Author: robert

Work-as-Play

My father died of heart failure at 53. For years, I had watched him leave the house every morning, never excited, never eager, never inspired. He walked silently through the door, a look of resignation on his face. He did not go to work with his heart, and his heart failed him through neglect. Over the years, I believe his heart hardened as he worked for a living, and finally his heart suffocated from a lack of expression.

I have tried to live differently. Rather than work for a living, I prefer to say that I play for a living. I do not say this as a matter of semantics. I loved my father and I was heartbroken that he died with so much sadness in his eyes and disappointment in his heart. Though he does not know this, he inspired me away from sadness and disappointment and towards those things that nourish my heart and invigorate my soul. This is his legacy to me.

As I reflect on the nature of work-as-play, I find four distinct elements.

The first element of work-as-play is enthusiasm: we have to want to do the work we do. It has to ignite our deep love for living. We have to reach out with our full presence — with a full yes! — and do our chosen work with our whole fiery spirit. We must know in our heart, in the truth-knowing fluid of our soul’s arteries, that it is right. We may not be able to explain or justify our choice, but we know intuitively that we are on the right path, doing the right thing, breathing the oxygen that our soul’s lungs need to live.

The second element is freedom. We do not serve any master other than our innate freedom of being. We work from our heart, with devotion. Where there is devotion, there is freedom. We love our work because our work reveals who we are. We become intimate with our work and those with whom we work, because the revelations of our soul in what we do has a depth of feeling which exposes our inside to the outside. As the poet Rumi suggests, what we do is the beauty that we love. Beauty, love, and work, when blended together, can be called play.

When we are free, we can tell the truth, and this is the third element. In freedom, there is no fear, no controlling mechanism to intimidate or coerce us. So, we can let what is inside come outside. We can give full expression to our artistic pulse, our soaring energy, our bold declarations, and our daring inventions. We let our full artistry and passion pour out and over everything we touch. Sharing the truth of our deep love and joy is another hallmark of work-as-play.

Work-as-play is part enthusiasm, part freedom, part authentic self-expression.

The fourth element is devotion. Devotion is a state of being in which the life force rushes madly from lover to beloved. How could we not give ourselves fully, totally, absolutely to what we most love? Devotion is thus effortless, because it is natural to live at the farthest edge of giving when one is in love. We touch this inner core of love, and then we give ourselves to it. Our heart demands it, our soul craves it — we will not ever hold back one ounce. Devotion is a state of surrender, of obedience, to that which links us to the whole, to the Universe. Devotion is a state of being whose aura is love, and whose thoughts no longer belong to oneself, but to the single Soul of all creatures.

Perhaps there are other elements contained within this notion of work-as-play, but they will start to turn back onto themselves. They will become mirrored images of each other. We can say that work-as-play involves a sense of meaning. But meaning will always be wordlessly present when we choose and accept what moves from deep within us.

We can say there must be a feeling of purpose, but there is no higher purpose than letting our love dance in all that we do. It is purpose enough. We might say that work-as-play should serve and benefit others. Work-as-play inevitably serves and benefits others, touching them as it does with caring, beauty, love, and freedom. Serving others is the natural outcome of anyone who works with devotion.

My father’s legacy to me is this: grab hold of your soul and do not let go. Follow it. Do not hesitate. Do not negotiate. Do not equivocate. Follow, and be free. On this path, work and not-work do not exist. Even work-as-play is inaccurate. It’s something else altogether. Best to find out for yourself. Don’t believe me.

 

 

 

 

(new release) The Sacred Hub: Living in the Shimmering Light of Your True Self

The Sacred Hub: Living in the Shimmering Light of Your True Self

by Robert Rabbin

Paperback, Audiobook and Kindle available now from Wetware Media

The Sacred Hub is an inspiring collection of essays on the nature of meditation, self-inquiry, mind, healing, awareness, silence, ego, freedom, and more. It is an inspired guide that will help you discover your own infinite nature–one of enduring happiness and peace.

