Ancient Walkabout Way

Erik Emanuel Fenz 

Everything changes. The only constant is change. Like a bird passing in the sky that leaves no trace, all composite phenomena in the world is just like that. 

To be fully present to our experience as it is, without shrinking away from it, is to be a warrior — of the heart. The essence of courage is being willing to feel our heart even in situations that are difficult or painful.

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.

~ Kahlil Gibran

“Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The warrior’s approach is to say ‘yes’ to life: ‘yea’ to it all.

~ Joseph Campbell

“I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” 

~ John O’ Donohue

They both listened to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of being, the voice of perpetual becoming.

~ Hermann Hesse – Siddhartha

‘This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds. To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movement of a dance. A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky. Rushing by like a torrent down a steep mountain.’

~ Lalitavistara Sutra

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

~ Lao Tzu

Feel Your Way Into Being

All the flowers of the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.

~ Indian Proverb

We need so little to be happy.

The problem is that we need a lot of experience to realize this…

There comes a time in the spiritual process when the virtue of all that’s been gathered and absorbed as self-knowledge must be given back to those receptive to truth.

Throughout this website using words and images, I’ve attempted to share insights, reflections and experiences I’ve “received” over many years of exploring the edge of my limitations. Both in subtle spiritual and gross physical dimensions, often with very humbling results! It has been a journey of many transitions, endings and new beginnings. A journey, with no destination.

May you discover some useful takeaways and find yourself feeling the familiar voices on these pages.

Finger Pointing at the Moon

The needful thing is not to know the truth but to experience it. We cannot save anyone. We can be present with them, offer our groundedness, our sanity, our peace. We can share our path with them, offer our perspective. But we cannot take away anyones pain or confusion. We cannot walk anyones path for them. We cannot give answers that are right for them, or even answers they can digest right now. They will have to find their own answers through life experience.

Direct Life Experience

“Don’t believe anything, not even what I tell you!” replied the Buddha. “Even if it’s an ancient teaching, even if it’s taught by a highly revered teacher. You should use your intelligence and critical mind to carefully examine everything you see or hear. And then put the teaching into practice to see if it helps liberate you from your suffering and your difficulties, if it does, you can believe in it.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Mystics of the World All Speak the Same Language

When the mind is at peace, the world too is at peace. Nothing real, nothing absent. Not holding on to reality, not getting stuck in the void, you are neither holy nor wise, just an ordinary fellow who has completed his work.

~ Layman P’ang

Remembering the Mystery

“Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we are born.”

~ Albert Einstein

Beginners Mind

“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.”

~ Don Miquel Ruiz

“Soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions, and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, we become seekers.”

~ Peter Matthiessen, “Nine-Headed Dragon River: Zen Journals 1969-1982”

No one is willing to believe that adults too, like children, wander about this earth in a daze and, like children, do not know where they come from or where they are going.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Ultimately, we’re going to have to open our hearts to the whole world, to everything that’s happening in it, and to everything that has ever happened. We’re going to have to open our hearts to everything that could possibly happen. Why? Because we’re not separate from anything or anyone.

Anything you consider separate from you can scare and can intimidate you.

But when you have the willingness to open your heart, to be intimate even with the things you don’t like, with the people and events that frighten you, with the state of the world that may intimidate you, then you’ll find a way in which the core of you has an avenue through which to express itself. You can express and manifest the very depth of yourself in the outside world, so that there’s no longer a division between inside and outside and there’s no longer a boundary for our love.”

~ Adyashanti

To know someone here or there with whom you can feel there is understanding in spite of distances or thoughts expressed…That can make life a garden.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Streams of Consciousness

“Tell your story. Shout it. Write it. Whisper it if you have to. But tell it. Some won’t understand it. Some will outright reject it. But many will thank you for it. And then the most magical thing will happen. One by one, voices will start whispering, ‘Me, too.’ And your tribe will gather. And you will never feel alone again.” 

~ L.R. Knost

“I discovered more and more that being alive means taking risks, acting despite a lack of certainty and getting involved in life. All this brings changes and for me the process of change is identical with life. I realize that if I were secure, rigid and static, I would be a living corpse. Therefore, I accept confusion and uncertainty and fear and emotional ups and downs because they are the price I gladly pay for a flowing, enigmatic, exciting life.” 

~ Rogers, Humanistic Psychologist

We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.

~ Marcel Proust, French Novelist

You seek the path, I warn you away from my own. It can also be the wrong way for you. May each go his own way.

~ Carl Jung

Travel and tell no one. Live a true love story and tell no one. Live happily and tell no one. People ruin beautiful things.

~ Khalil Gibran

Seeds of Wisdom

As you wander through this website, you may discover the gates of your body begin to open to a feeling, you may begin to experience new possibilities within yourself. New ways of looking at life. A vision may begin appearing of harmony, depth and wisdom that is usually only possible after a long life. 

To understand nothing takes time. Only a few know, how much one must know, to know how little one knows.

I am life. I have no name, I am as the fresh breeze of the mountains.

~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

Because the sage doesn’t know who he is, people recognize themselves in him. Because he has no goal in mind, everything he does succeeds.

~ Lao Tzu

“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, & never regrets”

~ Leonardo Da Vinci

Unpopular opinion: 

I don’t think your life has to have purpose or a grand ambition; I think it’s okay just to wander through life finding interesting things till you die.

The demand for more and more experiences, shows the inward poverty of man.

~ J. Krishnamurti

Attraction isn’t a choice.

Effort is a direct reflection of interest. 

The things that excite you are not random.

They are connected to your purpose.

Follow them..

“Everything has its own place and function. That applies to people, although many don’t seem to realize it, stuck as they are in the wrong job, the wrong marriage, or the wrong house. When you know and respect your Inner Nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don’t belong.” 

~ Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

“The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us but lifts us stage by stage to wider spaces. If we accept a home of our own making, familiar habit makes for indolence. We must prepare for parting and leave-taking or else remain the slave of permanence.”

~ Hermann Hesse

“Not all who wander are lost.”

