Unsubscribe and Live Peacefully

Photograph © 2019 Peggy Kornegger
“Subscription” once referred mainly to printed magazines and newspapers (“Your subscription is about to expire—please renew”). Now it’s the backbone of online communication. If you ask a question or sign a petition online, you automatically get subscribed to a barrage of ongoing emails. Subscription has become a cyber activity, distanced from anything real or living. We don’t subscribe to, or unsubscribe from, life. It’s just there, always supporting us. We can, however, lose touch with the essential simplicity of life. We can get entrapped in excess minutia—like too many emails.

A few weeks ago, I reached critical overload with the number of non-personal emails flooding my inbox. Political and environmental groups, spiritual programs and teachers, doctors and alternative healthcare practitioners, bookstores and theaters, online businesses. What a waste of time just to delete them multiple times a day! I went through and unsubscribed from virtually everything except a few key ones. At the same time, I decided to cut back on social media, visiting only occasionally. It was a relief. I felt as if I had lifted the heavy weight of contemporary social busyness and distractions off my shoulders. At least one day a week now I don’t even turn on my computer or phone. Wow, what freedom!

In unsubscribing there was also surrender, letting go into the natural flow of daily life, unmanipulated by technology. I was once again the 9-year-old girl who spent summers running through the fields with my dog or sitting up in a tree reading mysteries. Life was rich, full, perfect. It was a simpler time then, both in my life and on the planet. Now we have to filter out unnecessary complexities in order to live a simple life, one dedicated to what’s really important: connection to the spirit within us and all around us.

Spirit has become the focus of my life in recent years. The idea of unsubscribing as surrender somehow fits with that. As my soul’s wisdom moves to the forefront of my consciousness, I make choices that are more in alignment with a loving beingness in the world. Heart more than head. Social media engages the mind for the most part. What we want is to engage the heart, with the mind giving quiet feedback but not dominating. This is the way to balance, to harmony. The heart is directly connected to our soul’s purpose, and when we live a simple heart-centered life, we are living the “why” of our presence on this planet, in this lifetime.

If I remember each day to choose love and appreciation over distraction and dissatisfaction, then I am connected to the natural flow of spirit everywhere in the universe. Even disliking social media or emails can take you to a place of judgment and negativity. The key is to calmly “unsubscribe” from anything that is not positive and uplifting, anything that locks you into busyness instead of beingness. It’s not as hard as it may seem. Allow your computer or cell phone to be an occasional tool for information or connection. Visit now and then, not continuously. Life is not “virtual.” It expresses itself everywhere in extraordinary bursts of color and light. When your awareness expands and your heart opens, life becomes both richer and simpler. Within that is peace—of mind, of body, of soul.


Dancing Butterflies, Ghost Orchids, Wild Skies: The Florida Dimension

Photograph © 2019 Peggy Kornegger
“To live here is to know God, to live here is to understand the power of Nature, to live here is to celebrate life.”—Panache Desai

Like a quartz crystal sparkling in the sun, Florida has many facets. Last year, in late June 2018, my partner Anne and I moved here from Boston. As we drove south along the eastern seaboard, we felt ourselves dropping past identities and memories along the way. By the time we reached Florida, we were living lighter, not anticipating or looking back, but just being, living fully in the present moment. It was a heightened state of awareness, and it carried us seamlessly to the edge of new beginnings and unexpected experiences in an entirely different place.

Driving across the state line, we had the strong feeling we were crossing into another dimension. A sense of elevated energy that manifested visually: a radiant translucence lit up the sky and the huge white cumulus clouds. The trees, bushes, and flowers were especially vivid in color. The very air vibrated with life force energy. These perceptions continued and actually expanded as Anne and I explored our new home, where everything seemed so unfamiliar.