“This is a book filled with deep and profound meaning. The Sacred Hub is an extraordinary collection of essays by author Robert Rabbin. The book covers a variety of topics such as learning to know one’s true self, learning to understand and deal with emotions, the meaning of love, and the value of meditation. The author shares amazing insights on these topics, such as the idea that true happiness is the absence of self-concern. Each section of the book is composed of spontaneous and unedited writing—remarkable, considering the overall clarity of the work. Its are unique ideas and challenging thoughts—stop trying to fix one’s life, it advises, and argues that the purpose of life is simply living.

The Sacred Hub is an excellent work of spirituality that pushes people to meet their deepest, truest selves. Though its answers to looming questions are not always comfortable, there is real wisdom here, and the opportunity for developing a simpler, happier way of life.”

Catherine Thureson, Foreword Reviews (November/December 2017)


 Paperback, Audiobook and Kindle available now from Wetware Media


The Sacred Hub Endorsements

“How to express the inexpressible? You dance and play and make love with the Divine Self. You drink deep. If you’re intoxicated enough, the words flow. If you’re exceptionally drunk, an exquisite book like The Sacred Hub is the result. Quench your thirst from this well!” – Cate Montana, author The E Word: Ego, Enlightenment & Other Essentials, and Unearthing Venus

“Despite a life-threatening health challenge, Robert Rabbin has cheerfully continued his life-long dedication to spiritual development – his own and others’. He is thus the hub of his own sacred wheel – one of many now rolling through this world – and a blessing to all whose lives he touches.” — Rick Archer, Creator and Host of “Buddha at the Gas Pump”

“The Sacred Hub is an eminently readable inquiry into what it means to be both fully human and fully divine. The Author invites his readers to consider living a consciously awakened life with both personal integrity and spiritual awareness. This timely book is very practical, completely accessible and very compelling. Highly recommended.” — Chuck Hillig, psychotherapist and author of Seeds for the Soul: Living as the Source of Who You Are

“Today’s news headlines are like drops of water on the forehead. Robert Rabbin turns us toward the whole, the ever-present, the untouchable: The hub. From the hub we can only know the world as sacred, through and through. Knowing it all as sacred, Robert harvests the drops of water and with them bathes and cleanses us in an ocean of reality.” — Jerry Katz, www.nonduality.org, Editor of One: Essential Writings on Nonduality.

“Robert Rabbin’s words vibrate with energy, stimulating thought, evoking a response from deep within the heart.” — Tim Freke, author of Deep Awake and Soul Story


 Paperback, Audiobook and Kindle available now from Wetware Media


Reader Reviews, from Amazon.com, as of October 17, 2017  (All reviewers rated The Sacred Hub 5 stars)

The Sacred Hub has resonated with me on such a deep level, I feel I need to read it again to absorb the profound wisdom that this book contains. I encourage everyone who is on their path to self-discovery, to take a look at this book. It will make the journey that much better. Mauigirl

The Sacred Hub is an inspiriting and heart provoking work. It is a series of short essays. Each one can be read easily and quickly. But be prepared to be touched, enlightened and to want to take a bit of time to digest after reading. As a kind of daily meditation, I like to just pick one that feels right and read it. I have read particular essays over and over again, whenever I need a pick-me-up or a divine perspective. R. Rabbin is a long-term meditator, spiritual student and explorer of inner realms. However, his writings are for everyone, no need to have an established spiritual practice– only an open heart and mind. Cindy Lindsay

The Sacred Hub is not a book to be read as one usually reads a book. The writings contained within are moments, reflections, feelings, emotions, meditations to be savored, embraced, inhaled into our very depths. They are to be experienced in silence so the words can be transformed into whatever the Sacred Hub of Your Self needs them to be in order to create your inner transformation. And you will be transformed, if you allow it. Let these writings take you on your own personal journey to that place where magic happens … your inner self. Nrf2 Activated

