it, and that is a good thing, but the equally honest answer is that you will get to a certain point of mastery with it and that is enough.  Basically, when you are comfortable enough to say anything no matter what anyone thinks of it, you are eligible for enrollment in content generation 101.  That will be the title of the next blog I send out.  Not sure when.  In an hour, a day, a week, I will keep you guessing (another secret you will learn) and believe me I am going to milk that anticipation with every single ounce of anticipation wringing power my fingers, palms and wrists can wring out of the world.

OK YOU, go find YOU.  Then come back here and learn some more.

OH, I forgot, if you come back before you have found you, just beware, you will eventually have to do it because you will so easily forget who you are when you start using the tools and systems that I will show you that you give up because there is one little secret I will share with you now about this whole journey you are about to embark upon.  It is a single question that every single act of diligence is going to SCREAM at you in a blood curdling pitch at ear bleeding decibels: “why am I doing this?”  If you don’t have a really good answer for that question, well, guess what, diligence does not just shut up and go away mocking you, NO, it just keeps asking you that same question like a rabid five year old.  SO you have to be ready to give that answer and there is a specific answer to that question by the way and we will get into that as we start orienting our new understandings we have gained here today with the tools and techniques that will explode your VOICE onto the scene and believe me the world needs MORE VOICE and less NOISE!

See you on the other side… Continue reading “How to Monetize your WordPress Blog (Series Pt. 1)”

The Experience – Part Three – Mind

The Experience – Part Three – Mind

 
 
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That first morning when I arrived at the Zen Monastery I remember telling myself that there was a good chance that I was never coming back out again.  Something deep inside me, that was deeply familiar with the seduction of meditation, was calling to me to beware.  I was wary therefore when I first came into the room.  It was an open room with the unmistakable pillars of a refurbished warehouse interrupting your gaze like an annoying information seeker when you are trying to read a really great book.

There I stood, half naked and in sandals, hair long but neatly combed.  There he sat, with the others, not looking or not looking at me, but rather just looking.  After a while I just sat down.  I felt like it was the right thing to do.  I sat there, for hours, not really knowing what to do.  I sat for hours upon hours as people came and went and the person who appeared to be “in charge” just did things only an attendant would do.  I began to think nobody was in charge and this was just a hangout for people who wanted to come and think.  In that way it was really not very much different than the library.

There was something different about it though.  It was the ever sucking silence that was there.  It was a presence beyond the occasional noise from the outside world that would bleed through the walls of the old warehouse.  It was visceral and gelatinous and stuck to you like flies to flypaper.  It was compelling.  So I stayed, sitting in that ridiculous way for that equally ridiculous amount of time.  I never felt foolish though.  The setting was way to somber for that.  I am pretty sure if I had been anywhere else I would have felt foolish.  Here, not so much.

Finally, at the very end of the day, the “attendant” came up to me and stood about three feet away from me.  He was not standing over me nor was he even facing me.  He was just standing near me.  I found this profoundly interesting.  Then he noticed I was looking at him and he then looked at me, no, really looked at me this time.  I could tell the difference.  I thought he was going to say something, but he did not.  His eyes were always making you think he was about to say something but he rarely did.  He then came closer to me one step at a time.  Finally, he sat down in front of me and then after staring at me for a good long time he finally said something to me.  He took a deep, deep breath and after most of the air had departed his lungs he allowed his vocal chords to intercept the air and his mouth slowly formed the word, “why?”

One word.  One utterance, almost like a windy whisper that could have been mistaken for any number of sounds a windpipe can make, came from him.  Only one.  So I said, “be…” and his hand rose sharply and quickly to silence me.  Then the next word came out, “wait”.  We sat there with me beginning to fidget, something I had not done all day.  Finally he uttered one more word, “tomorrow.”

Then he got up, went to the door, which was always open and walked outside.  He did not come back, at least not in the hour I sat there waiting for him.  By that time I was profoundly tired.  So, having no place to go (I had rented out my co-op space to another person for the summer) I opened up my grass mat (yep I was that trendy) and fell soundly asleep on it.

