Spirituality & Religion

Introducing Marlie Avant

I’m a lucky guy; I get to meet and know some incredible people. None more so than my new friend, Marlie Avant. In addition to being accomplished in the theater and art world, Marlie has pursued her spiritual quest with an indefatigable spirit and a truly brave heart. Her extraordinary spiritual adventures, studies, and initiations include living amongst the Lakota Sioux, the Shuars (an indigenous tribe in Ecuador), an apprenticeship with a Peruvian Shaman, and receiving initiation in the Santo Daimi Ceremony in Brazil. She is the real deal, who is fiercely loving and wise on the inside and hot as hell on the outside! She is in the process of launching a website with the magnetic title of “Things you wish your grandmother had told you!” Well, stay tuned. I am going to enjoy helping Marlie promote her site when it’s up. She is finally ready to share her profound stories, wisdom, and heart with the world, especially with women who yearn to express more authenticity in their lives. Here is a recent journal entry, that I publish with her permission.

 

Catherine Gray Interviews Robert Rabbin

In this conversation, recorded in February 2017 and broadcast on April 5, 2017, host Catherine Gray of the Live Love Thrive talk show speaks with Robert Rabbin about his early life influences, time in an Indian ashram, and his current work, Speaking Truthfully. They touch on a number of issues relating to public speaking, as well as Robert’s work with women and his role in the women’s empowerment movement. The conversation is riddled with humor and stories!

Catherine regularly interviews a wonderful group of thought leaders and action heroes, and her show is worth watching on a regular basis!

 

 

 

Stillness Speaks

My good friends over at Stillness Speaks are expanding and refurbishing their extraordinary website, which is  “a preeminent resource for self-inquiry and self-exploration – the endless journey of self realization.”

Stillness Speaks offers content from multiple traditions (paths), and teachers (luminaries), enabling visitors to deeply explore the “many paths up the mountain:” from Christian to Sufi, from Zen to Hindu, Kabbalist to Kashmir Shaivism, Advaitic (Nondual) to Indigenous, from philosophical to atheist, from spiritual to scientific – the list is endless.

A partial list of the teachers they profile include:

Abhinavagupta, Adi Shankaracharya, A.H. Almaas, Anandamayi Ma, Bede Griffiths, Bentinho Massaro, Byron Katie,  Carl Jung, Chuck Hillig, Chuck Surface, David Eagleman, Deepak Chopra, Douglas Harding, Genpo Roshi, Hale Dwoskin, Hafez, Huang Po, Issac Shapiro, Joseph Campbell, John Sherman, Karen Richards, Karl Renz, Karlfried Graf Durckheim, Kabir, Kenny Johnson, Ken Wilber, Kurt Johnson, Lao Tzu, Llewwllyn Vaughn-Lee, Loch Kelly, Lester Levenson, Michael Brown, Nirmala, Paul Brunton, Rabindranath Tagore, Ramesh Balsekar, Richard Rose, Rupert Sheldrake, Scott Kiloby, Stephen Wolinsky, Swami Chinmayananda, Swami Dayananda, Thich Nhat Hanh, Tony Parsons, U.G. Krishnamurti, Vijay Kapoor, Wayne Dyer, Wayne Liquorman, Wayne Teasdale.

I am thus quite honored that they have included me in this illustrious roster, with my very own page!

Do check out their website, as it is a treasure trove of inspiring messages.

 

 

 

EXISTENTIAL NEWS FLASH

The thoughtstream — the field of thoughts and emotions — is a part of our entire being; it is not our entire being. Surrounding the thoughtstream is a larger part of our entire being, which I call Silence. Some might prefer to say awareness. OK, whatever puts some cosmic wind under your wings. Silence opens our conscious awareness to, and connects us with, everything that exists. You know, the All That Is. Dimensions, levels, subtle phenomena, intuitive perceptions, deep feeling, spontaneous knowing. Juicy, good, radical, ecstatic stuff — all right there in Silence. Have fun exploring!

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Light Up Nepal's Tsum Valley

It won’t take much to make a massive difference in the lives of these gorgeous people in Nepal! Please take a moment to read this and contribute what you can.

Nuns of the Dheron Gompa nunnery

Nuns of the Dheron Gompa nunnery

The organizer is Rob Rosenblum, the son of Tina Rosenblum, who is like a sixth sibling in the Rabbin family. We grew up as neighbors in Garden Grove.