… and then the clouds parted … and heaven offered up its shining light of white fire truth again! Be still my beating heart; another Robert Rabbin book! I’ve just started reading and there is no need to finish to give this book 5 stars. It’s filled to the brim with simple and profound truths that we all know but can’t trust in ourselves. Well, now you can. Robert pours it all out, confirms and then delivers that final drop of ‘ahhhh!’ Thank you, Robert! ktbokcon

I recommend The Sacred Hub to all who would remember their true, divine nature. Robert Rabbin’s words resonate with a profound experience of Self. The enlightened moments captured in his stories lure and challenge us to roam in the inner sacred landscape to begin the journey of Self-remembrance. James Strohecker, CEO, WellPeople

This book is an essential companion for those yearning for freedom. In the Sacred Hub, Robert Rabbin invites us to explore within ourselves, the living Truth that dwells deep within so that we can finally live radiantly alive and utterly free in our everyday lives. Lisa Page


 Paperback, Audiobook and Kindle available now from Wetware Media


E-mail from Susan Greenwood, a 5th grade teacher in Charlottesville, VA.

 Hi Robert,

I wanted to share what happened in my classroom today when I read an excerpt from your “Anger” chapter in The Sacred Hub.  I took a screen shot of the section that speaks of what anger actually is. I did this for our morning meeting and connected your writing to our current writing unit -—explaining that this is a good piece of writing that is pack full of information, but is written concisely and to the point.

I read the excerpt and “kid defined” some of the vocabulary. When I was done reading there was dead silence. I asked what they thought, and again silence … this always tells me their brains are turning in ways that are unfamiliar and possibly uncomfortable for them, which is a good thing!

Then a couple of the kids said “that’s deep.”  I asked for other thoughts, and quite frankly, they didn’t know what to say except, “that’s deep.”  Then more responses came:

“I need to start doing that — take a step back and think why I’m getting angry.”

“I’ve never thought of anger in that way.”

“That’s very thoughtful.”

“Ms. Greenwood, can I have the piece of paper with that writing?” — I gave her the printed copy that was projected.

So — well-done, my friend, you made a bunch of 5th graders really think! Will keep sharing pieces of your amazing essays as I continue to read.

Love,

Susan


 Paperback, Audiobook and Kindle available now from Wetware Media


 

 

 

 

 

A Cornucopia of Lessons

It was November 2011, and I had just finished leading a week-long retreat in Bali.

I was scheduled to return to Los Angeles, but I was too sick and incapacitated to fly all that way. Instead, I flew to the much closer Australia, where I had lived from 2005 till May 2011.

Bali temple

I was experiencing chronic and acute pain in my back. I was progressively losing leg strength. I could stand only on crutches. Lying down, I could not lift my legs and barely wiggle my toes. From various chiropractors, physical therapists, and other holistic healers, I had received a general diagnosis of spinal disc problems. No therapy relieved the pain or symptoms.

On Christmas Eve 2011, I was flooded with the awareness that something was truly wrong and that I needed to go to a hospital immediately. A few hours later, I was admitted to the emergency room of a local hospital.

Darshan with Bhagawan Nityananda

As I slowly, but steadily, re-enter the market to share my gifts and talents and earn a living after a long illness-induced hiatus, I remembered this event from 20013. It seems to be a kind of trump card over everything else I can think of to do, which includes the advice of many smart and caring people.


In 2003, I was walking along Stinson Beach, north of San Francisco. I was trying to figure out how to raise money for a project I wanted to launch. Suddenly, right there in broad daylight and on the sandy crescent of Stinson Beach, a tall nearly-naked Indian man appeared. I recognized him from pictures.

Nityananda

Nityananda

He was called Bhagawan Nityananda, and lived here on Earth up until 1961. He was a great and eccentric sage, the guru of my teacher. He stood in front of me and said, “You have reached a place in your sadhana (spiritual practice) where you no longer have to reach to get. You only have to open to receive.” Whoosh. Then he was gone.

Of course, the thoughtstream of my mind wanted to know: Receive what? How? From where? When? What about will, and intention, and effort? What about planning and strategies? Who’s sending the stuff I’m supposed to open to receive? What if it doesn’t come? What if it’s not what I want?