– J. R. R. Tolkien

“I’ve figured it out, something that was never clear to me before–how all creation transposes itself out of the world deeper and deeper into our inner world, and why birds cast such a spell on this path into us. The bird’s nest is, in effect, an outer womb given by nature; the bird only furnishes it and covers it rather than containing the whole thing inside itself. As a result, birds are the animals whose feelings have a very special, intimate familiarity with the outer world; they know that they share with nature their innermost mystery. That is why the bird sings its songs into the world as though it were singing into it inner self, that’s why we take a birdsong into our own inner selves so easily, it seems to us that we translate it fully, with no remainder, into our feelings; a birdsong can even, for a moment, make the whole world into a sky within us, because we feel that the bird does not distinguish between its heart and the world’s.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Look at the birds, they make great sky circles of their freedom. And how do they learn to do that? They fall, and in falling, they are given wings.

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

There is freedom in admitting that you don’t know something, as that allows for a new learning experience to emerge.

Do you relate to life as an unfolding mystery and an adventure of discovery?

As far as I’m concerned, I have never planned anything; I have simply lived, wondering what is going to happen next.

~ Osho

To Thine Own Self Be True

When we follow what makes our heart vibrate (despite all the consequences) We will be fulfilling our true destiny.

Following your own star means isolation, not knowing where to go, having to find out a completely new way for yourself instead of just going on the trodden path everybody else runs along. That’s why there’s always been a tendency in humans to project the uniqueness and the greatness of their own inner self onto outer personalities and become the servants, the devoted servants, admirers, and imitators of outer personalities. It is much easier to admire a great personality and become a pupil or follower of a guru or a religious prophet, or an admirer of a big, official personality. That is much easier than following your own star.

~ Marie-Louise von Franz

“When you love what you are doing, you are not ambitious, you are not greedy, you are not seeking fame, because that very love of what you are doing is totally sufficient in itself.” 

~ J. Krishnamurti

There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen. 

Pay attention to whatever inspires you for it is ‘spirit’ trying to communicate with you, that’s why it’s called ‘inspiration’ as ‘in spirit’. Listen to it, believe it, and act on it. Our Soul connects in different ways with us. Pay attention, do not miss the call.

Follow Your Bliss

“If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you.

I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”

~ Joseph Campbell

Freefall into the Future

“We’re in a freefall into future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective and that’s all it is… joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes.” 

~ Joseph Campbell, Sukhavati

Sukhavati means place of bliss, the origin of Campbells famous phrase follow your bliss.

“We live, on this side of the mystery, in the realm of the pairs of opposites: true and false, light and dark, good and evil, male and female and all that dualistic rational world view. One can have an intuition that is beyond good and evil, that goes beyond pairs of opposites — that’s the opening of this gateway into the mystery.”

~ Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss

“What keeps all living things busy and in motion is the striving to exist. But when existence is secured, they do not know what to do: that is why the second thing that sets them in motion is a striving to get rid of the burden of existence, not to feel it any longer, ‘to kill time’, i.e. to escape boredom.”

~ Arthur Schopenhauer 

In 1907, in what he described as “the happiest thought of my life”, Einstein realized that someone who is in free fall experiences no gravitational field.

“Stay without ambition, without the least desire, exposed, vulnerable, unprotected, uncertain and alone, completely open to and welcoming life as it happens, without the selfish conviction that all must yield you pleasure or profit, material or so-called spiritual.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

​​“If we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us — about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, and closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.”

~ Pema Chödrön

Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.

~ Nisargadatta

Do not be impatient with your seemingly slow progress. Do not try to run faster than you presently can. If you are studying, reflecting and trying, you are making progress whether you are aware of it or not. A traveler walking the road in the darkness of night is still going forward. Someday, some way, everything will break open, like the natural unfolding of a rosebud.

~ Vernon Howard

I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I’m beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.

~ Hermann Hesse

“Deep listening is not just listening to the words; it’s listening to what you feel and what you sense ..and underneath that is a reservoir of quietness.”

~ Adyashanti

What reveals itself to me ceases to be mysterious for me alone: if I unveil it to anyone else, he hears mere words which betray the living sense: Profanation, but never revelation. Each truth you learn will be, for you, as new as if it had never been written.

~ The Ancients.

When you no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.

~ Wendell Berry

Attraction is Not a Choice

“Where there is no emotion there is no life. If you have to learn something by heart and it is of no interest to you, there is no fire; it does not register, even if you read it fifty times. But as soon as there is emotional interest, it need only be read once and you know it. Therefore emotion is the carrier of consciousness; there is no progress in consciousness without emotion.”

~ Marie Louise von Franz

“What the universe will manifest when you are in alignment with it is a lot more interesting than what you try to manifest.”

― Adyashanti

Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction. — Rumi

Eventually, you just know. — Carl Jung

Bodhidharma

Bodhi is a Sanskrit word meaning “awakening”. Named after the eminent, semi legendary, ill tempered, blue eyed Indian prince and scholar Bodhidharma, who brought the art of Zen meditation to China in 520 a.d.. Bodhidharma “awakened” after sitting in a mountain cave for nine years, refusing to talk with anyone. 

What He Realized…

The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

“Not knowing how near the Truth is, we seek it far away- what a pity! We are like a person who, in the midst of water, cries out in thirst so imploringly; we are like the child of a wealthy person, who worries about having enough money.”

Hakuin from “The Song of Zazen”

In the Beginners Mind there are Many Possibilities

Your Natural State

“Relax in your natural state; that is the highest state.”

No particular thought can be mind’s natural state, only silence. Not the idea of silence, but silence itself. When the mind is in its natural state, it reverts to silence spontaneously after every experience, or, rather, every experience happens against the background of silence.

Nisargadatta, Bidi Salesman

“To be silent the whole day long, see no newspaper, hear no radio, listen to no gossip, be thoroughly and completely lazy, thoroughly and completely indifferent to the fate of the world is the finest medicine a man can give himself.”

~ Henry Miller, Writer

“Dolce Far Niente”

Italians have a famous saying, “Dolce far Niente”, which means “the sweetness of doing nothing.” It does not refer to being lazy, it refers to the similar saying “take the time to smell the roses” and the pleasure one gets from Being. 

‘Lazy’ is a word for those poor souls who still think achievement and productivity is important and who can’t yet get comfortable with simply Being.

If someone calls you lazy, take pity on them. They may not have the capacity to allow themselves peace, unless they’ve earned it – which usually means they won’t allow themselves to receive love, unless they earned it.

“I have lived with several Zen masters — all of them cats.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

Feel Your Way into Being

Pure Being is Inherent Joy, with No External “Cause” Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.