Corkscrew Swamp, an Audubon sanctuary, is a natural entry point to an out-of-the-ordinary experience. Surrounded by slash pines, lettuce lakes (named for the plants on the water’s surface), and towering bald cypress trees hundreds of years old, I often feel as if I’m walking in a mystical timeless dimension. Alligators, whose ancestors survived the dinosaur era, rest like logs not far from the boardwalk, their eyes barely visible above the water. Ethereal, extremely rare ghost orchids hang suspended from a cypress trunk 60 feet above my head. A white ibis with its long curved bill lands nearby, and I am reminded of ancient Egypt and the god Thoth. When a large yellow-crowned night heron flies past me, I stand motionless, silent, transported. They are like living prayers, these unusual water birds, who by their very presence evoke spiritual connection.

Then there are the butterflies! Like flying rainbows, they never seem to land or rest here in Florida. They are always dancing with the light, dancing with the flowers, dancing with each other. The zebra longwing is a flying perceptual illusion. Its black-and-white stripes flash so quickly that the eye can’t keep up with the flickering patterns, and the mind begins to shift interdimensionally. The orange-and-black wings of the gulf fritillary and queen butterflies flutter continuously, and they seem to magically appear and then disappear into thin air. Bright yellow sulfur butterflies twirl and spin around each other like free-spirited improv artists. Florida’s beautiful butterflies make us believe that we too can dance and express our unique selves just as joyfully and spontaneously in our lives.

If I look up at the sky at any given moment during the day, I audibly gasp at the magnificence of the cloud formations and the play of light. It is a continuously changing, thoroughly engaging drama, based on daily weather patterns. During the summer months, the clouds build in size in the morning, and gradually, darker clouds move in from the Everglades. Eventually, torrential rain, thunder, and lightning take center stage in the afternoon. It is often impossible to do anything but stand and watch the show (in a safe dry place) because of the power of the storms. The lightning is incredible—it fills the sky with constant flashing and jagged electric bolts, both vertical and horizontal. In hurricane season, the weather and skies can become even more wild and unpredictable. Powerful energy vortexes swirl and swell, beyond all human control. This too can seem other-dimensional, like life on another planet.

There is untamed potential in the air here in Florida, something indescribable and other-worldly, in spite of aspects that seem old paradigm. Maybe it’s some residue of ancient Atlantean energy, just beneath the surface, which has been waiting for this time of collective awakening in order to reemerge. Atlantis, with its crystal pyramids and Law of One, is believed by some (including Edgar Cayce) to have existed in this part of the world, and there are times when I can feel its presence and see the pyramids sparkling in my mind’s eye. Is the “other dimension” I am experiencing here really the rise of Atlantis once more? It remains a mystery.

Whether or not it is connected to a specific name out of prehistory, a powerful energy of light and oneness does exist now on the planet. I feel it strongly in Florida but have felt it elsewhere too. It transcends place and time. In remembering it, in opening our psyches and our hearts to loving possibilities, we can embody that presence more profoundly than ever before, wherever we live. If we look closely, a true dimensional shift at the deepest level is taking place. We are becoming dancing spirit rainbows, each and every one of us, freely expressing and celebrating life on this Earth.

Who Would You Be Without Identity?

Photograph © 2019 Peggy Kornegger
Can you imagine yourself without a gender, a role, a story, a sense of self that precedes you into the world? No mental concepts that define how you see everything? No language to structure the formless into form and separate you from others? This is how you were born. This is how you entered life on Earth (and how you will leave it), a divine soul without human definitions to shape it. And this is who you still are, deep within. No matter what words were spoken or names were given to you, your soul remains intact. Your soul is always connected to the Source from which it came, regardless of what separation is experienced by your personality or ego in the course of a lifetime.

The question for so many people at this time of awakening on our planet is: How do we get back there? How do we return to the child’s wide-eyed wonder and love of the world? Newborn babies are pure awareness, pure being. No language blocks or distorts that essential life force energy that flows through. As our human minds learn to name and categorize, that energy remains but goes underground. Our souls are disguised by the “personalities” that overlay our essential Self. Gradually we forget our divine connection, and our minds, supported by external social norms, define our daily experience. We don’t realize that our physical bodies are merely costumes that we are wearing for this particular lifetime. Consequently, we lose our sense of oneness with others and with all that is.