I awoke the next day to ice cold water dumped over my entire body.  I sat straight up and screamed as loud as I could.  I was enraged and stood up ready to punch someone only to find that face, looking, not at me, just looking.  I was immediately set aback by that stare and backed down.  He then said one word to me, “scrub”.  He handed me the now empty bucket, except for the wooden handled brush inside, and walked away to water some plants.

I could not believe what I was witnessing.  Without saying anything more than four words to me this man had already had the most profound impact on me that I could remember anyone, even my wordy professors, having upon me.  I put the bucket down, grabbed the scrub brush, moved my mat off the wet spot and started using the water to scrub the wooden floor.

As I scrubbed I could not help but think that the way he was looking in my direction and where the water landed was nothing but a coincidence.  It almost seemed like he was not expecting anything to be on that spot on the floor.  Rather, he was wetting the floor and discovered that I was sleeping on it in that way.  At which point I was enlisted in the scrubbing.  It only seemed natural.  So I scrubbed.  It took me about two hours to scrub the floor while the sun slowly came up over the horizon and the whole room glowed in surreal bermellon.

When I had finished scrubbing the floor, he walked over near me and said, “follow.”  I then was taken to the garden area where there was a sand pit with some stones and some bonsai trees surrounded by a redwood deck that was meticulously manicured and startlingly clean.  He pointed at the deck and said, “scrub”.  I sighed and said, “it’s already…”.  Again, the hand shot up and silenced me.  Again, he said, “tomorrow”.  This time he meant I should leave.

That was the first of many nights I slept in nature.  Something a break from school and the summer vacation made possible.  It is quite striking how little food we actually need to survive.  Granted I was rail thin, but I was not always hungry.  I ate what I was offered, from friends or from the monastery, but nothing else.  I also happened upon a few apple and pear trees here and there that were growing in the wild most likely from apples and pears that someone had thrown into the woods on some hike or another.  I would gorge myself until I could not move, nap and then towards the evening find a safe place to place my mat and sleep.

I arrived the next morning around the time I remembered must have been when the master had arrived and discovered that there was a bucket, scrub brush and water waiting for me.  So I scrubbed the floor of the main sitting room and then moved to the redwood deck in the garden area and then when I was done I placed the bucket where I had found it and sat down.

It was about another hour and the master came out and said, “follow”.  I then followed him and he took me to a really amazing place.  It was a small pool with a statue of a Buddha in lotus.  Placed on a redwood bench next to the pool was a robe, bright bermellon and a pair of plain leather sandals.  He looked at me and said, “Bathe. Dress. Sit.”  So I did.  When I saw him next he had a towel and a bowl.  He said, “on your knees.”  I said, “OK.”  He said, “bend over.”  I was thinking, “OK, this is getting creepy.”  I felt like I was supposed to be alarmed at this somewhere in my deepest being, but then he smiled and pulled out a big pair of silver scissors.  So I bent over and he placed the large wooden bowl under my head and began to cut my hair.

Now, it must be said, I loved my hair.  I took meticulous care of it.  I was careful to brush it one hundred times with my head inverted between my knees to let the blood flow to the follicles.  It was thick and luxurious hair and I was known for it all about campus.  As I watched it fall from my head, all I could think about was that this felt like I was becoming naked even though I was fully clothed in the robe.

Next, he got out a razor and some shaving soap and shaved my head neatly down to the skin.  When he was done he tossed me the towel and I wiped my head.  He then said, “follow.”  We went into the garden as the sun was just rising.  He sat down and patted the redwood.  I sat down.  He then reached into his robe and gave me the book that would change my entire life.  He gave me a handwritten notebook containing the neatly written Ambattha Sutta which is the treatise on Pride.  It means, generally, “pride humbled.”

He got up and walked away.  I then started to read the words in the notebook and from that point I was whisked away into a world of understanding that has only grown as I encounter more of the wisdom of humanity on this incredible journey I am on.

