Living in the Question - A Liquid Elixir of Life ?


The Elusive Elixir of Life

The elusive elixir of life concept has a history in ancient traditions, especially in China and India, where legends and scriptures over thousands of years described various herbs and other substances that would have a healing effect or increase the longevity of life, or even bestow eternal life. The holy grail is also an example of a sacred elixir that grants eternal life. Using the word "liquid" as an acronym, we can explore how living in the question is one form of a spiritual "elixir of life". L-i-q-u-i-d refers to living in the question under the influence of the Divine. 

If You Were a Young Poet

If you were a young poet and you received a letter from your mentor that encouraged you to live in the question rather than the answer, how would you respond?

When we are younger in life it seems that we are seeking answers to all the questions that we have about life. It's a normal part of learning. It's interesting that the search for answers becomes a lifelong process as we change and age and may seek to experience life on a deeper level. The self-help industry has boomed because of this. There's always a new book, another event, workshop, or podcast to help us with answers, or to ask new questions. Are we are all like young poets when we live in the question?

Is There Secret Wisdom Contained in the Question?

Is there is a secret contained in the question that has all possibilities of the answer? Could the answer sometimes be framed in the shapes of other questions? The Zen masters knew this. The wise use of questions would cause the mind of the student to leap outside of the box of intellectual understanding. The parables and riddles and use of questions in the Jewish tradition and also by the master Jesus of Nazareth are also excellent examples. Many traditions recognize this as a way of sharing wisdom.

Living in the Question Now

Questions can be both empowering and frustrating. It depends on who is asking, and what the response is. Living in the question is being open to all possibilities. Questioning something out of criticism or doubt is a whole different vibe. The concept of living in the question was referred to in a letter to a student by Rainer Maria Rilke, a mystic and renowned German poet:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke , Letters to a Young Poet

Rilke encourages the young poet to "live the questions now", and not seek the answers. To love the questions even though the answers may not be forthcoming. 

Is Living in the Question an Invitation to View Life as a Young Poet?
This may be a good idea to add into our "toolbox" or approach to how we live our life here and now. By "living in the question" we don't need to know all the answers, and it leaves the question open- ended for more insights and possible deeper meanings when we are ready to receive them. The "answers" may also come as insights, aha moments, or subtle openings of wisdom within our heart and mind. Is living in the question an invitation to view life as a young poet?

By "living in the question", we can experience a deeper hidden knowledge or wisdom that may be experienced as an inner knowing, or  a state of consciousness or being that cannot be defined by words as answers.   

Although there are sophisticated methods and systems that use questions such as the Socratic Method, a simple approach is to always be open about new possibilities with whatever information we receive, knowing that there are many possibilities of the information that may not have been revealed yet.  

We have access to vast amounts of information - more than ever before in history - with the internet,  websites, YouTube, podcasts, seminars, workshops, books and blogs. It is easy to take all the information that we have on a topic and set limits on it as if we know enough about it. 

The concept of "living in the question" is to be open about the information that we receive. To know that there are possible new insights, and a new awareness of deeper understanding. It can be a refreshing new perspective and experience compared to "living in the answer". If we are open to a Divine Spirit within life then is it possible that questions help to create an opening to receive in ways beyond our own control?

LIQUID is an acronym for Living In the Question Under the Influence of the Divine. Could living in the question be one of the many sacred liquid elixirs of life?


Initiation - A Keyword for Sacred Experience

"One of the more subtle and profound initiations is not conducted by people, but by a Divine Spirit in which we can be transformed, renewed, reborn, or energized into a new level of knowledge and experience. This can happen outside of any organized religion, as a mystical experience, to anyone at any time. Dogma and authoritative belief systems are not required."
~ 333 Keywords to Change Your Life - "Initiate"

What is a Sacred Initiation?

The traditional reference of a formal initiation is to mark a rite of passage, by admission to a group or organization. Sometimes a reference to birth and death are used to describe dying to the old self and being reborn. Examples include baptism, bar mitzvah, secret vows, ceremonies, physical challenges to overcome, or a realization of the quest to drink from the metaphorical cup of the Holy Grail. Commonly there is a teacher/student, guru/disciple or Master/initiate relationship with a ceremony or ritual. A sacred initiation is not formal. An example is an "informal" baptism by the Divine Spirit compared to a ritual baptism by water. 