The True Source of Safety

As an infant and toddler, we learn that our safety lies in submission, obedience, and compliance. We hardly have any personal capacity to keep ourself safe, other than through these strategies. So, we learn that it is often better by far to hide our truth. We do that so well, we forget there is such a thing. Thus is the origin of sadness and self-doubt, confusion and weakness.

Robert Rabbin

Robert Rabbin

Later, when we have learned how to enter into the heart of our deep being, we discover that we now have unfettered access to unlimited shakti, the creative power of Existence. Now, our safety lies in telling the truth. In fact, more than our safety depends upon this telling the truth from the center of our deep being: our integrity, our authenticity, our beauty, our genius, our love — oh, fuck it: Telling the truth means showing who we are 24/7 in vivid colors. And “who we are” is vast, gigantic, hysterically free and wildly inventive and sassy and — oh fuck it: JUST ROCK ON WITH WHO YOU ARE!

The true source of our safety is here: in our own deep, profound, shakti-rich, magnificent, genuine, powerful being. Here, we are invincible. Here, in our utter openness, transparency, vulnerability, and honesty. Here, we are safe; nothing can hurt us. And because we are safe, we can afford to risk. Risk what? Our truth, our tender heart, our expansive soul, our infinite creativity. Oh, yes, I almost forgot. Our love for all of Existence. Our caring an kindness, our affection and friendliness. For our own self. For all our brothers and sisters. For all of life. Because we are safe, we are free.

It makes me cry to see how close we are to freedom and glory. And, yet, how many of us know this? How many of us set ourselves free?

Women: Roar Without Apology

Today, I told one of my female public speaking students, “Roar without apology.” I’ve worked with hundreds of women over the years, most of them in the context of public speaking, or authentic self-expression as I prefer to call it. If I had to offer a single piece of advice to all of them, and to all women, if I had to encourage them in the singular direction of their freedom from the tyranny of self-suppression, away from subordination of all kinds and towards their innate wildness and magnificence, it would be this: Roar without apology.

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The way I see things, women and men are not equal. Women have a power no man can ever attain. We do not have it. We cannot get it. It is the power of creation itself. But somewhere along the line, women have become afraid of their power. If they show it, they apologize for it. I say, roar without apology.

Female fierceness is not violent or destructive, not when allowed to roam free. Wild, yes. Unpredictable, yes. Dangerous, yes. Ecstatically primal, yes. Scarily intuitive, yes. And more. Yes. The future of Existence is in your womb. Roar without apology. That is how it is supposed to be. Don’t worry about the men. They’ll figure it out. They’ll be okay.

Weird Failures

For years, I’ve been in love with this poem by Kabir, the 15th century Indian poet-saint:

We sense that there is some sort of spirit that loves birds and animals and the ants — perhaps the same one who gave a radiance to you in your mother’s womb. Is it logical you would be walking around entirely orphaned now? The truth is you turned away yourself, and decided to go into the dark alone. Now you are tangled up in others and have forgotten what you once knew, and that’s why everything you do has some weird failure in it.

Some weird failure. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, which I wore for years. Not because I’d forgotten what I once knew, but because I stopped saying what I knew, and know, and could never forget because it is who I am, beneath the protective shields, down in the deep core, all molten and ready to explode!

Why I love Speaking Truthfully masterclasses.

Among the many great joys I experience in my work is watching people open, expand, and express. I love this. I watch them find their voice, and learn how to self-generate portable safety which gives them the courage and confidence to express what they have never expressed. I watch and listen as people in master classes or private sessions face down their particular taboos against speaking up and standing out, push back the bullies of their past with power and self-ownership, and grant their secret dreams and visions the life-force they need in order to come into the world and be seen and heard and felt. I love watching people free themselves from fear and confusion about who they are and what they want to say, giving birth to the freedom-loving, tender-hearted rampaging animal they were meant to be.