One of the good things about the pleasure of inhabiting the body — how we feel the body from within, what we now call proprioception, our sense of the body as we feel it from inside — is that it’s an inherent pleasure that doesn’t have many stories at all.

Everything changes. The only constant is change. Let everything happen to you; beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Suffering comes from not being willing to change. Believing that we are perfect, and it’s the world around us that must cater to us!

Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, the wind blows..

And the grass grows, by itself.

~ Basho

EVERYTHING CHANGES

“You exist as an idea in your own mind. The true purpose [of Zen] is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes… Emotionally we have many problems, but these problems are not actual problems; they are something created by our self-centered ideas or views. When we realize the everlasting truth of “everything changes” and find our composure in it, we find ourselves in Nirvana.” 

~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”

~ Anaïs Nin

To be fully Alive,

Fully human, and completely Awake

..is to be continually thrown out of the nest.

~ Pema Chödrön

“Bodhi Body” Origin

Early in my bodywork career the main focus of my work was helping client’s relax, unwind and get out of pain. After my initial healing arts training at the Heartwood Institute in northern California, I began giving sessions at the San Francisco Zen Center, where most monk meditators, including the Roshi, had developed chronic neck, back and knee pain from many hours, and often many years of “just sitting” in Meditation. During this time the idea for the name “Bodhi Body” came into being.

After leaving the Zen Center in San Francisco, I opened a massage practice underneath the Rolf Institute in Boulder, Colorado, along with my new wife Summer. I soon began wondering how to transform my practice from weekly, feel good massage session dependency, into something deeper, more profound and longer lasting. This eventually led me to becoming a Rolfer, where I discovered the benefits of fascia oriented bodywork. The ability to help people get life changing, long term relief from tension, stress and pain and along with the subtle energy work of Craniosacral Biodynamics, a powerful way to reset and rebalance the nervous system.

 

Rudyard Kipling once wrote:

Words are the most powerful drug known to mankind.

I enjoy reading the words of sages, saints, mystics and spiritual teachers. Words can be great pointers, depending on who is pointing.All living “teachers” have found new ways of expressing what ancient reality teachings have been pointing to for centuries, since beginingless creation. Reality is always already the case.

The mystics of the world all speak the same language.

Nobody can teach us anything about reality. They can only help us get in touch with what we already intuitively feel to be true. Here and now. Buried within the subconscious mind, in the farthest corner of our memory, lies the wisdom of everything we need to realize: The purpose of life, how to love, how to reach our potential. Our task, If we want to live a true authentic life, is to bring that wisdom into ordinary, conscious, physical awareness. Paradoxically our mental efforts in doing so, keep us away.

When we walk through fog…

Eventually we get wet.

Present moment experience is physical and body-based, not intellectual or theoretical. 

It is only by grounding our awareness in the living sensation of our body that our true presence can awaken. 

Reality is Not a Religion

“You can be converted from one belief to another, from one dogma to another, but you cannot be converted to an understanding of reality. Belief is not reality.”

~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

“All cruelty arises from beliefs.

In the absence of all belief, love shines.”

~ Adyashanti

Atheism is a Belief, a “Point of View”

“If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do. If some one maintains that two and two are five, or that Iceland is on the equator, you should feel pity rather than anger, unless you know so little of arithmetic or geography that his opinion shakes your own contrary conviction.

The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic, because in arithmetic there is knowledge, but in theology there is only opinion. So whenever you find yourself getting angry about a difference of opinion, be on your guard; you will probably find, on examination, that your belief is going beyond what the evidence warrants.“

~ Bertrand Russell, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish (1943)

The Earth Turns

“Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death–ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.”

~ James Baldwin “The Fire Next Time”

“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time? That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.” 

~ Hermann Hesse

Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better.

~ Albert Einstein

Surrender yourself humbly. Do not be concerned with loss or gain. Love the world as your own Self; then you can truly care for all things.

~ Lao Tsu

Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand, and becoming comfortable with not knowing.

~ Eckhardt Tolle

The key is to just let go into this awake, alive presence. Don’t be concerned with transcending anything. Always remember that surrendering to the core of being is the Way. Go where the depth of silence takes you, to the very root of your existence. The more simple you keep the practice, the more powerful it is.

~ Adyashanti

Reality is always true to itself. When you’re in harmony with it, you experience bliss. As soon as you are not in harmony with it, you experience pain. This is the law of the universe; it is the way things are. Nobody gets out of this law. To me, this knowledge is a grace. Reality is consistent. Argue with it, go against it, and it will hurt—every single time. It will hurt you, it will hurt others, and it will contribute to the general conflict of all beings.

~ Adyashanti, The End of Your World

In order to love who you Are..

..you cannot hate or deny the experiences that shaped you.

Only by getting in touch with your body, by connecting viscerally with yourself, can you regain a sense of who you are, your priorities and values.

No matter how much insight and understanding we develop, the rational brain is basically impotent to talk the emotional brain out of its reality.

Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps Score

If you look for the Dhamma, you will find that it has nothing to do with the forests, the mountains, or the caves – it exists in the heart. The language of the Dhamma isn’t English or Thai or Sanskrit. It has its own language, which is the same for all people – the language of experience. There is a great difference between concepts and direct experience. Whoever puts a finger into a glass of hot water will have the same experience of hot, but it is called by many words in different languages. Similarly, whoever looks deeply into the heart will have the same experience, no matter what his or her nationality or culture or language.

~ Ajahn Chah

“The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed – to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is.”

~ Parker J. Palmer

“If we step back and consider the “big picture,” the inevitable changes in life are less likely to overwhelm us. When we have a sense of humor about the whole dance of life, everything becomes easier & lighter.”

~ Jack Kornfield, Excerpt: “The Wise Heart”

Himalayan Tsunami 2013 – Rishikesh, India

The Meaning of “Wholeness”

“The meaning of “whole” or “wholeness” is to make holy or to heal. The descent into the depths will bring healing. It is the way to the total being, to the treasure which suffering mankind is forever seeking, which is hidden in the place guarded by terrible danger. This is the place of primordial unconsciousness and at the same time the place of healing and redemption, because it contains the jewel of wholeness. It is the cave where the dragon of chaos lives and it is also the indestructible city, the magic circle or temenos, the sacred precinct where all the split-off parts of the personality are united.”