"The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” - John 3:8

A sacred initiation is a spiritual experience that seems to help you cross a threshold, and changes your life in some way. This can happen without a human intermediary, through acts of a Divine Spirit. In this type of informal initiation, we can be transformed, renewed, reborn, or energized into a new level of knowledge and experience. 

When Does an Initiation Happen?
Anything can be a catalyst or trigger for an initiation experience. It does not need to be a formal ceremony or ritual, although those have evolved to give external symbolism and reverence to represent or affirm an internal or external change in life. It can also be something that seems "normal" at the time but in retrospect it may be seen as an initiation as a result of what happened in consciousness. It can happen at any time or place.

Can a book can be a catalyst for a sacred initiation?

At age eighteen, a few years before I had a sacred puja ceremony initiation experience, I was given the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda and just reading it was a dramatic  experience for me. It had the effect of taking my very limited consciousness and awareness of spiritual realities to a whole new level. I looked at life differently after that, inspired by the possibilities of learning and having deeper levels of experience. It was like a sacred initiation as it was the beginning of a spiritual journey that continues onward and upward. On this journey I have had different types of initiations, and they continue occasionally to this day. Writing is a form of initiation, when a threshold is crossed and new ideas or words come into the mind to create, express, and share with others, inspired by a muse or Divine Spirit.

May the Divine Spirit be like a wind or breeze in our life, even though we do not know where or when it may happen. And as initiates, may it bless our soul, spirit, and consciousness with an initiation as a sacred experience. Are you ready?

~ David Lawrence Brown



A Mandala of Life - Changing the Future Now


The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

The mandala is an archetypal image whose occurrence is attested throughout the ages. It signifies the wholeness of the Self. This circular image represents the wholeness of the psychic ground or, to put it in mythic terms, the divinity incarnate in man… I saw that everything, all paths I had been following, all steps I had taken, were leading back to a single point — namely, to the mid-point. It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the center. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the center, to individuation. I knew that in finding the mandala as an expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate.” ~ Carl Jung

An interesting idea to reflect on is that we are living now in the future of yesterday.
A mandala represents the sacred
 geometry in all creation

We made decisions, created plans, worked on issues, removed limitations in our beliefs for change, maybe moved to a new location or changed jobs, and whatever else to be here now. This also applies collectively.

What are we doing now to create or change the coming weeks, months and years in our life?

In our world?

The following is an excerpt from the keyword "future" in the book 333 Keywords to Change Your Life.    

Future as a Keyword for Positive Change
"The invitation of the keyword “Future” is to consider if our present life was the result of our previous and present thoughts, desires, and emotions. What if the programming of advertising, culture, limiting beliefs, and negative emotional experiences in the past affected our future then – and we are living it now? What have we already cleared? How can we change our future more powerfully than we previously thought?

What if by using faith, belief, affirmations, visualizations, meditations, a positive attitude, and a wide range of resources you could neutralize or delete past programming and transform your life today and in the future? What if you started to see results in the future – one week from now? One month? One year? For the rest of your life?" (1)

Changing Our Future Collectively
This also applies collectively. How are we creating our future by our collective thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and views? With all of the turbulence of news and views in the past year and ongoing this seems to be relevant. Peace in our lifetime is a beautiful goal. A vision of a world without war? Why not? End world hunger? Yes. Sustainable growth? yes. Biotechnology and stem cell research? yes. Innovation in solving global challenges? Yes! 1977 was forty years ago. Back then organic was a fringe idea. Now it is mainstream. Imagine an amazing world forty years from now. Does fear get in the way? Maybe we can replace that with love. Love of the earth. Love of the Divine Spirit. Love of others. Love of our self and all living things. And love of the future possibilities for humanity. 

Our love and our life can be like a mandala. We create patterns of thoughts and feelings. May these patterns be aligned with the Divine Spirit and sacred geometry of all creation. And so it is. Amen.