Parto copy

Maybe because I have spent most of my life learning to do the same, I love watching people find and own their voice and bless themselves and others with the gift of their truth, their authenticity, their heart, their joy, their creativity. I love seeing the light in their eyes glow brighter, their posture grow taller, their confidence in their own being register “off the chart.” I love seeing the authentic connection — to self and others — that blossoms, the vulnerability, the transparency, the sheer fearless openness.

C’mon! Really?

I wonder how many times during this eventful year you thought, said, or even yelled something like this:

C’mon! Really? Is That True? Are You For Real?

Maybe your incredulity was even spiced with some F-bombs or other favorite words of emphasis!

Yes, this is the year where we learned that it is very difficult to know what — and who — to believe. Sure, the low hanging fruit on this tree would be the explosion of “fake news” stories on social media, the rabid, toxic rants of ideologues, the deceptive and manipulative narratives of many politicians and corporate executives, the premature ejaculations of news pundits, — OK, you know what I’m talking about. But, with the exception of a few notable branches, the entire tree of public discourse has become depressingly unbelievable.

keep-right

Here is an all-time memorable line from the 1976 movie Network, spoken by Peter Finch as the character Howard Beale: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Sadly, I do not have sufficient super powers to send an energetic wave of transformation out into the world, such that — POOF and PRESTO — accuracy, believability, transparency, honesty, and dignity — would instantly sprout in the minds and hearts of all people. But, I can lead the charge, and I can speak for this, and I can stand for this, and I can embody this.

Which is what I do through Speaking Truthfully. It’s a kind of crusade for me, being a crusading, mission-driven kind of guy.

How about it? How about if we decide and dedicate ourselves to this crusade? A crusade that is about embodying and exemplifying truthful speaking, about seeding the world with actual and accurate information, about showing up in the world without pretense or hype, about using our words to educate and elevate, to illuminate and inspire, to unify and heal — rather than to demonize and marginalize, obscure and confuse, oppress and intimidate.

Truthful speaking: believable, accurate, honest, soulful, heartfelt, non-dogmatic, kind, healing, uplifting, encouraging, unifying … .

Speaking Truthfully. My mission and crusade. My promise. My hope.

Love to all.

Conversations on the High Wire

“Life is walking the high wire with no net;

everything else is just waiting around.”

— Karl Wallenda

Karl Wallenda

Someone recently asked me what my “Conversations on the High Wire” are all about. How are they different from other talks I give, from “The 5 Principles of Authentic Living,” for example, or from “Speaking Truthfully”? Simply this: “Conversations on the High Wire” has absolutely no predetermined content, as do my other talks, which deal with specific content. Though, truth be told, everything I do has an element of improvisation to it. But “Conversations on the High Wire” are off the rails! And “Conversations” are just that: intimate, honest conversations rather than presentations with questions. We create conversations together. My role is facilitate questioning and exploration, to encourage all who are present to dive deeper into the depths of our being, to let go of impediments and certainties and unexamined assumptions, beliefs, and prior decisions. We are not looking to find freedom in dogma, but in freedom itself. If there is an aim in these Conversations, it is just that: freedom.

Here’s the backstory:

This moment when I am supposed to begin talking is always very exciting for me, exciting in an unpredictable way because I never know exactly what I’m going to say. In the same way that you are waiting to see what I might say, so am I. I do not have a rehearsed talk. I have not come with an outline of talking points. I come with an openness to discover the truth of this moment. I do not want to blind myself to the beauty and depth of this instant, of meeting you for the first time, of being used by this time and place, I do not want to blind myself to all of this by hiding behind something prepared, something remembered, something from yesterday. Yesterday is dead. It is gone. Where is the vitality in yesterday? Where is the life in yesterday? Nowhere. It is only here, in this moment, and meeting it with openness and wonder and readiness, with curiosity and awareness, with the spirit of exploration and discovery.