~ C.G. Jung

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

~ Carl Gustav Jung.

“A spiritual tradition is not a shallow stream in which one can wet one’s feet and then beat a quick retreat to the shore. It is a mighty, tumultuous river which would rush through the entire landscape of one’s life, and if one truly wishes to travel on it, one must be courageous enough to launch one’s boat and head out for the depths.”

~ Bhikkhu Bodhi, “The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering”

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

~ Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“Yesterday I met a whole person. It is a rare experience, but always an illuminating and ennobling one. It costs so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment, or the courage, to pay the price… One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover, and yet demand no easy return on love. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, yet open always to the total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.” 

~ Morris West, The Shoes of the Fisherman

To be whole is to be full of contradictions.

~ Carl Jung

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves … Live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

~ Rainier Rilke 

Kerala, India: “God’s Own Country”

Our Natural State

After many years of seeking wisdom from many teachers of spiritual “success”, I found Biodynamic Structural Integration (fascia oriented bodywork) to be a direct way of accessing our “prior to mind” intuitive-heart wisdom, reflected through our body. The calm, sober, grounded, felt sense “experience” of bliss with no cause. What words and practices from many spiritual traditions are often pointing to. Our natural state.

At the deepest level of our being–the divinity within that we share with all beings–there is no separation between me and you. At any moment it is possible to experience the warmth and openness of a heart connection with any living creature: a lover, a child, a friend, a stranger passing on the street, or even a dog. When we appreciate the beauty of another’s being, the heart channel opens and a spark of absolute love passes through us. In this moment of connection we no longer feel separated or isolated. We delight in sharing the one lovely, tender presence that dwells in the heart of all.

Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships: 

Healing the Wound of the Heart, by John Welwood

With Monk Friend in McCloud Ganj, India

May what I do flow from me like a river… 

No forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.

~ Rainier Rilke 

“A soul connection is a resonance between two people who respond to the essential beauty of each other’s individual natures, behind their facades, and who connect on this deeper level. This kind of mutual recognition provides the catalyst for a potent alchemy. It is a sacred alliance whose purpose is to help both partners discover and realize their deepest potentials.”

~ John Welwood

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret:

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Present Moment Experience

What I’ve discovered to be true for me and many others I’ve worked with over the years is, if we let our inner experience happen, without avoidance, without spacing out into dissociative spiritual-bypassing, cultish dependencies, fear based repression, or endless addictive, numbing distractions, it will eventually release our frozen knots and contractions, leading to a deeper, more grounded felt sense experience of ourselves. 

Just as the depth and stillness of the ocean lie hidden beneath the stormy waves on its surface, our inherent wisdom lies behind all feelings. Allowing us to access the warmth and openness of the heart and letting us be the true human beings that we are.

Tibetan Buddhism teaches that we find the antidotes to our most painful states of mind by leaning into the emotion itself. Our emotions are full of wisdom. 

Suffering and Happiness

“In life, we think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem. The truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that.

Personal discovery and growth come from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. Suffering comes from wishing things were different. Misery is self-inflicted, when we are expecting the “ideal” to overcome the “actual,” or needing things (or people, or places) to be different for us so we can then be happy.

Let the hard things in life break you. Let them affect you. Let them change you. Let these hard moments inform you. Let this pain be your teacher. The experiences of your life are trying to tell you something about yourself. Don’t cop out on that. Don’t run away and hide under your covers. Lean into it.

What is the lesson in this wind? What is this storm trying to tell you? What will you learn if you face it with courage? With full honesty and – lean into it.”

~ Pema Chödrön

“We look for happiness in all the wrong places. The Buddha called this habit “mistaking suffering for happiness.” We become habituated to reaching for something to ease the edginess of the moment. Thus we become less and less able to reside with even the most fleeting uneasiness or discomfort. What begins as a slight shift of energy—a minor tightening of our stomach, a vague indefinable feeling that something bad is about to happen—escalates into addiction. This is our way of trying to make life predictable. Because we mistake what always results in suffering to be what will bring us happiness, we remain stuck in the repetitious habit of escalating our dissatisfaction.”

~ Pema Chodron, Comfortable With Uncertainty

“Avoiding our inner demons – our fears of change and death, our anger and jealousy – It gives these opponents greater power. The more we run, the less chance we have to escape. We must face suffering, enter it; Only then can we get rid of it.” 

~ Mingyur Rinpoche

Sach Pass, India with Ivo Ninov

“Buddha nature can be summed up in one word: Courage, in particular the courage to simply be as we are, here, now, with all our doubts and uncertainties.”

~ Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche 

Wisdom is not accumulated memory but is supreme vulnerability to the real.

~ J.Krishnamurti

Love Itself is the Actual Form of God

Learning how to love is the goal and the purpose of spiritual life, not learning how to develop psychic powers, not learning how to bow, chant, do yoga, or even meditate, but learning to love. Love is the truth. Some say love Itself is the Actual form of God. Wisdom is inherent in all of us and love is the embodiment of this transcendent truth. 

“Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here.”

~ from WAR AND PEACE (1865–1867; 1869) by Leo Tolstoy

“For one human to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult task of all…, the work for which all other work is but preparation. It is a high inducement to the individual to ripen … a great exacting claim upon us, something that chooses us out and calls us to vast things.”

~ Rainier Maria Rilke

The modern age has forgotten that facts and information, for all their usefulness, are not the same as truth or wisdom, and certainly not the same as direct experience. We have lost touch with the intuitive wisdom born of silence and stillness.

~ Adyashanti

Adventures w/ Ivo

Courage is a love affair with the unknown.

When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life.

~ Eckhart Tolle

Knowledge that Ends the Quest for “Knowledge” 

The wisdom in our body is the visceral “knowledge” that ends the need for intellectual certainty, that appear in the mind as frozen, fixed beliefs; conceptual “points of view.” Regrets or longings of the past and fear and uncertainty of the future, come from culturally induced, fear based patterning. Learned conditioned behaviour, informed by familiar unresolved emotions, related to our past.

The dis-Ease behind our search for happiness, the illusions of ultimate fulfillment, are fixed notions, projections of happiness that only lead to suffering. We have a hard time letting go of our suffering, out of a fear of the unknown. We prefer suffering that is familiar. 

We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread then climb the cross of the moment then see our Illusions die.