(1) Brown, David Lawrence (2017-01-27). 333 Keywords to Change Your Life (Kindle Locations 2960-2964). David Lawrence Brown. Kindle Edition. 

Why 333 Keywords?



People often ask why there are 333 keywords in the book that I wrote and self-published. It's an interesting story, and not as unique as I had thought. Many people see different number combinations on a regular basis. It's a form of synchronicity as well as a mystery.

For about fifteen years I have seen the number 333 on a regular, spontaneous basis. I know, it's not something that is your usual event during any given day or night. Many times I have woken up and looked at the clock and it is exactly 3:33 am. It took me a while to get used to it as a regular occurrence. It also has has shown up in a variety of ways over the years. My driver's license, the three digit CSV code on the back of my credit card, the room capacity at a P.F. Chang's, car license plates, gas prices, a Starbucks receipt, the time of text messages, are a few examples.

If you Google it, there are different interpretations of what 333 means. Doreen Virtue says that the true meaning of 333 "refers to the Trinity, and means that you are receiving divine protection, help, and guidance....if you are seeing a lot of 3's then it is an Angel Number sign." It is also considered a sacred number in numerology, has a geometry of three triangles and was mentioned in the writings of Pythagoras.

I can live in the question about the various meanings, and accept it as well as other possibilities that are not yet known. Another interpretation is that it is a message that I need to keep all three parts of my being in balance; mind, body and spirit. I'm working on it.

Since I am also fascinated with words, writing, and books, I thought at one point if I could find 333 words in the dictionary that could relate to making positive changes in life, then maybe a book would come out of it. And it did. Having a background in Internet marketing, I decided to use the term keywords. For each keyword in the book, there is an inspiring quote, an expanded definition, an affirmation, a one minute meditation, and three questions to provide ideas for journaling about the keyword or thinking about how it is integrated into your life. The book is 612 pages long.

The book has had several reviews and one in particular was done by a professional book reviewer, Tim Larison, quoted below. The price is $3.33. That just seemed to be the right amount for the Kindle edition on Amazon. There is also a free "Look Inside" feature.
Amazon Link: 333 Keywords to Change Your Life

"I received a complementary copy of this book for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

“Words and affirmations can change your life,” writes David Lawrence Brown in his book 333 Keywords to Change Your Life. “Words that are positive in themselves or that elicit positive thoughts, memories, and experiences are important to add into our ‘self-talk,’ thoughts, goals, and communications with others.” For anyone who values the power of affirmations, Brown has created a wonderful resource to enhance your own spiritual growth.

Each of the “333 keywords” is a word you might think about on any given day. Say you are holding a grudge against someone and you realize forgiveness can get you out of your funk. Look up “forgiveness” in 333 Keywords and you’ll find a quote related to forgiveness (“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong,” – Mahatma Gandhi). You’ll find a three paragraph description of what forgiveness is all about, you’ll find a forgiveness affirmation, a one minute meditation related to forgiveness, and a writing exercise to help you through your own forgiveness process. Brown gives a similar treatment to his 332 other key words, with short one or two page treatments on words from Abundance to Yoga.

I was impressed with the amount of research that went into 333 Keywords. From my twitter feed you know I love inspirational quotes, and the quote associated with each key word is worth the price of the book alone. I also found the affirmations powerful, the meditations useful, and the writing exercises helpful for each key word.

333 Keywords is best used as a reference book, to take off the shelf when you need help in a particular area of your life. Or read a one word treatment each day as part of your spiritual practice. 333 Keywords is not a book to be rushed through – rather savor each word and the wisdom Brown imparts related to that word.

“Everyone has their own journey in life and we are blessed with the freedom of choice as to how we want to live,” the author writes. “Whatever we need to change, or work on, or seek improvement in, affirmations and keywords can help us on the journey.” Brown’s 333 Keywords will certainly aid in my spiritual journey – it has a prominent place on my bookshelf and I will refer to it often." - Tim Larison , Amazon Review 




The Mystical Light of Easter and Passover

I love and cherish the Divine Spirit that is the inspiration for the sacred rituals, celebrations, ceremonies, traditions, and faith within all religions. This week and time of year is holy week, and while I am not exclusively Christian or Jewish, I honor and respect this sacred time of the year. The hymns, songs, music, liturgies, chants, prayers, benedictions, and blessings are all beautiful in their own way, developed and created to celebrate life, freedom of the spirit, and love of the Divine.

