My involvement with Mankind Project (MKP): 21 months later

Back in February of 2013 I wrote about my experience with the New Warrior Training Adventure:  http://triptopine.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/mankind-project-new-warrior-training-adventure-2/

How’s my life now? I’m glad you asked! Life for me has gotten better and better each day; not so much because I’m not dealing with struggle (wife’s cancer diagnosis 11 months ago, chemo for 6 months, doing well now); but rather, because now I am part of a larger community… not just a ‘lone wolf’ out there surviving a ‘cruel world’. (That’s how I used to see things.)

Since I wrote that initial MKP article, I have quit a job that had become a bad fit; spent a year doing part-time work and learning more about who I am; and then found my dream job. I’ve been there a little over a year now.

In addition, I’ve done something I would NEVER have done before MKP: I’ve begun volunteering, in a leadership capacity, for a local conference for preparing 8th grade boys for high school (character development… what does it mean to be a man…). In the past, I have avoided opportunities like this, because I believed that being a leader meant 1) having all of the answers; 2) telling people what to do; and 3) giving up all of one’s time. I thought it would lead to misery, because that’s what I saw all around me.

But the fact is, I feel more alive and energized than ever. I don’t need to have all the answers; I invite brilliant people onto our team. I don’t tell people what to do; I ask questions and offer invitations. 3) I don’t give up all my time; I invest in building relationships with people I admire and respect. It feels amazing.

Sitting in my weekly MKP circle has helped me to build strong relationships with other men in my community, and around the country. Before, I felt isolated, like no one could POSSIBLY understand my pain or sadness. Now I can pick up the phone and easily call 100 men and ask for what I need (knowing I might not get it). And there are MKP men I haven’t even MET yet whom I trust with my truth and my heart. I know they will be real with me, and I can be real with them.

This is the hero’s journey. This is YOUR hero’s journey. You are the hero of your own life. For thousands of years, men like you and me have heard the call of the hero’s journey, and for a time, we resist. That’s what EVERY hero does, initially. I can tell you I was invited to do the NWTA for 3 1/2 years before I decided I was ready to answer the call. And what IS the New Warrior Training Adventure? Simply put, it’s an initiation into the mature masculine.

A few times, I came close to losing out on life. Now I’m so much happier, even when it feels like things are not going my way.

For more information, contact me directly: timbirchard@gmail.com

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Releasing attachment to outcome

(Guidance regarding my recent struggles with someone I used to feel closer to.)

He cannot help but misperceive, out of hatred for himself and lack of ability to recognize his own brilliance– his own expression of my perfection. So everything he perceives reinforces his beliefs about himself, as incorrect as they may be.

Your gentleness will help him.

But release attachment to outcome. Know yourself that all comes to completion satisfactorily; ultimately, there is no “losing” that is possible. Your frustration is a reflection / indication of your lack of faith in me– misplaced faith in the ego. It’s part of your journey.

But you can choose to return home at any moment. “Open, says me!” and the door to the heart is thrown wide open.

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Intuition and intellect

Judgment is the enemy of connection. It starts with self and then projects out onto others, preventing deep, rich human connection that is so often deflected because of your judgments. Why is that?

We see the tactics of the small mind. We see the small mind does not want to run around unguarded. To have deep human connection is to allow oneself to be unguarded by having a completely open heart. To this the small mind must respond often with resistance by creating things that are untrue or unproven in order to place a deflector shield in front of the body… or around the body.

The deflector shield of judgment evokes responses of fear, anger, envy… all of which the scmall  mind uses as disconnects. The small mind says, “Don’t get too close; you’ll be hurt,” while the Divine Soul within you says, “Get close — you’ll be HEART.”

The thing about being in the heart is it requires that the small mind be alert, yet quiet. Here is the key to open heart and open mind: your small mind needs reassurance of safety and when the heart engages in deep connection the small mind becomes disconnected. You must be diligent in practicing integration of all parts of your being, including the small mind. This is the practice of Awareness and the practice of opening the heart at the same time. It is the practice of Wholeness. You could cut off a part of your body to be disconnected from it and that would be ridiculous… just as ridiculous as the small mind’s panic when the heart is doing its thing or the heart “aches” when the small mind engages in its scare tactics.

So the heart must invite the mind i9nto itself, and the mind must invite the heart into itself. It’s as if saying to the parts of yourself, “You are welcome here.” The din of the small mind is quieted by the sense of welcome and no longer needs to jump up and down while screaming, “Here I am! Here I am! Remember me? Ok– let me make my presence known until you pay attention to me!” BAM! There are your judgments, fears, and small mind tactics for attention.