It takes ongoing intention and practice (or sometimes an identity-shattering experience) to return to conscious awareness of our soul’s presence. Habit and external distractions can often be impediments in this process, but the strength and power of the spirit within moves us forward even when we feel most lost or disconnected. I believe this because I have experienced it myself. The personality self I learned to navigate the world with carried me through my childhood and young adult life—until one day, at age 18, I met a new friend, a kindred spirit, who opened my eyes to the limitations of that self. I started to seek something greater and embarked on a decades-long journey into awakening and self-awareness. Not unlike many other seekers at this time. Ultimately, we are all meant to take this journey back to soul, back to Self.

As I learned meditation, yoga, and self-exploration, the doors to my inner being gradually opened. I experienced divine connection, or soul presence, through a variety of experiences with many spiritual teachers over many years. All of it led to the present moment, wherein the journey is deepening and in many ways becoming solitary. The final path back to God, to complete awareness and soul embodiment, often has to be walked alone because there really is no intermediary between your soul and its Source. They are actually one and the same, and this is a realization that occurs deep within your consciousness. It cannot be imposed from without.

So, at some point, you and I (and all of us) realize the oneness of all of life. We begin to see clearly how language was just an attempt by the human mind to explain a Mystery that cannot be solved or even translated into words and concepts. Only at the soul level do we “see” the connections and feel the power of Being itself. There are times when, as a writer, I try to express my own soul’s awareness, but I know it is an approximation of something vastly beyond my ability to describe it. It resides at the place beyond language, roles, and all other human designations.

This is the place without identity. It is the place we experience every time we are fully present in our lives. When we take a deep breath and feel the peace at our core, when we open our hearts to unconditional love of self and others. These are the moments when our soul awareness expands, and we know ourselves to be eternal and infinite, a divine presence that came to Earth to experience itself as human, awaken to its own divinity, and then return to the sacred Source from which it arose.

Undoing the Doing

Photograph © 2019 Peggy Kornegger
“In between the old and the new is an empty space.”
—Charles Eisenstein

Popular advice would tell you that when you feel stuck, lost, or unmotivated, then do something, anything, to get out of it, to move yourself forward. I have found that the exact opposite is true: If you don’t feel moved to act, then don’t. Allow for the pregnant pause in which something new can be born. Take a deep breath and relax into the present moment. The rest will take care of itself.

Doing is the backbone of American culture. Most of us live lives filled with activities, surrounded by voices that urge us to do even more. Working 24/7 is a badge of honor. “I’m so busy” is the daily mantra repeated by countless individuals. We often find ourselves caught up in a whirlwind of work and social activity that leaves us drained and exhausted. Motivational coaches enthusiastically tell us we can achieve fulfillment by becoming the entrepreneurs of our own lives. Success and empowerment await us if we just make that extra effort. Such promises distract us from our own inner truth.

Behind it all is a desperate attempt to shore up a status quo that is rapidly disintegrating. Every social, political, and economic framework around us is breaking apart. The old stories and rationales no longer convince us. Within us something new is awakening, a vision of a different way of being. The Old Earth ran on fragmented “us” vs. “them” energy, me outracing you. Separation, hierarchy. The New Earth, more and more visible on the horizon, is centered in connection and collaboration. The circle, not the tower. And that circle is formed not from frenetic activity but from quiet intention and shared focus.

This new way of life exists now as a possibility in our lives, but first we have to undo the doing. We have to step back and away into the empty space that opens into being without doing. There, creativity and new visions can be born. Nothing is forced, everything flows. All possibilities are welcomed, and eventually calm, centered action arises out of this empty space of allowing.

I am currently in such a transitional “empty space” in my life. I have left the past behind but as yet have no idea what comes next. My own lifelong spiritual journey has brought me to this pivotal point of wholeheartedly embracing the present moment, where there is no time. No noise, no hurrying. I immerse myself in the natural world around me and the timeless light-filled energy of birds and butterflies, trees and flowers.

