Urban Monk Wellness

Massage . Yoga . Meditation . Creative Expression



Maybe God Doesn’t Want to be Alone

IMG_20200116_103350530The other evening, a good friend and I were discussing our different approaches toward meditation and what our experiences have been. At one point I mentioned that I tend to approach my meditations in an attempt to become one with Brahman, or more accurately to simply remember that I am Brahman. My “goal” has been to “escape” samsara. This line of conversation eventually led to the epiphany that perhaps God doesn’t want to be alone, and maybe I’ve been looking at it all wrong.

God/Brahman is omnipresent, omniscient, infinite, and eternal. Everything else is temporary and illusory even though everything else is ultimately, in it’s essence, still Brahman. My approach toward meditation has been to realize my Brahman essence and find liberation. I’ve always assumed that I’d then eventually die from this body and return to Brahman as one. If I did that, if we all did that, than would God be alone again? Would the all pervading ocean of possibility become entirely silent, and if this happened wouldn’t that be lonely?

Ha! God feeling lonely. At first it seemed absurd because God is the ultimate everything. How could the most ultimate and powerful being feel lonely? img_20160908_201058Yes, powerful is an adjective for God but not lonely. That’s such a feeling I have guilt and judgement around. It’s fine for God to feel power or love, but lonely… That’s just too human. Too weak. Or is it?

In my mind, I was suddenly picturing Brahman alone in the stillness, in the purusa, and when I saw God like this little lonely kid wishing for some company, some family and friends, I understood why I’m here has nothing to do with escaping reincarnation or life. This is all on purpose. Everything that is here and is happening is part of Brahman playing out his heart’s need for love. Perhaps the freedom of enlightenment is to be alive and see that you’re keeping God from being lonely. Our lives give love a reason to exist. What could be more meaningful and freeing than this!?

AUM shanti shanti shanti


Ayam Atma Bramha

All these books keep telling me the same thing in many different ways. Everything is Brahman and as such, so too am I. As I understand it, Brahman is that which cannot be changed, and it is that upon which the ever changing exists. It is somehow the source, the object, and neither. Brahman is not for words though words arise from it. Brahman is my true nature. I’ve come to use this word Brahman in my thoughts rather than “God” or “Universe” because these words feel far away, while Brahman is not only close, it is ultimately everything. This path I’m on tells me that through certain prescribed exercises I can uncover my true nature and realize this ultimate truth. This is the path of the yogi.


All of us are Brahman, and the paths to this truth are as diverse and plentiful as the pilgrims journeying them. This is no easy truth to recognize, and it requires diligence, determination, and also surrender. The journey is the destination, and I have come to find great joy simply from the path. The truth is that in aiming to find Brahman, I’ve found more peace with myself. In finding more peace with myself, I’ve found more peace with life. In finding more peace with life, I am realizing that it’s all Brahman.

I am not my aging body, I am not my changing mind, I am not my shifting emotions; I am my soul and my soul is Brahman.


A Simple Prayer

In this dirt, in these trees, in this complex symphony of flesh and bone I am alive, and being alive is a good thing to be.

I am no great king or general. I have no palace and no gold, but mine is the path of the yogi. Until it is time to give my body back to Earth, I am home.IMG_20190924_093302_669.jpg

How Reiki and Yoga Vibrate Together

It seems to me that each person is a receiver, much like a radio or television, and as receivers we are capable of picking up many stations. We tune into the frequency to which we adjust our dial, and then these same frequencies become the vibrations we emit. Positive frequencies do abound; love, compassion, kindness are so common but we often overlook their power. Ours is a society that focuses upon all that is wrong. We crave the evil, the shocking, the violent, and this makes us fearful and melancholy. The collective ennui of our society is palpable and has become destructive. Too many have given up their own ability to tune into the higher vibrational patterns, or they never even knew they could. Reiki and yoga are parallel practices aimed at fine-tuning an individual’s personal frequencies to receive the universal frequencies of healing, goodness, and God. As more people discover these practices and tune into these higher frequencies, the world will heal and become a place of cooperation more than competition.