One notebook at a time throughout the entire summer I read, sat, listened and learned from the master.  Finally, towards the end of the summer I came across the treatise on the mental body.  I remember where I was when I was reading it.  I was in the coffee shop next to the monastery sitting at a table, bright bermellon robe and shaved head and all and read the lines about the instructions on how to build the mental body.  It was at this point that everything came rushing in upon me and I started to pulse in and out again.

I knew that this was the answer to what had happened to me and it apparently had happened to this fellow Gautama over a thousand years ago.  He was experiencing something far beyond what was simply physical and it had real ramifications in the world, the physical world.  According to this reading there were many things that could be done in the mental body that could not be done in the physical body and that that which was seen in the mental body could inform the physical body and physical world.  However there were many, many cautions.  Far more cautions than the cautions for the meditating student.  This was precisely because this exercise was detached from direct corroboration.  It was an exercise that existed entirely inside of mind.  Progress had to be made slowly and with meticulous verification or one was surely lost.

However, at least I had a framework for what was happening to me.  I could let go of the conspiracy lunacy and get down to brass tacks.  I was, after all, a scientist and a philosopher, at the time, and I was after a rational explanation for the profoundly altering experiences that were happenstance-ing to me. Continue reading “The Experience – Part Three – Mind”

The Experience – Part Two

The symbol of consciousness.

I remember as a boy of about 5 or six, which was the earliest I can remember, that I knew I was never alone.  It was a central understanding in my life.  It was like mom or brother or sister or dog or house or any of those other central understandings in my life.  It was almost something I took for granted, almost.  Only I couldn’t.  That’s because it never went away.  That ever present sense was always there like the scent of the Pacific Ocean that hits you when you get close to Yuma, Arizona and gets ever so stronger as you continue West on Highway 8 towards San Diego.

My little boy imagination was always at work.  There were flashes of light and sound and color, some furious and others subdued.  Then there were wisps and whispers that  I thought for sure contained faces and structures I related to living creatures of all kinds.  This produced feelings in me.  Feelings that constantly wanted me to be there and nowhere else.  There was a yearning to it.  Far from running away, it was just this pang.  A hunger and a thirst that could not be satisfied with any succulence or satiation I could swallow.

This knowing was not shallow.  It was all encompassing and ever pressing.  It was like feeling the weight of the pressure of the atmosphere in a way that took you out of your forgetting of it (which you have done you know).  It wasn’t like drowning though.  It was instead very warm and encompassing like a womb.  It was exactly like a womb, only it was constructed of everything I encountered after being forcefully evicted from the place of my origin.

I am telling you this because this presence I speak of sets the stage for the second chapter in my experience of coming to know that I am more than the sum of everything that forms me.  This presence plays very heavily into my accretion of a mindset that eventually allows me to envision that the transfer out of the place of my origin is not a severing isolation, but a new implantation within a new womb, which I have come to understand is called “the Universe” (At least it is by the inhabitants of this planet, some of whom I have come to know and many of whom I am acquainted with to varying degrees).

The story continues with me living on with the experience on my fourteenth birthday seared into my mind and coloring everything that I encounter.  That day drove a wedge between my acceptance of life as something that “just happens” and my understanding of life as something that “is happening”.  My awareness took an injection of steroids and went from passive to active, zero to sixty, in an instant.

Up until that day I considered myself a better than average dreamer.  I would have dreams every night and even during the day sometimes.  I would imagine all sorts of worlds, some of them obvious and others not so much.  Every dream was in full vibrant color and I was always aware that I was dreaming.  Up until that day my dreams were like a picture show that I watched.  After that day my dreams were increasingly under my control.  I began to understand that I could control every aspect of every dream that I had and I considered this a fluency as important as types of scent, varieties of flavor,  nuances of touch and the meaning of words.  After that day what I considered a dream was no longer a dream.  Dreams became the activity of an attribute of my mind.  One that would lead me into some very interesting and powerful experiences.  One that was fraught with danger and innocence, horror and beauty and revelations that sometimes took me to places that I had no desire to be in or even know were possible.  I knew one thing and I knew it well.  Dreaming like this was a power.