~ W. H. Auden 

Everything changes. The only constant is change. No emotional state can be induced to persist as a permanent experience. Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just BE happy.

“Love is not selective, desire is selective. In love there are no strangers. When the centre of selfishness is no longer, all desires for pleasure and fear of pain cease; one is no longer interested in being happy; beyond happiness there is pure intensity, inexhaustible energy, the ecstasy of giving from a perennial source.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word “love” here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace

– not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.

~ James Baldwin

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret:

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Tre Cime di Lavaredo with my Father

Once Upon a Time, in Brief

I was born to European immigrant parents in Boulder Colorado, where my father was attending graduate school. After living in Boulder for a year, my sister Ingrid came along and we soon moved to Europe where I spent my early childhood living in Norway, Italy and Austria. During that time, I began developing an interest in the healing arts from my eccentric Austrian grandmother, who used to make remedies from plants and flowers, that grew near her medieval castle, in the mountains of South Tyrol, Italy.

Off-Road Travels & Castles in the Sky

During many walks in the surrounding forests, we would often sit alongside an ancient trail and she would read stories to me by Hermann Hesse, Rainier Maria Rilke and others. As I grew into my teenage years, these tales, particularly Siddhartha, inspired in me an interest in spirituality and a desire to explore Thailand, Bali and northern India. 

Throughout my off-road travels I began discovering a different world, meeting people who lived in a different way, with different values. They had just the basic necessities and yet were very happy people! No psychological problems. 

These journeys and others I took with friends and family, became a means of coming into relationship with myself and others, that was far removed from the limiting beliefs of my “conditioned”, sheltered, upper-middle class upbringing. It gave me a new awareness of the world, that has given me the ability to relate to a wide range of people and cultures that bring a rich sense of humanity to my bodywork practice.

And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

~ T. S. Eliot

Walkabout Arunachala in Tiruvanamalai, India

The Ultimate Experience of Traveling

“Travel is such a wonderful experience! Especially when you forget you are traveling. Then you will enjoy whatever you see and do. Those who look into themselves when they travel will not think about what they see. In fact, there is no distinction between the viewer and the seen. You experience everything with the totality of yourself, so that every blade of grass, every mountain, every lake is alive and is a part of you. When there is no division between you and what is other, this is the ultimate experience of traveling.” 

~ Liezi, Lieh-tzu

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

~ Mark Twain

You need to step outside of your “culture” to see the shackles it has placed on your thinking.

Walking ten thousand miles of roads… is better than reading ten thousand scrolls of books.

~ Chinese Proverb

No amount of intellectual knowledge can satisfy the need for the direct experience that is beyond concepts and duality. Do not be a fool and spend your whole life in a book.

Of course you must study the teachings, but you must also know when it is time to put what you have learned into practice.

Only direct experience can set you free.


~ Chamtrul Rinpoche

My Family History in a Nut-Shell 

I am the oldest of five siblings. I have two sisters Ingrid and Heidi, who live in Italy and Isreal. A brother John who lives in Poland, and my artist brother Robert who sadly and quite suddenly passed away in the USA, during the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020. My mother Karin, a retired nurse, is from the old whaling town of Sandefjord Norway. Her father Otto was a whaler who sailed around the South Pole and often spent years at a time at sea. 

My father Emanuel was a Renaissance European history professor, born and raised in Florence, Italy. His father Johann (or Giovanni as he was called) was a minister and the founding director of a religious book publishing firm, and Villa Aurora, a Seventh Day Adventist College and Seminary. 

After the family house was bombed during the war, they moved north, near the Dolomite mountains in South Tyrol, Italy. Where a large part of my family still lives to this day.

After my formative childhood years living in Europe, our family returned to the United States. My father accepted a position at Purdue University and later at a university near Ann Arbor Michigan, where he subsequently created an adventure-travel program called the ‘European Cultural History Tour’ that took American college students on culture, adventure, history tours, throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South America, South-East Asia and India.

Troll Wall, Norway – 1984

3 ..2 ..1 ..B.A.S.E. !!!

In my early twenties, in my seemingly endless desire for ultimate experiences, I explored B.A.S.E. jumping in the pure, pioneering days of the sport. Leaping off cliffs and towers with a parachute on my back and overwhelming fear in my heart.

There is a brief interview of me near the end of Universal Pictures film “Sunshine Superman”, a thrilling documentary and love story about Jean and Carl Boenish, the founding father of modern B.A.S.E. jumping, which depicts the history and embodied philosophy of early B.A.S.E. jumping.

Crazy Wisdom

These experiences, inspired by my father, who was an avid mountain climber, taught me that when I have come to my “edge” and stepped through challenges that scared me the most, I’ve gained innumerable benefits. 

I learned how to feel fear, and do it anyway. It also gave me the wisdom, strength, courage and clarity to grow, say no, and let go of things that are not true for me.

I’ve been absolutely terrified every minute of my life — and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I’ve wanted to do.

~ Georgia O’Keefe, Age 98

Carpe Diem!

Emanuel Gerson Fenz

Let your curiosity be greater then your fear. 

~ Pema Chodron

Nothing beats direct experience, but here is a good book on this subject: 

Courage, The Joy Of Living Dangerously (Good Audio Sample)

Book Version: Courage, The Joy of Living Dangerously.

Career & Lifestyle Opportunities

As a young man and before becoming a bodyworker, I explored many career and lifestyle opportunities and often felt pressured and compelled by my father to go into mainstream academics and become a Professor like he was. Instead of following his advice, I got married and started a carpet and upholstery cleaning business in Sarasota, Florida and later in Mill Valley, California. I also worked part time as a professional exhibition skydiver, for the Miller High Life Skydiving Team, jumping into airshows, football games, music festivals and NASCAR car races all over mainland USA and Puerto Rico.

Several years later, after selling my business, I realized a childhood dream of learning to fly helicopters and worked for a time as a commercial helicopter pilot/flight instructor, and once circumnavigated the United States, from east to west and back again, in my own classic 1953 “Bubble” Bell 47, using a handheld GPS, and by reading road signs. 

The helicopter pioneer, inventor, author and philosopher Arthur Young, called his Bell 47 helicopter the “winged self”, a metaphor for the human spirit. 

