Inspiration from the Andromeda Galaxy

When I saw a stunning photo of the Andromeda galaxy this morning I could not help but reflect again on the amazing mysteries of the universe and outer space. Just one galaxy alone - The Andromeda Galaxy - is enough to reflect on this morning during coffee !

As a reminder, one light year is the time that it takes light traveling 386,000 miles per second  to travel in one year. (670,616,629 mph, 8760 hrs in a year )

The Andromeda galaxy is 2.5 million light years from Earth. It has an estimated trillion stars, more than twice the amount in the Milky Way.

And it is only one of over 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe.

If this is just a bit of inspiration even more is the mystery of the infinite and eternal One beyond all description, titles, names, and definitions. In a creation that never ceases to amaze, it is a nice perspective to start the day with over coffee and a bit of humble gratitude.

Facebook reference and photo credits

Credit: @meadeinstruments

The Book That Changed My Life

Life changing events and moments may not happen very often. When they do, it can be an experience that affects the rest of your life.

One of these moments happened to me when I was eighteen. I have been forever grateful for this book being the spark, the inspiration, and the breath of Spirit that moved me to start a spiritual journey in life.

It was the middle of the night, and I was visiting a friend. We were talking into the late hours and when I left she gave me a book titled Autobiography of a Yogi.

There was a photo of an Indian guru named Paramahansa Yogananda. Something about his eyes in the photo was unusual, as if the photo captured the energy and love that was emanating from them.

Yogananda was the first yoga master of India whose mission brought him to live and teach in the West. His firsthand account of his life experiences in India includes childhood revelations, stories of his visits to saints and masters in India, and long-secret teachings of yoga and Self-realization that he first made available to the Western reader.

As I read the book I was amazed at the uniqueness of his story, as well as the Sanskrit words and names that were in the book. If there is such a thing as past lives, I know I must have been in India for at least one, maybe many more. The stories, Sanskrit, and descriptions seemed unusually familiar.

His story was fascinating. A spiritual seeker and journey that included meeting wise gurus and learning sacred knowledge, and experiencing ecstatic moments in and out of meditation.

I learned recently that Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computer, also read this book when he was seventeen, then traveled to India two years later to try to meet Yogananda, who had died a few months before. He stayed there and read the book again three times. The book was so influential and inspiring that he ended up reading it once a year for the rest of his life.

I also read Job’s authorized biography by Walter Jacobson, and the book is mentioned there. Jobs died on October 5 2011. His memorial service was held on October 16th and was attended by hundreds including famous friends such as Bill Gates. At the end of the service, everyone was given a brown box. In the box was a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi. It was Steve Jobs last gift. Check out the YouTube video “Steve Jobs Last Gift”.

It was also an amazing gift in my life, and I have read it several times over the years. It changed my life and set me on a path and spiritual journey for the rest of my life that continues today. Yogananda’s photo has always been in my home. Even now as I write this blog his photo is right next to my laptop.

Normally a life changing event does not happen from just from reading a book. Indeed, it was not just a book that I read. It was the thoughts and energy and spiritual inspiration in between the lines and within the stories told. It was the intense devotion and love of the Divine of Yogananda that so deeply affected me. I felt that my spiritual awareness was actually opened up, as if my consciousness had crossed a new threshold of expanded knowledge and wisdom. For some reason I was inspired to go into the local foothills and fast on oranges, almonds and water for three days. I maintained silence and did a lot of meditation. When I came out of the foothills I was changed. It was the beginning of a lifelong spiritual journey.I never became active in the SRF movement, or in studying his meditation techniques beyond the initial lessons I received by mail. I visited the original world headquarters on Mt Washington near Pasadena where I lived at the time.

To this day I can glance at those amazing eyes at any time and be reminded of a lifelong spiritual journey that was originally inspired by his book. His photo seems to radiate the spark of the Divine and I feel deep gratitude for his book being such an inspiration and for the life changing experience that I had as a result of reading it.  Namaste.

Stream of Consciousness and Dancing in Love

“Dance when you’re broken open. Dance if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.” ~ Rumi
Where is the time for those special moments of transcendence, deep joy, meditation, prayer, and reflection? Why are special things like reading a book hard to fit into our schedule? A stream of consciousness, of thoughts, words, feelings, and reflections...

It's like we need to to fit it in as we are so used to multi-tasking, ear buds, looking at cell phones, browsing, texting, interruptions, watching TV or YouTube, avoiding Facebook spam, and so many thoughts are streaming through our heads like a torrent of cascading feeder creeks into a waterfall of distorted moments of what we think is reality, felt in our minds, seeping into our bones, bleeding from our hearts that may have been shut down momentarily just to survive the challenge of daily life and yet behind all of this, or in between, or in full conscious mindfulness we see the realities of our culture, our programming, our social media jargon, our ways of communicating, the same old same old stories but what about our real story, the life that we have lived, the story that we thought defined and created us as someone else's story so that now we are living it, carrying our past with us, maybe like baggage or maybe like a freight train full of unnecessary memories, experiences, resentments, that we have not let go of....yet....and then we consciously recreate our story, we process, we meditate, we let go, attend a workshop, get therapy, see a guru or a therapist, exercise, talk it out in meetings or to Divine Spirit, or to ourselves in the middle of the night, or in Nature, at least on the surface like an iceberg that may melt at any moment and then reveal the depths of its underside holding us afloat in the deep waters of our soul, which is beyond time and yet contained within it and we stand in the moments of eternity when we start to see clearly as if everything is transparent, reality behind the illusions, and then joy and bliss of the Divine Spirit within revealing to us in or out of meditation the subtle, sublime, sensual, and beautiful moments that we cherish no matter what happens now and forever and our hearts are opened even wider and then we are dancing in love with the Divine Spirit every day.
- David Lawrence Brown

The September Secret Revisited

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” 
― Roald Dahl 

August 26 2019

If there was one secret that was revealed to you in September that had the effect of changing your life, or transforming the way that you viewed the world and universe, or inspired you beyond your comfort zone, would you be willing to receive it ?

We can easily get into patterns of thought, behavior, routines, habits, and even the seeking of new ideas in a way that the seeking becomes just as or more important than the idea or information itself. And it's all good. 

Sometimes we may feel as if we are in a box, even if we try to "think outside of the box". Sometimes we may feel that there is no box at all. 

Yet deep inside us we also know that there are many mysteries yet to be revealed. These may be hidden secret treasures. Secrets that are only revealed at a special time or place.

September is just around the corner. We don't know what may happen in our life unexpectedly during this coming month.

Is there a possibility that in September 2019 a secret will be revealed to you?
updated notes:
Dear Reader, thank you for reading this blog.
When I published this original blog post a year ago in August, little did I know that I would meet my future wife in September. Maybe subconsciously I knew that something big was about to happen. Consciously I had no idea. Yet, I incline to be open to all possibilities, and that's a good thing, as we fell in love and were married two months ago in June. Life can have its unexpected surprises. My hope for you is to have at least one, however big or small, in September. Carpe diem. Seize the day.
In deep gratitude,
David Brown   

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"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine." - Ludwig van Beethoven

The Happiest Song on the Planet

You may have already seen this video. It has had over 500 million views. It is worth watching again just for the variety of people that are dancing and being happy with the music.

This is inspiring. I could not stop watching until the end. The words rang a bell, or more like a Tibetan gong. The vibes are still with me as I write this on a Thursday afternoon at 4:09 pm.

Watching this allows time to stop. Time from your busy routine. Time from your focusing on challenges or problems. It allows time for celebration, movement in dance, and all around good vibes.

We need more songs like this.

Do Baby Boomers Need Inspiration?

"Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear. Everything exists, everything is true, and the earth is only a little dust under our feet."
- W.B. Yeats 

When I was a teenager I used to enjoy playing rock and roll on my guitar, and the amplifier assured that the neighbors would also enjoy the playing. In my later teens I also discovered Mozart, and my sister and I have a vivid memory of her running out of my parents house screaming "I've got to get out of this Mozart prison" ! I think the volume was cranked up. I was inspired then.

I am still inspired now as a baby boomer, in so many different ways.There are so many stories of near death and mystical experiences, transformations, breakthroughs, life-changing events, and inspiration out there already. There are also major challenges, a changing world, a civil war in politics, health issues, loss of loved ones, and the process of aging. An important question to ask now to our generation of almost 70 million is the following:

Do Baby Boomers Need Inspiration?

That "Mozart prison" happened fifty years ago, and yet the memory remains. As baby boomers,  (those born between 1946 and 1964),  we have "been there and done that". We are survivors and have had a wide range of experiences in life. We are the elders of all living generations after us. We provide wisdom to the younger generations of people in general and to our families. We are an active, high energy generation, and retirement to us is not watching TV all day and letting life just slip by.

We start to have those reflections on our life; memories, challenges past and current, family, retirement planning issues, and may not always enjoy a full night's sleep. Our bodies are changing, and we may have health issues. We may be happy and accept life as it is,and may feel that we do not need much more. We may also have an active life of more depth, more experiences, and more fun. Then challenges happen to us or to our families or friends. How do we choose to respond to these? We probably do the best we can for any given situation. 

Yet do we need inspiration in our lives?

How can we be inspired when we may be dealing with major health issues, issues of family, finances, politics, lifestyle, challenges of retiring, new spiritual questions about life and seeing family, friends, and others passing on? It might not be easy for some, yet maybe it is is worth taking on as a warrior if you are up to the challenge. Then again, you may already have all the inspiration that you want or need in your life. 

Have We Been Asleep for Twenty Years? It's Time to Wake Up !

At age sixty I had an epiphany that I have been sleeping for twenty years in my life, on average 8 hours per day or one third of my life. Twenty years ! Like Rip Van Winkle. That allowed me to realize that I wanted to live life even more deeply, with inspiration being one of my favorite keywords for doing so.  "Carpe Diem" became one of my favorite affirmations. Seize the day, in Latin, as used by Robin Williams in the movie Dead Poets Society, is one of my favorites. Even though I still need sleep, I try to be inspired and seize as many moments of life as I can in any given day, or night.

The Ten Benefits of Seeking and Enjoying Daily Inspiration

1) It keeps life interesting and worth living

We know that we have only so many more years available and there is no guarantee of how many. By staying inspired as much as possible life can be more interesting. How we get inspired is our own choice and preference. There are so many reasons out there. If we choose to focus on other things that are not inspiring, that is our choice also.

2) We may be able to inspire others.
By being inspired ourselves then we may be able to inspire others, no matter what age. This can take many forms but may include phone calls (yes, actual voice calls), text messages, social media posts, writing, singing, dancing, and a number of various creative expressions or all of the above. In addition to other content, Facebook timelines may have inspiring quotes, photos, and stories. By helping others to be inspired, we spread the joy and love of life, and balance out the other content that is negative.

3) It is healthy to have a positive attitude and inspiration
Living our life in good health as long as possible seems to be a goal of many baby boomers. Even if there is a health challenge, many stories have shown that the attitude about life can affect the state of health, recovery, acceptance or remission. The relationship of mind-body-spirit has become more widely accepted and various techniques have also become more popular such as meditation and yoga. Being inspired as often as possible, even as a daily lifestyle preference, helps keep us healthy in different ways, including those unseen hidden benefits similar to the quantum physics of everything being energy. The idea of a quantum physics of inspiration is inspiring in itself when we acknowledge that life has a lot more depth than we can see. 

4) It Enhances our Faith, Religion, or Spiritual Growth
If we have any type pf faith, or religion, or spiritual growth perspective in life, these can benefit as well as help to provide inspiration.The popularity of the self help industry is a sign that so many people are seeking more inspiration and ways to enhance their life.

5) Water and Music Can Provide Benefits from Inspiration
There is something about water that relates to inspiration. Whether it is the research about patterns in water being more harmonious with classical music, or the geometric beauty of a snowflake, or the peaceful presence of a waterfall, or bubbling creek, or ocean waves, water and certain music can be both a source as well as a benefit of inspiration. Just spending a few minutes or more every day in a "visual and musical meditation" of viewing beautiful photos of oceans, waterfalls, rivers, bubbling creeks, lakes, snowflakes, or snow-capped mountains with beautiful background music can be inspiring. Experiencing these in our travels can be very inspirational. Nature has plenty of colorful and engaging content to keep us inspired.

6) The Eye of the Hurricane - Staying Inspired in the Midst of Chaos 
With so much negativity out there in the news and various world events staying inspired can be a challenge. One metaphor is to be "in the eye of the hurricane", or try to maintain a peaceful center within even as turbulent winds stream around you in your life or in the news. By staying inspired, it helps us to hold that attitude within and around us as our main focus. Of course it usually cannot be held every minute, and we know when we are tossed into the emotional winds of life. Yet we can always come back into the eye of the hurricane, and know that this is a source and benefit of inspiration.

7) The Love Vibes of ex-Hippie Baby Boomers
If that subtitle got your attention there is some truth to the fact that love can be the most powerful vibe out there. Love of oneself, and others, and life in general can help us to stay inspired. We didn't need to be a hippie back in the day to carry a strong love vibe. Just listen to some of the inspiring lyrics of the songwriters back in the day. "Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice but to carry on. Love is coming, love is coming to us all." Love and inspiration have already arrived, and even more is coming, if we choose to create this in our life to whatever extent is possible.
 8) Inspiration can Help with Forgiveness and Forgiveness Can Create More Inspiration
In a zen type of story that I heard years ago and have repeated to others, two priests are walking across a desert and come to a river. There is a woman there with a heavy load and the younger priest offers to carry the load across the river. Then he also offered and carried the woman across as the waters were turbulent and he was concerned for her safety. Three days later the older priest could not contain himself any longer and said to the younger priest, "you know that it is against our rules to think of a woman, and you carried her across the river!". The younger priest replied, "Yes, and I set her down three days ago. Are you still carrying her?" When we let go of things that we may have been holding inside for years it frees up that energy for more inspiration. As baby boomers we have a lot of years in which there may be a few things to let go of. Things such as resentments, memories of what other people said or did to us, and the negative experiences that we have had in our life can be released with total forgiveness. It may take some strong inspiration to open up to this, and have the courage to let go. Or we can choose to be like the older priest, and continue to carry something that we know is not needed in our life, for the rest of our life.

9)  We Deserve It
After living our life for so many years working and raising families, and experiencing the challenges of life that always seems to happen, as well as the various joys and unforgettable experiences that we will never forget, we deserve to have inspiration now and for the rest of our lives, and to have more unforgettable experiences, and to age gracefully even in these times of chaos, negative news, and change. We deserve to have the wisdom to accept the process of aging, live our life without fear, and to have the inspiration to love life no matter what challenges happen. It is sometimes easier said than done. Yet with more inspiration, maybe it will be easier to do.

10) The Inspiring Secret of Life After Death
Whether we are religious, or on a spiritual path without religion, or embrace or are skeptical about the mysteries of life after death, if we open up to all possibilities of new adventures, new amazing experiences of love, consciousness, Divine Spirit, angels, seeing those who have already passed over, and revelations of sacred mysteries, then that can be enough to keep us inspired for the rest of our life, regardless of what happens in the meantime.

Do baby boomers need inspiration? Yes, and everyone else also. Carpe Diem.

Latest Google News links about baby boomers >
Baby Boomers

Is There a Reality Check That Keeps Bouncing ?

What is a "Reality Check"?

A reality check can manifest in different ways, but it is mainly through information or an experience that we receive and process that opens our eyes to see something that we didn't see before, that may shock us to realize something as a new truth, or that may cause us to pause, reflect, and feel like we have been jolted into waking up to a new level of what is real in our life, or other's lives, or the world..
  What does "bouncing" mean with reality checks? Could the bounce be a new reality check that shows us that the first one was not real? Or could the bounce be when we choose not to accept a reality check?

Some Examples of Challenging Reality Checks:

Reality checks can be challenging and not fun. How we respond to them offers us choices.A husband finds out that his pregnant wife is carrying someone else's child. A family member finally acknowledges mental illness of another family member. A prisoner is found not guilty after DNA tests reveal a different truth after he has already served years in prison for a crime he did not commit. A political reality, held by millions, is found to be false. Alien life makes its appearance known to the world. Losing a loved one who passes on. Turning sixty years old and realizing that we have been sleeping one third of our lives...about twenty years. Having a diagnosis of a serious illness. And of course many more not listed here.  

Some Examples of Positive Reality Checks:
 Reality checks do not always need to be challenging. They can be empowering and positive. Some examples are: Giving or experiencing birth. Becoming a father or mother. A spiritual insight into a limited belief or attitude or emotion. A mystical experience that offers a different and profound experience of reality. The moment that causes a break in an addiction or bad habit. Getting married, falling in love, creating a new idea or work of art, finding a lost relative, experiencing a different culture, receiving an unexpected gift, receiving wisdom or knowledge from a best friend. In deep meditation, an insight  that changes our life forever. An "aha" experience of a new realization. And of course many more not listed here.  

Can a "Reality Check" Bounce?

Is it possible to be in denial about reality checks? Can they "bounce"? Even though we are shown something or have some new insight we can choose to not see it and not accept it. And life goes on and we may get another reality check opportunity to see if we can accept it and prevent it from bouncing again.

A Divine Spirit Reality Check? 
Is there an ongoing reality check that there is a Divine Spirit that is transcendent of all things, that is an infinite intelligence, and that is one with us? The reality check here is to acknowledge if this is a reality for us, or a limited belief, or if we choose to let this idea bounce, in any given moment, for whatever reasons. Reality checks can happen in any given moment, in addition to being a sporadic surprise wake up call.

Being Open to "Reality Checks"

In today's fast changing world, we need to be open to reality checks, and if we are choosing to let them bounce. Sometimes living in the question can help, so we do not get stuck in limited beliefs, or ways of thinking that would prevent an open minded approach to letting reality checks happen.

Then inspiration can happen from accepting a reality check and overcoming any fear of change or a new reality, or a freeing up of a blocked emotion, or limited belief. We can celebrate life, have gratitude for the new insight or wisdom, and live with more freedom.

Otherwise we may only be willing to accept a reality check that keeps bouncing. Are we choosing to "let it bounce"? We can try to blame something externally, yet we may have a reality check about that also.  

Baby Boomers and Reality Checks

For baby boomers, we have had years of life experience, and have the wisdom of having lived those years, with the challenges and joys, the sweet and the bittersweet, the gains and the losses. Along the way on this journey we have had many reality checks, and may think that okay, "we have been there done that", and then another reality check hits us, and then another. Just when we think we have reached a point of "retirement" and an easier life, we have had elder parents issues, family issues, financial concerns, health issues, loss of friends or family members, the negative news and media interpretations of "reality", and the reality checks just keep coming. And maybe some keep "bouncing".

Yet we can also be celebrating life, as an adventure, a spiritual journey, with the joys of family, grandchildren, books and novels, movies and plays, art, yoga, music, or whatever enriches our lives. Whatever reality we have created, there are many areas of our life that do not need reality checks. 

The Baby Boomer Aha Moment, Serendipity, Insights, and Wisdom of Life
What happens when we do what we can to enjoy life and then a reality check happens and we did not see it coming?  What happens when we have a set view of life and the world and then it changes with new insights, an epiphany, an "aha" moment, or a breakthrough in awareness? As baby boomers are now the elders in the world. We are the carriers of traditions and wisdom, and carry the full responsibility for what we have created in our life individually and in the world. We have inherited a legacy from the prior elder generation. What legacy will we leave to the next one? On a positive note, our legacy is already being celebrated with "our music" from the sixties and seventies being popular with the younger generation. In the lyrics of many of those songs, they see our idealism, our hopes, our seeking of liberation, freedom, love, peace, and  hope for a better future. Our legacy is also seen in art, in technology advances, the educational opportunities, and the intense divisiveness of politics. Baby boomers still have reality checks. We don't have all the answers even though some may think that we do. We are still learning, as life is an ongoing learning process. As the new generation of elders, what we have to offer is the longevity of life experience, and a lifetime of reality checks and how we have dealt with them and are responding to them now.

The Reality Check of Aging and How We Choose to Live Our Life

It sort of creeps up on you. Like, "hey I'm in my sixties", and "sixty is the new forty", and my fifties are just behind me. Then the reality check hits that, wow, I'm in my sixties, but late sixties, and in thirteen years I will be eighty. This reality check does not bounce. It is deposited and cleared. In this last stretch of twenty years or more, or whatever our time is, what reality checks can we leave as a legacy for the younger generations? What can we do to share the wisdom of reality checks and to avoid or be aware of the ones that keep bouncing? How can we manage our own reality check of aging? How do we choose to live our life?

The Reality Check of Death and Dying

 When we experience the death of a loved one or friend it is one of the most devastating and powerful reality checks. Thunder just struck as I wrote that sentence. How synchronous! And the experience of grief can also be like thunder; a loud bombardment of emotional pain, felt in the throat, the heart, the body and the mind. Memories of loved ones that have past, good times, healing times, challenging times come back to visit our stream of thoughts during the day, or in the middle of the night. Then the news on Facebook of another high school friend or friend of a friend shows up, and we have another reality check. We lose a good friend or family member. The reality check of death and dying is not fun, and sometimes it is hard to accept it as a part of life. Yet that is the reality check that we can accept or reject, and embrace or resist. In any given moment we may experience both. Being open to all forms of grieving allows us to do this.

Reality Checks as a Blessing

Are the following some of the realities of life that will not bounce? Maybe Love, inspiration, gratitude, giving, forgiveness, ongoing learning and curiosity, increasing spiritual awareness, and cultivating a peace within? We choose what we want to experience in life, and then life happens beyond what we choose. Then we choose how to respond to that.When we choose love, inspiration, gratitude, giving, forgiveness, and anything else that enhances our experience of life and what we can also give to others, then we can celebrate life daily, be open to all possibilities of new experiences of "reality", and learn from any reality checks that "bounce", accepting them as a blessing fully seen, or a blessing in disguise.

Then we can avoid a reality check that keeps bouncing.

Carpe diem. Namaste.