Here is peace, respite from the busy world. Here is the centerpoint of stillness, within which the entire universe was born and continues to silently vibrate potential and possibility for each of us. Herein, the creative flow of all life emerges from being itself. Doing then unfolds as part of that beingness.

I am choosing this space. I trust it and hold it sacred in my heart. This is who I am at the soul level, and in aligning with my soul, I am aligning with the dynamic divine energy that sources everything. I am connecting with thousands of other souls on this planet who are experiencing the same energy. Out of this connection, an entirely new consciousness is arising. We are finally recognizing that we are human beings not human doings. The New Earth will re-form itself around this awareness.

The voices of the old paradigm will urge us to rush into the future, no time to waste. Instead, I say to myself: Wait a minute, take a deep breath, and keep taking them until all urgency drops away, and all you can feel is the peace at your core. It is from that place that my life and yours can recenter and redefine itself. I was not born to fill my life with nonstop doing; I was born to be my unique soul self, and all else will flow from that. In being is all of life. No separation, no “other.” This is the New Earth we are giving birth to and being born into simultaneously. A world in which you and I are no longer at odds, but instead work together and celebrate each other.

So allow the pause, the silence, the undoing. It will introduce you to being. It will save your life. It will save all of our lives. In fully being present in our lives, we will not face each day with worry and overwhelm but instead with joy and celebration that we are savoring every moment of what we came to this planet to experience. In the process, we will create a New Earth based in freedom of expression and commonality of purpose, one that recognizes the sacred marriage of being (divine soul) and doing (human form).

Practice…and Beyond

Photograph © 2019 Peggy Kornegger
Remember the old joke about the tourist asking directions in New York? “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice, practice, practice.” That answer could also be given to the spiritual question “How do I get to the enlightened state?” Practice—a lifelong commitment to finding peace of mind and God. Your practice becomes your life, and vice versa. And yet it is not until the practice softens and becomes a relaxed inner flowering rather than a rigid outer striving that everything shifts. The virtuoso pianist and the devoted meditator discover the sound and light within them, not on an external stage or altar. Carnegie Hall and enlightenment are not destinations; they are experiences.

Only when we let go of the need to arrive somewhere do we find that what we were looking for existed already, right in front of us. Dorothy traveled over the rainbow to Oz only to realize that “Home” was in the faces of those she loved…and in her own heart. The enlightened state, too, appears to be over some distant rainbow, yet what if it exists inside us? We only have to deepen our awareness to feel its expansive presence. This deepening is the softer sense of practice, the spiritual sense.

Growing up, we are taught that if we practice enough, we will achieve whatever we focus on with intent and purpose. Practice is seen as a repetitive routine that leads to a specific goal, like playing a musical instrument well. This meaning has a certain truth; if we practice anything diligently enough, we can achieve proficiency. But there is a step beyond proficiency that can only be reached by an almost indescribable surrender wherein we become the music (or the meditation) itself. In spirituality, diligent meditating does not necessarily lead to enlightenment. Ultimately we have to let go of trying and open to something greater than ourselves. In this opening, practice falls away, and there is only spirit. The experience and the experiencer are one.

When you come to realize that you are, as Adyashanti put it, “seeking God with [God’s] eyes,” then awareness literally opens your eyes to the truth of who you are. Beyond practice is grace, in music or in spirituality. You become one with the flow of life, and you begin to flow yourself, whatever you are doing. You see the divine light within you that is reflected in the world around you. In every person and in every thing. This is enlightenment. A state of being, not a state of practicing.

Master musicians and spiritual masters share one attribute: connection. They are connected to something greater than themselves, and that is what lifts them into a state of pure being—oneness with music or oneness with God. This is the future of all of us who were born on the planet at this time. Our destiny is to softly step beyond the edges of practice into a life of awakened presence: spirit embodied in form, fully aware of both our humanity and our divinity. In any given moment, we can shift our awareness into this peaceful space of expansive perception. It’s not as difficult as it may seem. It just takes practice…and then letting go of practice.