Near Death Experiences

During my final years in California, my father was involved in a tragic car accident that left him a quadriplegic on a ventilator. Much like “Superman” Actor Christopher Reeves, who became e-mail friends with my father. During this time I went through a divorce from my high-school sweetheart, with whom I had been with for over 11 years. We were no longer compatible with our lifestyle choices.

A few years after my father’s accident, I survived a near fatal helicopter crash by “flying” to the bottom of an alligator inhabited lake in Florida, USA.

This near death experience was life shattering and a huge shock to my “top gun” identity and Type A personality. Although I “jumped back on the saddle” and continued flying for a while, it brought me to a crossroads in life, where I lost all my usual drive and worldly ambition and chose to spend a couple years in deep reflection and introspection, at a Zen Community in Marin county near San Francisco, along the coast of Northern, California.

There, no one was special. We all participated in cooking, cleaning, working in the garden and just sitting, with no gaining idea. After spending many years actively “seeking” happiness and fulfillment, with limitless possibilities, I felt a strong pull in surrendering to that kind of routine…It was a luxury, not to have to think about what to “do” next. Slowly, my attachment to doing, began dissolving. 

“The practice of Zen; is to eat, breathe, cook, carry water, and scrub the toilet – to infuse every act of body, speech, and mind with ‘Mindfullness’; to illuminate every leaf and pebble – every heap of garbage, every path that leads to our mind’s return Home.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

“The problem is, most of us spend our entire life going from one promise of relief to another, never staying with the pain long enough to learn anything from it.”

~ Pema Chodron, Living Beautifully

“There is a teaching that says that behind all hardening and tightening and rigidity of the heart, there’s always fear. But if you touch fear, behind fear there is a soft spot. And if you touch that soft spot, you find the vast blue sky. You find that which is ineffable, ungraspable, and unbiased, that which can support and awaken us at any time.”

~ Pema Chödron, “Practicing Peace”

“A crisis is a holy summons to cross a threshold. It involves both a leaving behind and a stepping toward, a separation and an opportunity.

The word crisis derives from the Greek words krisis and krino, which mean “a separating.” The very root of the word implies that our crises are times of severing from old ways and states of being. We need to ask ourselves what is it we’re being asked to separate from? What needs to be left behind?”

~ Sue Monk Kidd

“During the dark night there is no choice but to surrender control, give in to unknowing, and stop and listen to whatever signals of wisdom might come along. It’s a time of enforced retreat and perhaps unwilling withdrawal. The dark night is more than a learning experience; it’s a profound initiation into a realm that nothing in the culture, so preoccupied with external concerns and material success, prepares you for.”

~ Thomas Moore

“Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life,the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’ Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, ‘This is what I need.’ It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment–not discouragement–you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.

Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”

~ Joseph Campbell, Reflections on the Art of Living

There comes a time in your life when the life you have been living is over, and you have no clue who you are becoming.

During this life changing time I let go my dream of being a professional helicopter pilot, when I discovered the heart opening, healing power, of transformative bodywork, and the desire to live a more meaningful life (for me), by helping others learn the “art” and yoga of living in their bodies. This began a lifelong exploration of spiritually oriented, body-based solutions to tension, stress & pain; suffering and trauma.

MOUNTAIN

One of the most visceral essay films ever made.

Adrenaline, Trauma, Cortisol & Ecstasy

“People who can’t find ecstasy in the heart of daily experience, often seek it outside themselves. I see this everywhere I look. There is often a directly proportional relationship between one’s hunger for bliss and one’s degree of emotional toxicity. The more extreme the internalized pain, the more extreme the quest for externalized bliss. I call them, ‘bliss-seeking missiles.’

Often trauma survivors on the run, they try any drug, or extreme experience, in the hopes of tasting from the ecstasy tree. They want it and need it that badly. They are looking for proof that there is more to this life than darkness. They are seeking evidence of essence, anywhere they can find it. It all works out well, if they take the energy that emanates from their adventures to come back down into their bodies to work through their stuff.

To clear so much emotional and energetic debris that they can one day feel ecstasy naturally, in the heart of daily life. It doesn’t work out well, when the quest becomes an entrenched way of being that floats them further and further away from themselves. Because ecstasy doesn’t mean a thing if there isn’t an intact self to come home to. The real ecstatic alchemy begins and ends within the self-itself. Centered. Spacious. Ecstatic in the heart of the everything.”

~ Jeff Brown, Grounded Spirituality

Soul work is not a high road. It’s a deep fall into unforgiving darkness that won’t let you go until you find the song that sings you home.

Meru Peak, India

Many of us face the hypervigilant busy, over stressed dilemma of the modern world. Where value and emphasis is placed on status, image and objects. Rather than on who we are as sensitive, empathic, feeling, human beings. 

“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book (Lady Chatterley, for instance), or you take a trip…and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”

~ The Diary of Anaïs Nin 

Since beginning my practice, I’ve worked with thousands of individuals from all walks of life, including many world-class athletes. Students of yoga and meditation. Professional dancers, teachers, supermodels, artists and poets. Actors and writers. Plumbers. Pilots. Business people and Entrepreneurs. Nurses, Physicians and Musicians. Roshis, Rabbis and Rinpoches. Many “ordinary” people, who value and appreciate life changing, transformative bodywork. 

It is the many interactions working with clients that have taught me the most over the years. People like you and me, sharing and touching on a state of presence, which allows us to be more inherently ourselves.

Beauty, enlightenment, adventure and healing are desperately important counterpoints in this age of rapid change and negativity. To align with the soul takes great courage. 

“It is not the pursuit of greater and greater states of happiness and bliss that leads to enlightenment, but the yearning for Reality and the rabid dissatisfaction with living anything less than a fully authentic life.”

~ Adyashanti ‘The Way of Liberation’

This is who we are. We dream of flight, but are afraid of heights. To fly you must have the courage to face the terror of the void. Because it is only in the void that the flight happens. Emptiness is the space of freedom, the absence of certainty. But this is what we fear: the uncertainty. So we trade flights for cages.

“Birds born in a cage, think flying is an illness.”

~ Alejandro Jodorowsky

Cages Are Where Certainties Live

LOVE, NOT REASON, SHOULD MAKE DECISIONS. DECISIONS BASED ON REASON AND NOT ON LOVE ARE KARMIC. THEREFORE, LET THE HEART BE YOUR INTELLIGENCE. THE HEART IS UNREASONABLE. THE HEART IS “MAD”. AND THE HEART IS THE GROUND I CALL YOU TO WALK ON.

