Cultivating Appreciation


Experiment  is the X-factor of Awakeness

The whole 9-5 workaday world was seeming insignificant these days. I was experiencing a new level of being and felt how easy it was to get locked into ordinary life. It wasn’t just the what and where of doing. It was the smallness of it. I was so jazzed and excited about feeling the richness of life that I literally couldn’t sleep. In the middle of the night I would wake up and the world was still and quiet. I could feel a bigger richer place that was very natural – one I wouldn’t be “taken out” by. As a teenager I remember having the same feeling and I would stay up all night with a few friends to share the space. I know.  I became alcoholic because it would put me in a sort of rarefied safe place. There was something natural and sacred, like it was my birthright wanting to live from that place. I was excited to tell DOVE because I knew he could understand.

JON: I haven’t been sleeping through the last few nights and get up at 3:00 AM and feel like I’m waking into a greatly expanded normal reality, if that makes sense. It’s like the everyday world is teeming and refreshing.

DOVE: In my experience waking @ 2:00 or 3:00 AM, one is downloading or installing new software. It is the time the world is most psychically quiet and processes can happen.

JON: That sounds right. It feels like very new software and I have got a bounce in my step these days. There is a surprising bigger sense of things, like after my near-death experience in 1992.  It was about a year after then that I quit drinking and I remember an addictions counselor telling me it takes that long to start feeling happy, being back in your life. Back then happiness first arose as a brief experience I had at a street corner, when I suddenly woke up and everything was alive. I wrote a poem about it. Here’s a piece from it:


I pulled the truck up to the line,
Brakes grinding 
And me ground down 
At a red light that signaled me.
I was at a crossroads, 
That lifted the pounding
Of another busy day
Down heartless highways.
I rested in a gentle sigh,
That only gratitude can bring
And came to a full stop –
Where human humdrum evaporates.
And a cacophony of life rose up
Parading up and down the street,
Proudly here and over there
Announcing – it has always, been here.

Now, 20 years later, the same state of presence is still arising on its own accord. This time it is persisting all day long and grabbing real hold in my life. When I look at why it is “holding”, I can see that it started after an experience I had over the last few weeks running an “experiment” with Tony, the job superintendant at the Diarq project.

It went like this: 2 months ago when I first met him he was very condescending, a real redneck, implying I was some sort of idiot. My internal response at the time was to be offended but I maintained composure and didn’t react. Instead I just said “my name is Jon, I don’t believe we have met”. That was a different sort of a response for me. It was polite and I didn’t want to go down the road he was laying out.

A few months later when I started the job, he was just looking at me, sending me redneck challenging energy. I could feel it and I wanted to reach out and resolve it. I wanted to be liked, but I knew he had seen himself mirrored by my polite comments and would have felt I was patronizing by trying to be too friendly. My mirroring back to him from a few months ago meant he had seen his behavior being contrasted to my politeness. He had felt its ugliness and possibly some shame around it. I knew he had to come to me. On the job over the past few weeks I sensed him or his energy coming towards me.

Then the other day he came and stood beside me, kind of shouldered up to me. I engaged with him on his level, responding to questions he had about the Silk Plaster I was installing and left it at that. Something important resolved for me at that point. Since then I have been feeling this constant happy feeling and I think it’s because of running such a successful experiment. I maintained my integrity, my center and functioned well and helped him too.

I am understanding that being conscious is not a milestone. It is a constant way of choosing how to live. Once the experiments stop, so does the consciousness.

DOVE: The running of experiments, observation, the basic science and constant observation, IS being awake. The eyes are open and in the mode of being. You are being very still in that mode and are letting the butterfly land on you. You were not smoothing things over because you were so deeply still.

JON: I was deeply still because I was interested in seeing and experimenting with how that feels. It was rich and there is so much to see, always.

DOVE: The mode of being so still is the way one maintains a sterile environment and relates to the efficacy of experiments. If I start inputting, it contaminates the Petri dish and the contamination starts growing instead. Maintaining psychic stillness allows for good observation and witnessing at a more divine level. It is judgment that contaminates.

JON: I realized that I have always had the faculties for clear awareness and that they are so basic. They have been so covered over with reactivity

DOVE: They are very simple and from time to time through your life you stumbled across them.

JON: Yes, simple and I had them all along. It seems as if I abandoned them at some point because they were familiar and so ordinary. Why did I become senseless, Dove?

DOVE: In your original state of having faculties you experienced them without perspective. It was necessary to come to an appreciation by going full circle.
Quite naturally when you were young, you had a lack of perspective. What happened spontaneously, just because you were in the world, is that you stepped into an experiment – the bigger world. The stepping itself was unconscious. The nature of the experiment was stepping out of grace. What you are doing now and looking at now is running an experiment consciously. If you unplug from being so connected and fall from grace, what happens is what happened when you wandered from paradise. On a primal level, the essential game you were playing with the source of the universe was “catch me.” You decided that you were going to wander through the free way of life, blindfolded and drunk, asking “how far will the light come to reach me?” You were playing it unconsciously on a deep soul level. You wandered into the wilderness and spun around fast where anything can get you and said, “do you love me?” and “let’s see how much I am loved.”