I grew on, into the twilight of my time in the nest with mom, dad and siblings until the day when my yearnings and cravings sucked me out and spit me upon the shores of the only place I knew where I could plug into the information network of this planet, the University.  At first I was like an awkward, gangling youngling stumbling about trying to gain its footing.  I had no idea if it was the world that was rubbery or if it was my legs.  You could think of it in both ways and I sure did.  I always did.  I think that is the deepest consequence of the types of experiences that I have had and continue to have.  I was and still am acutely aware of the limitations of the anthropomorphism that plagues our species and is perhaps the single greatest enemy to personal freedom and self-discovery that we wrestle with every day.  There I was nonetheless, cast upon these shores, like a self cast outcast.  I felt like a pioneer, a pilgrim.  Even so I was driven, maniacally at times, to understand just how to deal with the information gap that existed in me as a consequence of the disruption of that day so long ago when my world was turned upside down, never to return to right side up because right vanished and in its place there was only a relativity staring back at me decidedly unblinking.

So I enrolled into the School of Architecture and Urban Design.  What?  Seriously?  Yes, I did.  I don’t know why I did so.  I think it was because I sensed that I was on to something structural and I wanted to know about structures, about architectures, about how things were constructed (and torn down).  I was driven by this passion and soon came to terms with the first limitation that doomed my chances to be this kind of architect.

I could not draw.  My hands were like dumb blocks of palm and finger shaped rubber.  They were entirely unresponsive.  It was embarrassing.  I tried every possible way to augment my shortcoming but we had not come to the age of Photoshop and graphic manipulation, heck computers were extremely infantile in the early eighties, so I was left to rulers and compasses and protractors and other rigid and crude instruments, such as cut out tracing templates and light boards (for engaging actual visual plagiary).  The more and more I struggled to create inspiring visual representations of my passion for structures the more and more that passion was sucked out of me.  My mother was an accomplished and masterful painter and she spent hours teaching me to paint.  Even so, that teaching was stubbornly not extending to my ability to draw.  With the tool of the paintbrush in my hands I could create wonderful things.  But as soon as I tried to use my hand and a pencil or pen or chalk, that vanished.  There was something about the intersection of the tool and the distance from the work that was my sweet spot.  It always bugged my mother, but then again, she saw that I could paint and it was OK by her.  However, my inability to draw was the first time I encountered the visceral difference between theoretical and practical. It had a profound impact upon me, not only then, and not only in this category, but in every single aspect of my being, including the one that was at the heart of a relentless driving of me.

I remember talking to the Dean.  She and I both knew I was bright but not cut out for architecture, at least of this kind, and I told her that I was going to be switching majors.  At the time I did not really know that I did not need to formally do anything to switch my major, but this meet-up was something that who I was needed to do.  It was all much more dramatic than it had to be, but again, that presence I always felt, made my life feel like I was constantly in a movie that had a director who was always shouting at me to do one thing or another (but mercilessly never said “cut”).

So I gravitated to the School of Design and spent a semester undecided.  Undecided.  Now there is a word.  Especially when it is applied to a life.  Undecided.  I was now undecided.  That was something I never was before.  I had always been decided.  I had always known what I was going to do next.  I had always dreamed it or read about it or discovered something I needed to know that pushed me to become what I needed to in order to slip into the world that held what I needed.  But this time, I was undecided.  I felt it everyday when my friends and teachers and counselors would ask me, “what is your major” and I would say, “well, I am undecided.”  I would physically shudder sometimes.  It was the start of an uncomfortable arising in me that I would understand later as one of the most important moments of my life, but at that time it was a stigma that I was none to proud to wear.