Is the Mystical Light Inclusive?
The mystical light of the Divine Spirit is not exclusive to any time of year or to any particular faith. It is eternal, a "living light",  and is always shining upon us and within us, beyond the quantum physics of measurement of time and space. However at this time of year there is a collective focus around the world of the symbols and rituals of faith.

Is the Resurrection of Life Happening Now?

Is it possible that the resurrection of life beyond death is already happening now within everyone in that our spirit is eternal beyond the aging and death of physical reality?

Even though this could be seen as a belief, by "living in the question" it opens up possibilities beyond our comprehension, and we can acknowledge that there are mysteries in creation that we do not yet know, and that we have an open mind to explore. Imagine the journeys of a life beyond this one when we experience the exodus from this world into other kingdoms.  

The Mystical Light of the Kingdom of Heaven and Passover

Light in the Hebrew tradition represents Divine presence. The light of candles during Passover and Easter represents the Divine presence of protection during the exodus as well as the mystical light of the Divine Spirit within us. It has been said that the primary calling of Jesus was to initiate the kingdom of heaven. Jesus fully embodied the mystical light of the Divine Spirit with healing, teachings, and the Divine presence or kingdom of heaven within him. He stated that the kingdom of heaven is also within us.  

May the Christ consciousness of the mystical living light be celebrated as the kingdom of heaven within us, and may the love of the Divine Spirit be with us now during these sacred holidays and within every eternal moment.  Amen

Inspiration - The Keyword for 2017


If you think that another keyword describes what is going on with news and views out there, then you are spot on. However, what keyword is needed for 2017 to balance things out a bit?  This is an invitation to get inspired this year, even in the midst of uninspiring news.


We all need inspiration for happiness, good health, and to enjoy life. To live life without being inspired is just not as fun. Inspiration is like a waterfall. It is always flowing beautifully into the river of life below, waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

Here's ten ideas to get inspired or remain inspired for the rest of the year, if this is something that you want more of in your life.

1) Take time for your inspiration
It is important in our busy schedules to make time for inspiration. Block out an hour or two half hours and turn off the cell phone. Manage your inspiration time as well as you manage the rest of your day. You deserve it. 

2) Love
Love can be experienced in so many ways to receive as well as give inspiration. Use love with the ideas that follow, and possibly as an ongoing reminder of the joy it can bring and is bringing every day.

3) Music
Not just any music. Music that is inspiring. Music that you love. Your favorites. Google it if you want more ideas.  Some classical music can be very inspiring. Pachebel Canon in D Major, Elgar Nimrod from "Enigma Variations", Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and many others.  Using headphones could be another idea, while sitting, focusing on just the music, and letting go of all other thoughts.

3) Inspiring quotes
Your favorites, new ones, printed out to view daily, or used in your communications. Sharing inspiring quotes. Googling inspiring quotes. Checking out Goodreads as a source of hundreds of inspiring quotes on any topic. Sign on to the daily emails that send out inspiration into your inbox every day.

Brene Brown - The Power of Vulnerabilty
4) Inspiring YouTube Videos or Movies
On YouTube there are quite a large number of inspiring videos such as singing flash mobs, people overcoming challenges, or your favorite songs being performed. The most popular Ted Talks of all time has some inspirational talks such as Brene Brown's "The Power of Vulnerability".  View a Google search result for lists: "most inspirational movies"

 5) Get Out in Nature with Friends or Family
The ones who will help support your inspiration. You know who they are. Any activity together that is inspiring such as a sunset walk, a hike to a waterfall, a scenic road trip, or even a week in Cancun or Hawaii. 

6) Stunning photography and Art
A photography website such as 500px.com can be searched based on your preferences. Search for waterfalls, flowers, ocean, rivers, and other inspiring topics. Enjoy the view.