We are not saying there is not a time and a place to pay attention tot eh small mind, for it can keep you safe through its wanderings. We want to remind you that your intuition is just as effective, if not more effective, at serving you as a divine guardian. It works quite well in tandem with an open heart to move you from one point to another without involving the scare tactics of the small mind. Intellect and intuition are two different things that serve different purposes. Intellect analyzes everything, while intuition simply guides you to the place where you need to be, without the need for reasoning. Pay attention to this and begin to practice listening for the difference between these two. See where your heart is in this process of exploration and allow it to open or engage and watch what happens. Don’t judge anything you see in this practice. Simply welcome the small mind and say, “I am listening.” Say this with a gentle smile to keep the heart open and reassure the small mind that all is well.

We also must remind you that self-judgment does not perpetuate an open heart, and that self-judgment spills out into your world through the process of judging others. We want you to pay attention to what you think and judge upon yourself, for that is what you invite into your connection with others. Your heart welcomes the presence of Love, while your judgments only create separation. you can quiet the judgments of the small mind through the love from your open heart. This is what we call you to do.

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The big mistake

“I’m not lovable.” (Also known as, “I’m not good enough.”)

Distill any unhappiness down to its essence, and you will find some variation on this belief. Common stories go something like this: “Someone inflicted trauma, therefore I am unlovable, or not good enough.”

It is understandable how you could draw these conclusions, erroneous though they may be. However, these beliefs (lies) can only be held as long as one perceives through the lens of dualistic (small mind) thinking.

“I’m not lovable” — holding this belief requires the perception that there are two distinct entities, subject and object, and that the subject (the giver of love) refuses to give love to the object (the starving, would-be recipient of love) because the object is not worthy of receiving love.

This is the big mistake.

The truth is not the opposite– “I am lovable” — the truth is “I am LOVE.” How can one not be lovable when one IS the act of LOVE?

“I’m not good enough.” The opposite is not “I am good enough”… the truth is, “I am GOODNESS.”

These misperceptions become habitual thought patterns when you continue to look outside of yourself for validation from external sources; sensory experiences such as relationships, food, clothing, movies, travel… the list goes on.

Your journey of remembering that you are the Source of Love involves healing this misperception.

Instead of looking outward for validation, turn inward. Look to your own heart. That is where you will find the truth that has always been with you: You ARE love. You ARE goodness. You ARE compassion. You ARE hope. You ARE divine wisdom. No matter what behaviors you have or have not exhibited on this plane of existence, your divine nature is unshakable. Unquestionable. Bullet-proof.

Go inward. Turn away from all that you see, hear, touch, taste, smell, and think about. This is known as releasing attachment. It’s perfectly fine to engage in daily life– just do so recognizing that all sensory experience is to be set gently aside… they are not what is important– they are not what matters– they are not what is real. Only the internal world of the heart is real.

Look inward and remember.

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Supreme confidence. Supreme humility.

This is how we best bring our gifts to service in the world.

The voices that would have you believe you are not good enough, not smart enough, not prepared enough, not articulate enough… are actually one in the same voice– the voice of ego. The small mind.

Much has been written about the empty nature of the ego; its basis on memory. Nothing more than a list of preferences FOR and AGAINST. Put another way, a list of desires and fears. Both desire (attraction toward something) and fear (repulsion from something) are nothing more than attachment. They are two sides of the same ‘coin’. The ‘coin’ of attachment.

When you turn your attention away from the intellect, from the small mind, and toward the heart, you take the wind out of the ego’s sails.

The doubting, nagging nature of the ego, like a chameleon, changes voice, color, and tone to suit its own needs; to protect its own “survival.” Of course, in Reality, there IS no ego; not really. There is only LOVE. There is only The One. The ego is simply the name we give to a collection of thought patterns when we choose to close our eyes and turn away from our True Source.

Like a child who covers his eyes and believes the world has disappeared because he can no longer see it, we generate thoughts of abandonment, fear, pain, suffering, and tragedy. We seek solace outside of ourselves; through shopping, sex, alcohol, drugs, exercise, travel, eating… the list goes on. We imagine that the intellect and the physical body define our Being, then we spend our lives trying to protect them, believing we are keeping our “identity” alive.

And all the while, the energies of every ascended master, every guide and guardian, live within our hearts. The entire universe is located within our hearts.

When we turn our attention inward, to the heart, we open the door to these energies and sources of wisdom, which are there at all times. (Being timeless, they are ever present; time is simply a construct that we perceive and assume to be true.) If the Divine Source of Love resides within every single one of us, how can any of us ever be abandoned? How can any of us ever fail? How can any of us ever feel unloved?