After that semester I had an encounter with a Rastafarian who introduced me to the world of Reggae, Ska and Jazz.  Up until that point I was pretty straight laced.  I was what you would call a “preppy”.  That was the eighties term for “nerd” (well, just before they coined it in a movie made during that decade, anyway).  Interestingly it was at that point that I gravitated to a position between two seemingly irreconcilable opposites, Philosophy and Business.  I also became heavily involved in media production working with a group of friends that called itself Gallivant Media where I farmed out my services as a fledgling start up called Dandelion Paper Media.  We were working to promote the underground music scene in Milwaukee at the time and many of the bands (and other types of artists) we saw come together, through our efforts and the efforts of others, went on to become very famous.  Throw in a healthy dose of Comparative Religions and I was about as far from my Izod wearing preppy days as you could possibly get.  I think it was at that time that I truly became a nerd.

I took a work study job as a circulation attendant at the university library.  It was right up my alley.  I was encased in “the stacks” as they called them.  For me it was a giant labyrinth of knowledge that played a tune so seductive to my information gap that I instantly fell in love with the musty smell of those many thousands of tomes and their care.  Later in life I was to return to that love of information and it was to drive me even during the interim.  I was profoundly shaped by my four years in library service and it is an experience that I will never forget for as long as I shall exist.  There are fundamental “structures” that live there which appealed to my general passion for structure that I tried to satisfy in the School of Architecture and Urban Design and reached out tenderly and all too knowingly to grab the tattered and raw edges of undecided me and snapped me firmly back into place.  It was right after I took that job that the penultimate experience of this second chapter took place.

The midsummer night hung damp and dripping upon the naked skin of my exposed upper body.  I was fond of wearing nothing but a thin three-fold braided chord strung from my shoulder to my waist and around my back to my shoulder again in a half-hearted tribute to the Brahmans of India, whom I respected tremendously.  The moon, low in the sky, hanging over the waters of Lake Michigan with a tentative truce, cast a lightspear from the horizon to the shore impaling me with an accusation of not staring in jaw-dropping wonder at its unfathomable beauty.  The midnight ambiance of this section of the plateau of Lake Park, which shelved itself as a plinth running alongside the lapping waters of the lake, caused me to stop, dead in my tracks and when I did everything melted away, including my direct consciousness of the entire place.

I sincerely do not know what happened to me.  I know that one moment I was blissfully taking one of my extended Walt Whitman-ish “forays” into the natural splendor of eighties Lake Park and the next moment my world had been reduced to a pulsing arrival and departure of consciousness in which I was greeted each time with a new and bizarre scene playing itself out in front of me.  On the first return I was no longer standing.  I was sitting on the ground.  I had placed the canvas bag that I always carried with me to the side and taken the single-loop toe sandals off my feet and placed them on the bag.  I had taken the small drums out of my bag, which I had spent a pretty penny on and spent a ton of time conditioning and tuning, and then I pulsed again.  It was like a long slow throb.  Like the push of awareness in and out of your grasp as if it was blood pumping through the millions of orifices throughout your body and your cells grasping at each molecule of life it brings as if there will never be another, ever again.

On the second return I was playing my drums.  The rhythm was a combination of palm thrusts, finger taps and back handed nail scratch throws which was extremely seductive.  I found myself instantly in love with the rhythm.  I was staring at the moon which had now met the water and was being swallowed by the mouth of Lake Michigan as the horizon had curved up on each side of the moon like thick wet lips of light sucking on a glowing crystal ball due to the haze effect of the rarefied lake water as it played with the light of the captured moon. Then I pulsed again.

On the third return I was no longer playing my drums.  This was the first thing I was aware of.  The second awareness was that of a strange chattering sound, like clicks and buzzes and high pitched guttural bird calls and the sound of a strange rustling which was thick and noisy and ominously close.  Focus came next and I was staring into the face of three of the biggest raccoons I had ever seen.  They were like little bears.  Big thick heads and large round bodies and they were sitting up on their haunches with their hands reaching out for my drums, touching them and then retreating back to their chests sort of like a kangaroo holds its hands when it has nothing better to do with them.  They were making this unbelievably lively chatter, filled with the clicks and buzzes and high pitched guttural ratatat sounds which were most decidedly directed at each other.  It was like they were talking to me and to each other but I did not understand a word of it and they were upset and bewildered that I did not know what they were saying!  Furthermore I got the distinct feeling, like a pet owner knows its pet knows him or her, that these three night denizens knew me and the fact that I obviously did not know them was troubling them in a very raccoonish way.