Reiki translates to mean “Universal Life Force”. It has been called many things by many different traditions. The yogis call it prana, martial artists Qi or Ki, it is the Holy Spirit, or maybe God. Reiki is a vibrational channel that emanates healing both in the present moment and across time and space. Reiki is said to be inter-dimensional and timeless. Traditionally, one is opened or attuned to the Reiki frequency by a Reiki “master”. A similar practice takes place in many yoga traditions wherein a yoga guru passes on enlightenment to a worthy student through touch. With practice, the Reiki practitioner becomes more aware and sensitive to the messages being sent through the opened channels and the energy flows more freely. Like meditation or yoga, these practices can take lifetimes to master.

Yoga means to yolk or to unite. The scope of yoga is far too grand to give it sufficient justice in this short article. For today’s purposes, suffice it to say that yoga consists of eight practices designed at uniting a person directly with everything. Yoga is to take the many and return them to the one. Ultimately, all the vibrational frequencies are one vibrational frequency, and the yogi seeks union with this universal life force. These practices also take years and lifetimes to master because they aim at bringing a person into oneness with all that is, was, or ever will be. Like Reiki, the connection is inter-dimensional and timeless.

Though modern physics might be beginning to scratch the surface upon some insights that the ancient yogis understood long ago and a gathering body of empirical scientific evidence is building, these concepts of infinity, being able to heal or connect across time and space, or becoming one with everything are not popular in traditional scientific study. They sound more like the realm of magic and mysticism. Because these are not easily understood ideas, and because our language doesn’t have words to describe these phenomena, and because most human beings are not up to such a daunting task, intermediaries like priests or Demi-Gods are used to help us understand. Much of religion is encapsulated in myth and Demi-Gods because the ultimate reality is not able to be expressed in words, and it is not appropriate for everyone to be open to such a powerful frequency. We must prepare the body and the spirit to receive these elevated vibrational patterns.

The beauty and paradox of both Reiki and Yoga are that the preparation for the elevated states lead directly to the elevated states themselves. It is only by diving head first into the practice that we reveal the truth of our limitations. The practices bring us into a relentless and honest look at self… at ego. Especially in the beginning we might feel that these practices cause suffering, but in actuality we confront our limitations so we can then embrace them with kindness. The path toward opening the heart and soul is not a painless one. True healing requires a bit of sacrifice, but these are not the sacrifices of self-torment, guilt, or loathing; rather, these sacrifices require us to embrace the sometimes uncomfortable truth that we have tuned into lower frequencies. To open ourselves up to the frequencies of universal life force, of God, we must extend our reach. We must open up each and every cell to the possibility of God’s perfect plan. By embracing the path and by undergoing the journey, the practices, we ultimately realize that there is no end. All is one, and one is all.

I know that these are not simple ideas. Forgive me if I pretend to seem to have understood these things, because I assure you I have not. I present these ideas only because I hope to add to the good vibrations. When I walk through the forest, I feel Reiki; I feel God. When I swim in the ocean, when I hear laughter, when swing sets creak and frogs croak, when lovers kiss, and when night turns to day, I feel it. There is so much goodness, and there is so much that isn’t. We do have a choice. It is an easy choice, but the devil is in the details. A lifetime is so short, while an hour can be so long. Live each day a breath at a time, and let each breath be focused on love and goodness. This my friends is the path of the yogi.

Ol’ Yeller

Anyway, I guess it’s just about love. The world will surely try to make you forget, so please don’t. It’s about love. We hate and anger so quickly, let us be so free with our love… Like a damn dog!

One of my favorite stories is about a king named Yudhistra who gives up his wealth in search of Heaven. During his arduous journey, a mutt starts to follow him and his party made up of his brothers and the most amazing queen, Draupadi. While at first the dog is a burden, an unnecessary mouth to feed, by the end of the story she becomes the test of loyalty and truth. You see, over the journey Yudhistra loses all that he holds dear. Death eventually claims all those he loves except this dog, and after many years, they become family.
Their journey together is not an easy one, and the prize will be hard won. Yudhistra learns much of self and life, and over these challenging years, he knows what core values drive him; this is good as he is greeted by the proud and daunting Indra, God of storm. The thunder roars to Yudhistra, “You are a wise and kind being. Heaven in this life is open for you. While you are welcome, your beast is not. Leave your companion here or go back from whence you came.” All these years and sacrifices, he has given all for this, given his kingdom, watched all those he loves perish, traveled years and thousands of miles, and all for this! He looks at her, his only friend left and then back at Indra. “I suppose it just wasn’t meant to be,” laments Yudhistra, and as he turns to go… In that moment, the dog transforms into the beautiful angel Dharma, truth and righteousness incarnate. “Yudhistra, you truly are worthy,” she sings. “Even when you are tempted with all you desire, you remain true to the humblest of loves. Love is the answer, loyalty to that which is true. You’ve always been at Heaven my friend.” Then together, the two became into the light.