Philippe Petit

It feels to me that I’m on the roof of a building and I have to go across a thin wire to another building, 50 feet away. The ground is 50 stories below. I have to go across this tightrope, fully exposed. I can feel my attention become so focused on the moment and the movement of this moment as I am about to step from the roof onto the wire. I can’t possibly think of anything, remember anything … my attention is too riveted on this moment, sensing any sway in the wire, sensing any breeze, feeling my body, entering fully this moment, with full alertness and responsiveness. I can’t even remember myself in this moment. If I stop to think of myself, to remember myself, I will certainly fall. That’s how it feels when I begin a talk; it is a gathering of alertness and attention, gathering it from where it may have wandered, into some thought stream or reverie, into some ancient past where the myths of myself are stored, or into an imaginary future, where projections of fantasies are already writing new myths.

Through this alertness, what is always present, a background of awareness, comes alive, because there is no thought, there is no projection of memory, no anticipation, there is no habitual self to get in the way, to obscure that clear awareness. None of those things can sustain themselves in that alertness. You become a part of each moment. There is no separation or difference between oneself and the breeze and the wire and the height and the distance. You simply participate in that total moment. Everything happens together, in unison; one thing does not stand away from other things, thinking independently, acting independently.

Actually it’s not like this just when I give talks, it’s how I experience my life. The complete attention to this precise moment allows only this moment to be real. Thoughts about this moment cannot interfere in the moment, because the attention is too alert to be distracted by thoughts. When one is completely present, then the focusing dissolves, the effort to pay attention is dissolved and there is just this moment in which we are fully participating; we are used by the totality of this moment, which includes what is beyond our sight and touch.

In a way, we are bound by the requirements of each moment. We actually are never free of that bondage, we are bound to the precision and intelligence and demands of the moment, regardless of what we might think, regardless of what we might feel, regardless of what we might anticipate, expect, hope, regret—it doesn’t matter. Through that bondage to the present we experience freedom.

That is a good kind of bondage, the one that does not allow us to leave the purity of this instant. If we do, we will fall from the wire. In the moment, all you hear is your acrobat’s slipper shuffling over the wire, moving, moving, carefully, exquisitely.

 Focusing allows the awareness, which is always present, to reveal itself. We are not creating some kind of magical state that doesn’t already exist by focusing our attention on the wire. Of course, I am speaking metaphorically when I talk about the wire. But this focusing is the essence of meditation. In my dictionary, I define meditation as dis-identification with conceptual thinking. Anytime we bring our full attention to something — whether it is externally focused, like cutting vegetables, or internally focused, like reciting a mantra — we take our attention off of our thoughts. As we do this, awareness emerges, and that awareness links us to the present.

Having said that, we can see that the waning of that attention and the feeling of distance from the awareness of the moment is thought itself. Not so much thought, but identification with thought. When we notice this, we simply focus our attention elsewhere, away from thought, on a single thing, like the metaphorical wire we are walking across.

The focusing, which we can call meditation, is something I practiced for a long time. It leads one into the present in which no focus is required, because there is only the present, there isn’t anything to focus on. Then, the “focus” is self-sustaining in that space of clear awareness. During the practice part of it, the focus is very difficult to maintain. It certainly does wax and wane. But one comes to realize what interferes with the focus, what causes one to fall from the wire time and time again: It is following thoughts. They are what will take the focus from the present, they are what will cause you to slip and fall. After enough practice, one just isn’t pushed by the thoughts off the wire, one’s focus is not interrupted because the attention is on the space in which thoughts arise and subside, the place of awareness, the place of Silence.

On the wire, the consequence of leaning to the left because a thought leans to the left, or of leaning to the right because an emotion leans to the right is disastrous. So, we don’t follow thoughts, and we soon discover that awareness cannot be disturbed by thoughts and emotions. And then you realize that clear awareness is the present. In that present, thoughts come up, emotions come up, but they don’t have the power to push you off the wire of present attention and focus. Being present isn’t being present in a conceptual way. Being present doesn’t even mean to be alert with our senses. Being present means to live in the interval between thoughts, in that timelessness. That is where the present is. It is not a conceptual present; it is not an idea. It is the nature of how things are.

And because it is how things are, it is really no big deal.

“Conversations on the High Wire” are spontaneous, free-wheeling adventures in authentic living, loving, and speaking.