~ ADI DA SAMRAJ

“Love and death are the great gifts that are given to us; mostly, they are passed on unopened.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

People who live deeply have no fear of death.

~ Anais Nin

A heart in love with beauty never grows old.

~ Turkish Proverb

Nothing is possible without love, for love puts one in a mood to risk everything. 

~ Carl Jung

In Norway w/ Alex Polli

Reality of Human Flight  by Alex

Courage Is a Love Affair

With the Unknown

“To align with the soul takes courage. Ramana defined enlightenment as ‘absolute courage at all times and in all situations.’ If you want to live an awakened life, it takes courage and grit. It takes someone who loves reality enough that they become a servant of it.”

~ Adyashanti 

The most repressed and denied aspects of our soul … (are) often the treasure that lies buried in the darkness. 

~ Carl Jung

They fear love because it creates a world they can’t control.

~ George Orwell

It is the instinct of exploration, the love of the unknown, that brings me into existence. It is in the nature of being to seek adventure in becoming, as it is in the nature of becoming to seek peace in being.

This alternation of being and becoming is inevitable; but my home is beyond.

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Earth & Sky 

“Passion is the spark of excitement we feel when we stand on the edge of the unknown. It arrives on the boundary where two different worlds rub up against each other — male and female, self and other, inner and outer, familiar patterns and unchartered possibilities. 

So in following our passions all the way, we arrive at the boundary of life and death; here we feel the insignificance of our small self as we enter into the mystery from which we come and to which we must return.”

~ John Welwood, Journey of the Heart

There’s an African proverb:

‘When death finds you, may it find you alive.’ Alive means living your own damned life, not the life that your parents wanted, or the life some cultural group or political party wanted, but the life that your own soul wants to live.

Being present is like standing on a cliff — exhilarating! 

Wandering in mountain solitude and fearsome places, is the greatest of all monasteries.

The Razor’s Edge

उत्तिष्ठ जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत| क्षुरस्य धारा निशिता दुरत्यया दुर्गं पथस्तत्कवयो वदन्ति|| (uttiṣṭha jāgrata prāpya varān nibodhata| kṣurasya dhārā niśitā duratyayā durga pathas tat kavayo vadanti|| ) – which means “Rise, wake up, seek the wise and realize. The path is difficult to cross like the sharpened edge of the razor (knife), so say the wise.”

~ Katha Upanishad

Sri Ramana Ashram & the Razors Edge

The Razors Edge

Knowledge Of Freedom

“Human beings have a drive for security and safety, which is often what fuels the spiritual search. This very drive for security and safety is what causes so much misery and confusion. Freedom is a state of complete and absolute insecurity and not knowing. So, in seeking security and safety, you actually distance yourself from the freedom you want. There is no security in freedom, at least not in the sense that we normally think of security. This is, of course, why it is so free: there’s nothing there to grab hold of.

The Unknown is more vast, more open, more peaceful, and more freeing than you ever imagined it would be. If you don’t experience it that way, it means you’re not resting there; you’re still trying to know. That will cause you to suffer because you’re choosing security over Freedom. When you rest deeply in the Unknown without trying to escape, your experience becomes very vast.

As the experience of the Unknown deepens, your boundaries begin to dissolve. You realize, not just intellectually but on a deep level, that you have no idea who or what you are. A few minutes ago, you knew who you were—you had a history and a personality—but from this place of not knowing, you question all of that.

Liberated people live in the Unknown and understand that the only reason they know what they are is because they rest in the Unknown moment by moment without defining who they are with the mind. You can imagine how easy it is to get caught in the concept of the Unknown and seek that instead of the Truth. If you seek the concept, you’ll never be free, but if you stop looking to myths and concepts and become more interested in the Unknown than in what you know, the door will be flung open. Until then, it will remain closed.

I’ve seen people who have never meditated come to satsang and have a deep experience of the Unknown, and I’ve known many who remain in the trance because they stay with the mind’s techniques and strategies. There is no prerequisite for experiencing the Unknown. Everyone has equal access to it.” 

~ Adyashanti

“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”

~ Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Mindfulness in Plain English

‘One of the most difficult things to learn is that mindfulness is not dependent on any emotional or mental state. We have certain images of meditation. Meditation is something done in quiet caves by tranquil people who move slowly. Those are training conditions. They are set up to foster concentration and to learn the skill of mindfulness. Once you have learned that skill, however, you can dispense with the training restrictions, and you should. You don’t need to move at a snail’s pace to be mindful. You don’t even need to be calm. You can be mindful while solving problems in intensive calculus. You can be mindful in the middle of a football scrimmage. You can even be mindful in the midst of a raging fury. Mental and physical activities are no bar to mindfulness. If you find your mind extremely active, then simply observe the nature and degree of that activity. It is just a part of the passing show within.’

~ Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English

With Yogi Sundar in Goa, India

Warrior/Yogi: Being & Doing 

Within each of us exists a warrior and a yogi. A warrior who will push through and overcome, who is determined, who will achieve, and a yogi, who is the most tenderhearted and compassionate being. The one that can let go, that can flow with what is. But it is the combination of these two that makes us uniquely human. We have the opportunity at any given moment, to select the behavior that is appropriate: a call for action, or a call for surrender. The ideal is to integrate this dual nature into One, complete being.

Some of the teachers I’ve learned from and studied with over the years in Europe, India and the USA, either directly, through friendship, or indirectly through retreats, schools, dance venues, workshops, ashrams and temples, include:

Zoketsu Norman Fischer, Mel Weitsman, Zenkei Blanche Hartman, John Daido Loori, Charlotte Selver, Frank Ostaseski, Joan Halifax, Stanislov Grof, Ken Wilbur, Dr. Alexander Lowen, Sam Keen, Gabrielle Roth, Natalie Goldberg, Ram Das, Jack Kornfield, Adyashanti, Eckhardt Tolle, Osho, Adi Da Samraj, David Deida, Master Zhang, Bruce Burger, Daniel Odier, James Swartz, Swami Dayananda, Skratch Garrison, Pat Works, Yogi Sundar, Peter Levine, Robert Schleip, Jim Asher, Ray McCall, Bob Schrei, John and Anna Chitty, Gelek Rinpoche, Dalai Lama, Ramana Maharaj, Arunachala, Nisargadatta, Karl Renz, Jeff Brown, Mooji, Amma, Mother Meera, Thich Nhat Hanh, Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, U.G. Krishnamurti, Suzuki Roshi and many more, including living in the “womb” of Mother India, for over twelve years.