7) Books
Enjoy an inspiring story with a new novel, or great novel that you loved can be read again. Self help books are abundant and there's so many to choose from on  Goodreads, your Amazon wish list, or browsing a bookstore or library. Books can be very inspirational and take us on a journey that we have not been on before.

8) Animal companions or contact
If you own a pet, share the love in new ways that inspires both of you. If you don't visit a pet store or zoo.

9) Church, or Other Organizations and Events
Based on your preferences there are many places to get inspired. Seminars, workshops, support groups are a few ideas.

10) Meditation, prayer, spiritual inspiration
Whether it is a guided meditation on a CD, or your own meditation or prayer, inspiration came come up from the depths within your soul. Depending on your beliefs or faith, a Divine Spirit is always a source of inspiration.

Although inspiration can be important at any time, it is especially needed now, individually and collectively. The adventure of discovering new inspiration every day, and throughout the day can be a fun and rewarding experience. Inspiration is the keyword for 2017.

"The invitation of the keyword “Inspiration” is to ask how we can be uplifted, encouraged, motivated, and moved deeply in ways that allow us to be invigorated or energized to love our life and live with more passion, awareness, confidence, creativity and happiness."
 ~ David Lawrence Brown,  333 Keywords to Change Your Life 

#inspiration

Sacred Activism - Why I Stand in the "Eye of the Hurricane"


John Lennon's song Imagine is a song of sacred activism
The eye of the hurricane is that still calm center surrounded by turbulent winds. As a metaphor, it works for me as to how I show up and choose to be with news and world events.

On November 12 2016, the day after the election, I posted some modified lyrics from the song Imagine by John Lennon on Facebook. The whole country was in an intense emotional state. That intensity continues to this day. The lyrics that I posted were :

"Imagine ALL the people in our country
praying for healing our country every day
When there is a will there can be a way
It isn't hard to do or say or is it? we choose our own way
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Thank you John Lennon for the lyrics....I changed them a bit just for fun"
David Brown


In 1973 I walked into the student union of Chico State University and told the organizers who were  planning another "peace" anti-war march the next day that the march will not be effective if they are yelling negative slogans to the public and other students such as  "1-2-3-4 we don't want your f____ing war" which happened the day before.

I said that the example of Martin Luther King to march in silence would be ten times more powerful and that people would "listen to the silence" rather than being offended at being yelled at. I left the meeting after saying what I felt compelled to say. The next day there was a silent march. Hundreds participated and experienced it. It was a powerful expression of "sacred activism".

Today I stand in the eye of the "hurricane" in full awareness of the turbulent winds of opinions, news, fear, negativity and divisiveness. This is not a passive stance. I choose what organizations, events, and people that I want to support. I choose what thoughts, vibes, prayers, and feelings that I have towards the "turbulent winds" of the hurricane. These are ways in how I engage in sacred activism. The other is meditation.

Today I stand for love and respect, forgiveness and compassion, justice, happiness, health, freedom, and life for all of humanity including all world leaders.

Sacred activism for me is not being against something. It is being for something. It is unifying not divisive, loving not fearful, compassionate and not violent. I love the vibe.

Conscious spirit-led activism honors the divine spirit (or whatever name is chosen for that subtle connection)  within all humanity and all living things, including the earth which supports all living things.

I honor and have deep respect for those leaders who have demonstrated this in their own lives and changed the world including Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama,  John Lennon and Mother Teresa to name a few. I honor and respect all views including those different than mine recognizing that everyone has the right to believe, choose, and have their own opinions whether they are informed or not, or have studied all the issues or not. There is no shame or blame or judgment as this seems to perpetuate divisiveness.

I acknowledge that a spiritual revolution is going on that is affecting all areas of life in positive ways and it is not organized or controlled or led by any one movement, organization or faith or belief system. It is a global conscious awakening to new possibilities, solutions to challenges, economic sustainability, and a blessing to all people in the world, especially children.

" Imagine all the people, Living life in peace". (John Lennon, Imagine)
Peace in our lifetime is already starting to happen now. Can you imagine it? Feel it?