Only by defining ourselves by our physical bodies and intellects (preferred thought patterns).

Supreme Confidence

Bring forth your brilliance and light with supreme confidence. This is not ‘cockiness’. This is not ego. This is simply allowing your true light to shine. Are you good at fixing cars? Fix them with passion. Are you good at teaching things to others? Give that gift away freely, as often as possible. Do you have a green thumb… love to garden? Pour your heart into it. There is no gift that is mundane or small or unimportant. Every time you step into what you love, you express the brilliance of the Source of Love.

Supreme Humility

Understanding that this brilliance shines not from the ego, but from the Source of Love, there is no need to be afraid of shining. Yes, thoughts of doubt may arise. (“Who am I to act like a writer, or a painter, a gardener, a mathematician, an inventor, a mother?”) Yes, thoughts of fear may arise. (“They will think I’m egotistical. They won’t love me. I will be alone.”) Again, these thoughts do not arise from the heart; from the Source of Love. Therefore, they are unreal. They are grounded in fantasy.

Recognizing that this brilliance flows through us from the Source of Love, we understand that we are channels for the expression of light and love. The brighter we shine, the deeper our simultaneous sense of joy and humility. We are expressions of the Source of Love.

As has been said by other masters, what is real is timeless and formless. The flipside of this is that anything that can be perceived through the senses is unreal. Anything that has a beginning, middle, and end is unreal. It is hollow, like a toilet paper roll. Our physical bodies are perfect examples. They have a lifespan; a beginning, middle, and end. They are bound by the transitory nature of ‘existence’ on this plane.

When we mistakenly identify with our physical bodies, our environmental surroundings, the material goods we claim to ‘own’, we pretend to experience birth, life, and death. By shifting our identification to the Real (that which cannot be seen, heard, touched, tasted, smelled, or imagined), we correctly perceive experience on this plane as expression of the Divine in all its forms… The Source of Love wearing 7 billion different masks at a costume party.

We go to war. We experience intense pain, suffering, tragedy. We experience hatred, fear, and endless selfishness and greed. We witness selfless acts of courage, kindness, compassion, and fearlessness. All of this, without exception, brings us back to the True Source of Love. As has been said by the masters, “Evil is Ego in the act of Miscreation.”

All souls are expressions of the One. All souls are timeless. Bulletproof. All roads lead to The One.

You simply cannot fail. You are love. So shine. As brightly as you know how. And encourage others to do the same. This is your natural state.

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Heart-Full-ness

So perhaps now is the time to manifest a new way of being in the world. A world that has no attachments to the past or the future. A place where not a smidgen of question about these things amounts to anything.

This is what we say to you. If doubt is what you choose, so you have chosen. If anger is what you choose, so you have chosen. Is this what you want? Where is your mindfulness?

Let us get to the heart of the matter. Where is your heart-full-ness? The heart of the matter — the meat. The heart does not know past and present. It simply is. The mind will play with the heart, but the heart does not change based on the mind’s experience. It stays unhurt.

Anahata. Blameless.

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Drive the bus to excellence

Dawn dawns, and all things go on, as usual. This is the way of things. It is not meant to be ugly, or controlling. It just is. If, when we walk down the street, there is nothing to think about, then is the street still a street? It is not thought of; it just is. A street. A journey path. An awakening to a newness that only comes without thought. Clouds roll. Wind blows. And in your experience, you want for other things… for the wind not to blow, or for the clouds not to block the sun. There is no sense in these thoughts of other things, for they only cause pain. Lack. Nothing of any use can come from them. How else does one think of ways of being in the world without useless thoughts? By hope of better things?

No. It is by belief.

By trust. Exuberant trust. Trust beyond all things possible and into the next millennium. Trust lays a bed out that is soft and welcoming and warm. It is the fear of lack of safety that is the enemy of trust. And trust is the stronger of the two. For it opens up the life experience to limitless… Absolutely limitless possibilities. With trust, all things become possible. Trust will drive the bus to excellence. The bus that does not know where it is going, and knows that it will eventually arrive somewhere. It trusts so much that it does not matter. There is no anxiety. No fear. No lack. Only openness to each and every moment.

“Oh. Here we are. Look at the view! See the present! Eat some delicious food. And rest and see what comes next.”

Trusting that there is only safety and security and compassion and presence. You say this trust is too difficult to find. We say it is not to be found, for it was never lost. Where is the deepest root of trust? It must be within, for it cannot come from without.

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