Erik has over 23 years worldwide experience, as a bodyworker. He is a certified Advanced Rolfer ® and Biodynamic Craniosacral therapist, with over 3000 hours of additional training in Deep Tissue Therapy, Polarity Therapy, SourcePoint Therapy and Somatic Emotional Clearing. He trained at the Heartwood and Esalen Institutes in California. The Rolf Institute in the U.S., Germany, Austria and Italy. The USA based Naropa University, and the 3 year 700 Hour, Franklyn Sills based, Biodynamic Craniosacral training in Boulder, Colorado, with John and Anna Chitty.

Erik is a (former) long-time practitioner of Zen meditation, with many years experience in Dzogchen, Kashmir Shaivism, Vedanta, Daoism, Iyengar Yoga and Emei Mountain, Temple Style Jingui Qigong. He has been riding motorcycles, jumping from airplanes and off mountains for over 40 years, offering a unique perspective on “heightened states of calm awareness” and the phenomenon of fear.

Feel Your Way into Being

“When an eagle takes flight into the immensity of the sky, he never thinks, ‘My wings won’t be able to carry me. I won’t be able to fly that far.’ Remember your innate nature and adhere to it with utter confidence.”

~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

To Thine Own Self Be True

“It is always the false that makes you suffer, the false desires and fears, the false values and ideas, the false relationships between people. Abandon the false and you are free of pain; truth makes happy, truth liberates.”

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

“The word ‘sacrifice’ is not really about self-denial, as we’ve been taught, but comes from the root ‘to make sacred.’ In order to make an honest encounter with the unknown, something of great value must be given up, lest we cling to an old version of ourselves. And in making that sacrifice, there is a transfer of a power. In naming and releasing it, we own that which used to own us. The energy locked up in our conformity is liberated for our benefit and conscious use.”

“Nature is always calling us into greater gestures of bravery. And as we accept those invitations to our personal edge, we lose the ability to shrink into falseness.”

“Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home” by Toko-pa Turner

“A life truly lived constantly burns away veils of illusion, burns away what is no longer relevant, gradually reveals our essence, until, at last, we are strong enough to stand in our naked truth.”

Excerpt from “Coming Home to Myself” by Marion Woodman

“To be simple means to make a choice about what’s important, and let go of all the rest. When we are able to do this, our vision expands, our heads clear, and we can better see the details of our lives in all their incredible wonder and beauty.”

~ John Daido Loori

“I was no longer needing to be special, because I was no longer caught up in my puny separateness that I had to keep proving I was something.” 

~ Ram Dass

“Even faith in God is only a stage on the way. Ultimately, you abandon all, for you come to something so simple that there are no words to express it.” 

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Transcendental Reality

When we awaken to a deeper sense of reality through transcendent experience, our meaning is no longer derived from what we are doing, but what we are Being.

You have escaped the (mind) cage. 

Your wings are stretched out.

Now Fly!

Taking the Leap

Spirituality is the process of stripping away every layer of yourself that is false. This is neither pleasant nor easy, and the whole point is to get you to a point of surrender. Not the ego trying to surrender but the ego realizing and experiencing its own limitations.

Dissolving of ego is when ego comes into total alignment with reality. Reality is always true to itself. When you’re in harmony with it, you experience bliss. As soon as you are not in harmony with it, you experience pain. This is the law of the universe; it is the way things are. Nobody gets out of this law. To me, this knowledge is a grace. Reality is consistent. Argue with it, go against it, and it will hurt—every single time. It will hurt you, it will hurt others, and it will contribute to the general conflict of all beings.

~ Adyashanti, The End of Your World

Aligning w/ Gravity

Everything changes. The only constant is change. Except gravity, gravity never changes.

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward. For there you have been, and there you will always long to return”. 

~ Leonardo da Vinci

Jumping off the cliff, with open hands. – Wumen Huikai

Zen pretty much comes down to three things — everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.

The only Zen you find on tops of mountains is the Zen you bring there.

~ Robert Pirsig

The modern Japanese Zen master, Haku’un Ryōko Yasutani says: 

ZEN is the mind of someone facing death.

Let us imagine that you are engaged in a duel of swordsmanship of the kind that used to take place in ancient Japan. As you face your opponent you are unceasingly watchful, set, ready. Were you to relax your vigilance even momentarily, you would be cut down instantly. A crowd gathers to see the fight. Since you are not blind you see them from the corner of your eye, and since you are not deaf you hear them. But not for an instant is your mind captured by these impressions.

Awareness

“When you begin to notice the damage that emotions can do, awareness develops. When you have awareness — for example, if you know that you are on the edge of a cliff — you understand the dangers before you. You can still go ahead and do as you were doing; walking on a cliff with awareness is not so frightening anymore, in fact it is thrilling. The real source of fear is not knowing. Awareness doesn’t prevent you from living, it makes living that much fuller.”

Your Natural State

“Relax in your natural state; that is the highest state.”

“No particular thought can be mind’s natural state, only silence. Not the idea of silence, but silence itself. When the mind is in its natural state, it reverts to silence spontaneously after every experience, or, rather, every experience happens against the background of silence.”

~ Nisargadatta

Jumping off the Cliff of Your Egoic Mind

“Spirituality is not about giving you a better script. In its deepest sense, spirituality marches you to the cliff of the egoic mind and then it jumps off…What it is really interested in is what life is like without a narrative.”

~ Adyashanti, from Jumping Off the Cliff

In the Midst of Movement & Chaos

Keep Stillness Inside You…

The Flying Mystics

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one can not fly into flying.” 

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Flying over Lysefjord, Norway – Photo by Piotr

“Come to the edge,” he said…

“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.

“Come to the edge,” he said. “We can’t, We will fall!” they responded. “Come to the edge,” he said. And so they came.

And he pushed them. And they flew.

~ Guillaume Apollinaire

Your Natural State

A softly euphoric sense of awakening, the feeling of breathing & falling in love, in harmony with the universe.

A Divine Comedy