Thoughts on Abhyasa and Vairagya

Atha yoganusasanam; now is yoga. That word atha means now, and the practice of yoga is always now. Abhyasa is this sustained and ever vigilant practice of attempting to be one with the now. When we come to our mats, this yoga is something we practice with more dhyana and concentrated focus, but the lofty goal of yoga requires that we develop this sustained concentration on the now so that our whole life becomes vinyasa. Abhyasa is facing the constant truth of our own existence (satya) while remaining unattached to the desires of the ahamkara or ego based mind.

Abhyasa and vairagya, as with all of yoga, seek to elevate us to our highest potential (ultimately God). The constant work of realizing God is all, in all (sat nam), even the ugliest parts of life, requires a great deal of courage and persistence. Because life can often be challenging and overwhelming, abyhasa and vairagya remind us to remain present “in the now”, connected to the process of divine surrender (ishvara pranidhana) while constantly working toward our best selves. We do the work because the work itself is good, and while we might not change the whole world, we change the consciousness residing within this life.

To: Me — From: Me

Dear Future Me,

For many years, I thought that you would be at peace if only I could just find the right… car, job, partner, hobby, etc. Even though I’ve put forth the work through therapy, yoga, healthy eating, and making art; even though I have a job that inspires my soul like air inspires fire; and even though I know that I deserve goodness, I have not always believed in you. There are days where I feel so caught up in my fear and my self-doubt that I don’t even give you a chance to be free. I apologize for not believing in your limitless potential, and I pledge to actively show you that I am in love with you today and everyday until we fall back into the fold of existence.

From this day forth, I will treat myself with the softness and tenderness with which I treat a lover. No longer will I allow myself to abuse my spirit with trepidation or limiting ideas; instead I will dare to dream big and know that my dreams are goals I deserve to achieve. Stories from my childhood about my worth no longer serve me, and so I will shatter those fetters that tie me to a past that does not even exist. Just as I would with a child, I offer myself patience and forgiveness along my journey so that I may be vulnerable and able to lean without fear that I shall be dropped.

There will be times when strength requires allowing another to support you. I’m doing the work to open my heart so that I can both offer and receive love. For years I believed I had to be my rock, an island strong enough to bolster others without need of buttressing, but I love you enough to let you be in family with another. I will no longer tolerate partners who do not recognize my worth because I love myself enough to wait, alone, until someone who fits perfectly into my heart comes along.

This has been a great life thus far, and I look forward to seeing how “me today” becomes the you of tomorrow. I hope that we fall in love and raise a family, have wild adventures, and continue to live in a way that adds kindness to the world while allowing us to be as free as possible. May all our wildest dreams come true.



Kindness, the Greatest Virtue

The greatest of virtues is kindness… of all the best ways we can live, compassion and kindness, to see others as we see ourselves, this is the way toward virtue. These are the words I read tonight in a book about Hindu philosophy. These are the words I read growing up Christian, and these are the words I find to ring true no matter what “god” or “not god” exists.

Boundless Love

Today I had jury duty; while there I read “Between the World and Me”, a book by a black man from west Baltimore to his young son. I have never felt entirely comfortable in this white skin… like I was accidentally a part of some club I didn’t really belong in and would rather deny. I never felt comfortable in its privilege or its entitlement. I’m not sure how to give it away, and I know that many people, even my own family, don’t always understand. I’ve almost always fallen in love with men and women of color, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve thought brown skin to be the most lovely in all its shades and tones.

I don’t feel white, and yet here I am. When the world sees me, it sees a white man, given the benefit of the doubt. Doors are held open, and “sir” I am called. I don’t want it! All I have ever wanted was to be kind and equal. I’d rather face a firing squad than hold a gun, and I pray that I never change in this.

I’m not sure why I am writing this or what I intend to accomplish except maybe to say that I hope one day to raise a family that is not white or black but simply human. We will celebrate diversity and all the lovely flavors that she brings, but we will always, above all else, be love. I am human; you are human, and I love you.

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