It was then that I discovered the source of the loud rustling sound that I was hearing but could not detect the source of.  It was the ground.  Starting from just about a foot outside of where the raccoons were sitting on their haunches the ground was alive with every kind of insect from crickets to earthworms all writhing in every direction in a thick matte that stretched for at least ten feet in every direction around me.  On the edge of that were rabbits and squirrels and on the edge of them were the reptiles, the snakes, frogs and turtles, one of which must have been a hundred year old snapping turtle who peered out from just under the canopy of the woods to see what was going on.  Outside of that just visible within the near canopy of the woods I swore I could see other, larger forest denizens lurking and pacing at the edge of the forest, not wanting to come out and not wanting to leave.  The whole thing was overwhelming.  From the moment I came to to the moment of the realization of the “lurkers” in the woods was approximately 5 or ten minutes.  So this happened rather quickly.  Then I pulsed.

On the fourth return all the animals were gone except for the three raccoons who were walking away on all fours looking back at me as they went.  I watched them go and raised my hand palm out facing them as they disappeared into the woods. I never saw them again.  I remember that I no longer pulsed after they disappeared and I quickly got up, packed my drums and went to the house I co-oped in with some others.  When I got to my room I dropped to my palate on the floor where I slept and I fell into the deepest sleep I have ever slept both up to that time and even to this day.  When I awoke it was still night, but it was the next night.  It was so strange.  I thought I had only been asleep for a few minutes, but an entire day had come and gone and I had missed it.  My body, exhausted from the stress of those few hours on the shelf of Lake Park, had collapsed and had needed that much time to recharge.

Upon awakening I felt the presence that I always felt had become even thicker.  It was oppressive.  That had never happened before.  It was urgent with an urgency that drove me even more.  I cannot tell you how irritating it was to be so driven without any clue as to where I was going.  As I look back on that time, the frustration that I felt during this time was the only thing that could have pushed me into the writings of the Buddha.  I was referred by a friend to a zen monastery that existed at that time in the heart of the university community.  I encountered Zazen for the first time and from the moment I did and read the first words of the Buddha I vanished from among those I had previously known for the rest of the summer.  What I learned during that time changed the direction of my life in yet another revolutionary and revelatory way.

  Continue reading “The Experience – Part Two”

The Experience – Part One

It was my fourteenth birthday.  My friends and I had just moved into the living room after eating cake and I had just put KC and The Sunshine Band on the record player.  We were all enjoying ourselves and I was receiving my very first kiss from a girl.  After a time of looking into her eyes, I laid my head on her chest and while her breathing lifted my head up and down I noticed that all the chatter of the party goers had vanished and in its place was only the sound of the music.  It made me look around.  That’s when I noticed that everybody had literally fallen asleep wherever they were, the girl included.  I was the only one awake.  They did not find a place to lay down or anything like that, it was really weird, like they just fell out.

I started to shake my girlfriend and that is when I started getting really sick to my stomach and really, really dizzy.  I started to feel extremely uncomfortable, like scared and I started to feel like I should hide somewhere that nobody could find me.

So I got up, kind of doubled over and staggered down the hallway to the other room, a den off the kitchen, and in that room we had a big chair that sat against the wall in an angle that made a pocket behind the chair and the angle of the corner of the wall.  I crawled in that place and sat down with my legs crossed and my back against the two walls of the corner.  I was really scared at this point because what I was doing was not what I wanted to do.  I remember I just wanted to find my mom or dad or my older brother or anybody.  I did not even walk towards anyone sleeping to wake them.  I was inexplicably controlled by the physical symptoms I was having.  They were entirely more important every time I tried to do something different.