Robert and Tina

Robert and Tina

Rob’s “uncle Bill” — Tina’s brother — has been my friend for 60 years! In addition to being childhood friends, we later shared an interest in meditation and Buddhism.

Oh, yes, we also raised hell in the Sierra Nevada mountains together, as chefs in a resort and then as a modern day Butch and Sundance — mountain guides and pack train operators.

Robert and Bill

Robert and Bill

Here is the story of what they are doing, and their request for funding via YOUCARING, Compassionate Fundraising.

The Story

In November, my uncle Bill and I will begin a 12 day trek through the Tsum Valley, a sacred Buddhist valley in the Gorkha region of Nepal. The Gorkha district was home to the epicenter of the devastating 2015 earthquake and the damage was predictably immense. Only opening to foreigners in 2008, Tsum receives far fewer visitors (and tourism dollars) than very popular Everest and Annapurna regions. Now over a year later, the rebuilding effort continues slowly.

We are working with Sonam Lama, a native of Tsum and head guide of the organization Tsum Valley Homestay (http://www.tsumvalleyhomestay.com/node/8), on two projects:

#1. To provide and distribute small, inflatable solar lanterns (MPowered Luci Outdoor solar lanterns) to the people of the valley.

And, if possible –

#2. To provide portable solar panels, a solar battery, and LED lighting to the nuns at Dheron Gompa nunnery, a week’s walk into the valley.

We are focusing on fundraising for the first project. $15 buys one of these magical little lanterns, and we will receive a 20% discount from the manufacturer if we raise the money to purchase 48 or more. We will look more deeply into project #2 depending on the success of this fundraiser.

We believe these projects will have a positive impact on the community: allowing families to burn less kerosene, giving children the opportunity to study at night, and providing emergency light sources in the case of another natural disaster.

The best way to help rebuild Nepal is to visit and contribute to the local economy. Not everyone can do this, but we can all help in a small way. Please help give the gift of light to these wonderful people!

Please help us help them! Donate what you can. THANK YOU.

 

Skin in the Game: evolving the notion of enlightened sage

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We embrace spiritual principles and practices in order to become free from self-created alienation, suffering and confusion. We long to experience our wholeness, our connectedness to others and the Earth, our creativity and joy, our authentic being.

As we do so, it is important to remember that inner experience and its outer action are a singular, inseparable movement, and that all manner of personal growth, self development and higher consciousness ultimately bear fruit in this world, as embodied action.

Exploring the nature of mind, self and reality often takes us into higher and subtler planes of existence, where we can lose touch with the physical world and the dramas of everyday life.

Who Are You?

Who Are You?

An excerpt from an interview.


 

Interviewer:  The first question is, “Who are you?”

Robert Rabbin:  Ah, yes: the great existential question! There are several levels at which that can be answered. However, the deepest truth only begins to be revealed in silence, beyond the thoughtstream and conceptual language. In a paradoxical way, we cannot know who we are as we might know an object. We cannot objectify who we are in order to label and categorize it. We are not an object that can be known in this way, either by our thoughts or by awareness. True knowledge of “who we are” emerges from silence as our ideas about who we are — and all associated memories and aspirations — dissolve into the silence.

Of course, for this to have any real meaning or significance, one has to experience this silent awareness directly, dissolve into it, and then embody it.

The secondary definitions that include one’s roles in life, one’s personal history and personality and character particulars are not very important. They shouldn’t be taken too seriously. We ought to have disclaimers attached to our personal histories similar to the ones used by psychic hotlines: For entertainment purposes only.

INT:  What is enlightenment, realization, awakening?

SIX Words to Change the World

I have been fortunate to meet several people who taught me about wisdom and in whose presence I traveled deeper and farther into the world of wonderment, beauty, grace and silence.

Huston Smith, Ph.D., is one such person and is, in my mind, a living saint, a man of prodigious knowledge and wisdom.

Huston Smith

Huston Smith

During his distinguished career as an author and professor of philosophy and religion, Dr. Smith managed to not only study, but practice Vedanta, Hinduism, Zen Buddhism and Sufism for over 10 years each. In 1996, Bill Moyers devoted a five-part PBS special to Smith’s life and work, The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith.