everyday enlightenment

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. ~Goethe

My name is Kozo Hattori, and I am enlightened.

Many of you might have felt uneasy with the previous declaration. “Who does this guy think he is?” you might have thought. Let me answer your question from the get-go. I not only think, but also know that WE are God, Universal Consciousness, Brahma, Buddha Nature, and Christ Consciousness. I’m not being sacrilegious here. I’m actually following scripture.

Every enlightened master that I have encountered claims that enlightenment is our natural state. They often have the look on their faces of someone standing in knee-deep water while another thrashes around screaming that they are drowning. If we just stand up or awaken to our present reality, then we realize that we were always safe and ok.

After the Buddha became enlightened, he spent the next 40 years traveling around Northern India instructing others how to become enlightened. One of the followers that became an arhat—a perfected person who has attained nirvana–was Angulimala. Earlier in his life Angulimala was on a quest to kill one thousand victims whose fingers he hung around his neck. 999 fingers hung around his neck on the day he met the Buddha. If Angulimala could obtain enlightenment, then why can’t we?

One of the biggest obstacles of enlightenment is our own belief that we cannot become enlightened. For some reason, enlightenment in our culture has become something that only a few select individuals can obtain, but in Buddha’s time, people were getting enlightened left and right. If you even mention that you are trying to get enlightened, people look at you with disbelief and disgust.

Let me be clear in what I mean by enlightenment. I see enlightenment as a spectrum. I’m not saying that I have escaped the cycle of birth and rebirth (samsara) like the Buddha did. I’m not an arhat. I am enlightened in this moment, right here and right now. In the past, I was not enlightened; at times I was far from enlightenment. In the future, I might become unenlightened at any moment. But right here, right now, I am enlightened.

I like to think that we are all enlightened, yet we constantly unenlighten ourselves with our thoughts, our resentments, our delusions, our aversions, and our cravings.

In one of my conversations with Adyashanti, he emphasized not only awakening, but also “tending,” “cultivating,” and “living from” that spiritual awakening in our moment to moment daily lives. If you are reading this article, then you have probably had glimpses into a higher consciousness. You might have sensed a connection with all being during meditation or felt unconditional love while holding a child or had intimations of a higher power standing next to a huge redwood. Re-minding ourselves that we are enlightened keeps us in touch with that interconnectedness, love, and divinity.

Perhaps the best way to get to the truth of this statement is to do some inquiry. Byron Katie asks, “What is the thought that kicks you out of heaven?” I value Byron Katie’s inquiry that she calls The Work. It consists of four questions that you ask in regards to thoughts you have.

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

Although The Work is meant to reveal the lack of truth in the thoughts that cause us to suffer, applying The Work to the statement “I am enlightened” reveals some valuable insight.

Is it true? Yes, it is true.

Can you absolutely know that it’s true? In my heart of hearts I know it to be true.

How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? I don’t react, actually. I act like a saint. I remain calm and try to serve others. I see everyone, everything as a part of me. When I think that I am enlightened, I act like an enlightened being. The question “what would Jesus do?” becomes a way of life.

Who would you be without the thought? I wouldn’t be as compassionate, loving, kind, or happy. I would probably do whatever I wanted regardless of how it affected others. I would try to get as much as I could while giving as little as possible. I would use as much of the world’s resources to make me happy regardless of how this affected the planet, other humans, animals, or children. I would rationalize this behavior with the defense of “I’m only human.”

Embracing our enlightenment helps us realize that we are more than human. We are both human and divine.

“We are not humans having a spiritual experience; we are spirits having a human experience.”

So yeah, I’m enlightened. Care to join me?

Raising Compassionate Boys Free Talk

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”~Dalai Lama

I’m giving a free talk on raising compassionate boys at the Cupertino Community Hall (10350 Torre Ave, Cupertino) on March 19th from 6:30-8 PM. If anyone is in the area, please feel free to drop by. If you know anyone in the area, send them an invite from the Facebook page.

young boy meditating

This talk will discuss:

  • What is compassion and why it is one of the most important attributes for boys in the 21st Century
  • What modern science is uncovering about the importance of compassion for our health, happiness, and well-being
  • How we can cultivate compassion in our children
  • What daily practices you can start today that will increase the emotional intelligence of your children

Thank you for reading, smiling, and/or sharing.

Everyday Thanksgiving: February 2014

I continue to find joy and happiness in this daily gratitude practice. This is my monthly download.

February 2014

Thank you for Jett yelling, “I wanna meditate” when I said he had to meditate if he wanted to go to the hobby store; sleeping with both boys in a twin bed on a cold night; empathy buddies; Tibetan mandalas; all the everyday gurus I’m surrounded by.

Jett MeditatingThank you for bubbles and balloons for making kids smile; no commercials on netflix; all the interesting people in the mall at 11 AM; Fox kung fuing bubbles; rain during a drought.

Thank you for Rancho San Antonio; radio controlled airplanes; hobby stores; hilly trails; all the Bloggers for Peace in year two.

Thank you for Fox knowing what nunchucks are at 3 years old; green tea with honey; the gift of challenges to help us grow; artistic friends; Dianne Gray back on WordPress.

Thank you for unleashing my hips through dance; somatic healing; self-awareness leading to self-belief; dancing to pop music and not caring how uncool that is; all the love Fox got at his 4th birthday party.

Thank you for Peter Levine; healing trauma; back to back counseling; men’s groups; hijiki cabbage wraps.

Thank you for Osho’s Mystic Rose meditation; healing deep wounds; reconnecting with my ability to cry; completing grieving; a safe space to heal.

Thank you for rain; snow in Tahoe; rain boots; recognizing my distress recording to my son’s crying; understanding the healing nature of crying.

Thank you for Adya’s study course on redemptive love; Dr. Xie’s talk on Authentic Success; Meg’s strength to push me through trauma; snakes; child-like curiosity.

Thank you for Dusty’s suggestion to write out my life story from other people’s perspective; Fox wanting to start Kung fu; doing homework in the park; a sunny day after a week of rain; seeing drama for what it is–none of my business.

Fox with bikeThank you for the Hello Kitty helmet Fox wore at the moto-x park; recognizing that everyone is my guru; Russell’s wise assessment of my life; watching my sons play baseball; free home phone service with obitalk.

Thank you for Jett riding without training wheels; our friends flexibility and forgiveness when our cabin reservations fell through; the woman who cleaned up the glass of the bottle Jett broke; Adyashanti’s Online Study Course “Redemptive Love: The Healing Power of Descending Grace”; recognizing eternity.

Thank you for seeing the connection between we are all connected and self-compassion; seeing cancer as a lack of self-love/self-compassion; recognizing my mother’s emotional detachment as a catalyst for my awakening; the difference between self-esteem and self-compassion, the 1000 hits I got on Richard Rohr’s interview.

Thank you for the Lojong saying “transform all mishaps into the Path”; Russell Bradley’s reading; finding eternity in the present moment; a loving dinner with my brother’s family; children’s love of ladybugs.

Thank you for clarity on the meaning of my life; seeing a Path devoid of win/lose, better/less, and duality; confirmation that I am on the right Path; Richard Rohr’s ripples of peace and tranquility; a heartfelt talk with a high school friend.

Thank you for sunny days in the snow; gortex; snow saucers and a steep hill; the awakening of our true selves in the presence of children; screaming, giggling bunches of friends flying down a snowy slope.

Thank you for Circus Circus; 1$ Arcade Games; Cheesy cheap stuffed animals that make kids smile; not needing to gamble anymore; king-sized hotel beds with the whole family.

Thank you for Vietnamese food in Reno; unnecessary shuttle rides that put kids in awe; warm sun with icy cold air; sleeping in until 9 AM; text messaging to coordinate rendezvous.

Thank you for catching up on Rarasaur posts; playing pickup basketball again; city planners for making parks available to all for free; my sons playing with original legos and using their imagination; Jett’s chattiness before going to sleep.

Thank you for the amazing synchronicity with the Adya study group; Shari’s hook meditation; Rick Hanson’s timely reminder of patience; Sandy telling me about Enneagram; Fox playing playdoh all by himself.

Thank you for releasing money; enjoying the ride of life through the rear view mirror; Fox’s gentle kisses; talking about awakenings with Laura; Judith Blackstone.

The Meaning of [My] Life

The Universe has been conspiring lately to help me realize what the meaning of my life is. It started a few months ago when I posted a Beautiful Blogger Quotation from Broadblogs.

Hurt people hurt peopleI followed this post with a corollary I came up with.

healed people

After starting Bloggers for Peace and counseling clients at PeaceinRelationships.com, I realized that I am a healer. The more I heal myself, the more I am able to heal others. Blogging helps me heal myself, so I can heal others. In addition, when others heal, they become healers–they stop hurting in both senses of the word. Thus, ripples of healing extend out in ways we can’t even imagine.

Then, the amazing Rarasaur commented on my post “How to Win An Argument” with some career guidance:

direction and love image

So I’ve set my direction as a healer who has healed himself with love. I believe in my heart of hearts that this is what I was put here to do.

Have you discovered what you were put here to do? How does blogging help you in your life? Please share.

“How am I gonna be an optimist about this?”

Fox wanted to play golf today, so we went to the chipping green of a local golf course. There was only one other golfer on the chipping green who seemed upset that we were disturbing his practice. He mumbled somethings under his breath when Fox screamed, “I hit it in the hole, Daddy!”

Fox Golfing

Fox minding his own business

Finally, he said in a stern voice, “Go back to China.”

Normally, this would have set me off because:

  • I’m 4th generation Japanese American, so even if I went “back to China,” I wouldn’t know anyone or how to speak the language.
  • My father died for this country on his second tour of duty in Vietnam.
  • My maternal grandfather worked his whole life for the US Postal Service in Hawaii even though he was an engineer because his supervisor threatened to have him and his family sent back to Japan if he ever left the Post Office.

But this time, I barely lifted an eyebrow. I kept focusing on Fox’s joy and happiness.

“I can’t stand these…”

I’m not sure if this comment was at our ethnicity or our age because I had stopped paying attention.

More than anything, I felt compassion for this angry individual. I thought about all the ways, he was making his life hell:

  • He was turning a beautiful day at the golf course into a battleground.
  • He had forgotten the sympathetic joy of watching young children play.
  • He hadn’t learned to appreciate the gift of cultural diversity in America–the Pho restaurants, acupuncture clinics, tai chi in the park, and cricket in the schoolyards.

I noticed two things as he huffed off the course:

  • I felt no animosity or activation in my sympathetic nervous system. My shoulders were relaxed and my mind was at peace. Even now as I write this, I am very calm and objective.
  • 4 year old Fox had no idea what had just happened. He was too concerned with chasing around the white balls that were “so awesome.” He was simply minding his own business.

I really feel that my meditation practice, Interchange Counseling, Bloggers for Peace, and authentic blogging towards self actualization are having a profound effect on my psyche and my spirit.

Later in the day, I teared up singing the chorus to Bastille’s song “Pompeii”:

But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing’s changed at all?

And if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like you’ve been here before?

How am  I gonna be an optimist about this?

Optimism in the face of certain destruction. That is the kind of redemptive love that I want to embody. I want to take all the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” so that no one else has to suffer. I want to embrace the racist, sexist bigots and tell them that they are loved.

Call me a dreamer, but I know I’m not the only one.

Thank you for reading, smiling, and sharing.

Do you still tear up singing pop songs? Which ones? Please share.