The spinning got worse.  The dizziness got worse and that was when my field of vision started to narrow down to a pin point of light and then darkness.  I was still awake.  I was not unconscious.  I then felt like my awareness was being sucked into the center of my chest, to the center of the sick feeling I had in the middle of my body.  The only thing I knew was that I was that feeling.  There was no other feeling or awareness.

After a short time in that state what happened next I cannot explain.  I could try and explain the sickness on some bad cake or ice cream or too much sugar or any number of things but what happened next was beyond my ability to explain as a fourteen year old.

I felt like I exploded outward.  I did not “see” anything I just felt it happening.  The experience was completely non-visual.  It was however very associative and connected.  I also had a certain awareness of a few things.  I had awareness that whatever was happening it was happening within a spherical shape.  Whatever was happening, it was expanding, not contracting anymore.  Whatever was happening, whatever I associated with while expanding I instantly knew everything about it.  Whatever was happening, it was nothing like anything I had ever been taught, that I had thought, dreamed, experienced or imagined.

The expansion continued unabated by anything that I associated with.  At some point I “knew” that the sphere had encompassed the Earth and its atmosphere right up to the edge of its magnetosphere.  I experienced this as a turbulence, again like a violent wind, not a visual experience.

I did not “see” the world I felt it, I felt as it.  All the thoughts, the feelings, the status of all life and the systems of the Earth, the currents and all the flowing and interrelated elements that made the Earth possible, even gravity as a pushing force from above and below me.

It happened fast.  It was not long before the expansion stopped.  As I was suspended between the din of the Earth below and the rushing of the wind above I encountered an impression, very still and very distinct which pushed me towards expanding more.  I was startled but not in a shocked way.  There was a calmness that encompassed that startle.  Like some part of me knew that could happen.  Not that it would, or should, but that it could.  I cannot say this was a “conversation”, it wasn’t like that, that’s crazy, but I did orient myself to this push, I knew that.  I also was aware that I was curious.  It was like a yearning, “how?”  Another impression as clear as the first implied some sort of connection involving face to face contact.  I have to admit I was out of my depth at this point in a way that was beyond how out of my depth I felt when it all began.  I remember feeling deeply that I was not ready to leave where I was, that I was very much interested in more of where I had come from.  The final impression was one of acquiescence and allowance.  That is what I felt.  Once that happened a constriction began with a whooshing sound.  In an instant I was back behind that chair and the song that was on the record player was the same song that was playing before I lost touch with the music and as I remember it the song picked up exactly where I remember it leaving off.

I wasn’t sick anymore and so I got up.  My mom was in the kitchen and saw me stand up and said, what are you doing in there behind that chair?  I said I did not know but that was a lie.  I was scared to talk about it with anyone and I joined the party where everyone was talking about the weirdness of dozing off.  I just sat there like I was in the twilight zone.  My girlfriend asked me what was wrong and I said, nothing.  I very quickly realized that I could not sit there like a zombie if I wanted to not say anything about it so I just started acting normal.  That is how I got out of it and that denial lasted many, many years.

I have since learned a great deal about not only that experience, but about what it represented.  Fantasy and psychosis aside, it represented a clear and distinct presentation of a part of me that was outside of the category of the possibilities inherent in my physical being.  That was the start of a quest to understand that phenomenon.  A journey that has lasted 36 years and has taken me to places that I now feel compelled to share now that the world is becoming more and more like how I felt on that day and other days after that.

I know that a ton of folks probably think I was suffering from some non-diagnosed mental illness, or an hallucination or a tumor on my brain.  As a fourteen year old boy, I had certainly experienced my share of trauma and so I will give anyone that assertion but it was something that happened seven years later that made me realize that I was not hallucinating and that I was indeed experiencing something extra-ordinary.  That experience was real and it was a part of me and as I found out later, it was a part of everyone. Continue reading “The Experience – Part One”