JON: Being born to this world was disorienting.

DOVE: And an even more questions come up. Why run an experiment at all? It is because one is looking for certainty and truth and to know that you have truth.

JON: So is uncertainty is just normal?

DOVE: The circumstance of just being, getting born to this planet creates a reality of zero perspective because everything is unfamiliar and utterly disorienting. In a state of utter disorientation, we are very disposed to naturally need to run experiments in order to get oriented to figure out what we can be certain about.

JON: That is something all are seeking, but often in an image and in the future and rarely in what is presenting itself right here, right now. How lost in future images humans have become.

DOVE: Certain circumstances and patterns give experiences a certainty, a little life boat. Religions, groups, etc. are different types of vessels. And they last as long as they last, perhaps your whole incarnation if you are lucky, or perhaps you will need to find new ones.

JON: That is what is happening with the soul in this world.

DOVE: Different lifeboats, carnival cruise ships with flags even. All lifeboats have structural weaknesses and vulnerabilities. If you try exploring the structural weaknesses, they will make you walk the plank, which speaks to the core of a lot of our experiences here on earth.

JON: Don’t rock the boat.

DOVE: Asking certain questions could cause problems.

JON: I am reminded of the picture hanging on my stairwell at home. Its 2 lifeboats with people paired and searching in a misty gloomy setting with hints of light poking through here and there. My sadness is truly lifting, now I see that so many things are possible to experience. So much isn’t sad alongside the things that are. Life is becoming whole.

DOVE: As we learn about experiments, and the butterfly experiment was very important because speaks to possibilities and one can extrapolate, there is a resounding “Yes!” You have level of certainty that allows a shift from uncertainty. It crystallizes into the experience of clear certainty and it pervades all other experiments.

The nature of experiments, for example, is that once you get result in Southern California should be able to run it New York. The truth has implications that are everywhere. When a butterfly lands it had implications for the rest of your life.

JON: So that explains the source of the bounce in my step.

DOVE: A significant shift.

JON: I noticed that when I stopped experiments, the experience of being clear and happy and full of life and life teeming with possibility, also stopped. That made me see that there is a maintaining of higher levels of consciousness and it is not just destination. It is a choice about living and about running experiments or not.

DOVE: A transcendental certainty.

JON: That’s why I am up at 3:00 AM every night, getting certain at the times when it’s easier to, like you said before.

DOVE: The atmosphere gets quiet enough and the installation can happen. A jolt of energy wakes you up.

JON: It’s like I want to get on with it, which is a charge – wanting to get on with it.

DOVE: It’s flipping on a switch.

JON: What puts me into experiment mode is not so much a decision. Rather I experience a reaction, and then I choose not to react. It takes discipline and patience because I feel like I am busting out from inside. I have to be large enough to contain the energy and hold it. Then, it diminishes. This creates a more clear awareness of what in fact just happened to me. Then, miraculously, I can see the “other”. So I have experienced the energy internally, rather than projecting it back out which only clouds the outside and makes me blind.

DOVE: Let yourself be large enough to isolate and quiet the variables so that the truth of the phenomenon can be revealed and seen. Consciousness is like a laboratory. So you can create a psychic`environment that is sterile enough, quiet enough with no ripples so phenomenon can be observed.

Consciousness is about being trained. The idea is that you are doing it on purpose rather than stumbling into it. Even in our process I’m modeling largeness and you can be entrained to create it.

JON: By choice and on purpose to speak it, to create it.

DOVE: The mode is the X-factor. We are cultivating appreciation. As you get results of experiments, certainty and appreciation increase. Appreciation is the element that allows you to be with it and involves the capacity for stillness. Entrainment happens for you as I am lending my appreciation. You are invited to join. Your ability to run the experiment is facilitated for others by simply appreciating them. Within that is the mode of witnessing. On a practical level, the experiment with Tony, the job superintendant, translated into better working environment for you as well as others. The experience of being appreciated, of being valued enough so you now you can stay, goes back to original existential crisis in the crib. The baby needs to get the message they are valuable.

JON: When there is no experience of appreciation?

DOVE: Then all the stuff we do in life happens in trying to get back to the original need for appreciation. All the things we do are a measurement of the depth and dimension of the gap.

JON: So appreciation can be used as the benchmark.

DOVE: Appreciation is that magic mode, the aspect of the pivot point that transforms and orients. Appreciation is the divine reset button.

JON: I experience my own reactivity like a clouding over.

DOVE: Reactivity is inherited. 400,000 years of evolution…of primal fight or flight. We have a sophisticated nervous system to survive. We are beings of reaction, a reaction machine on the physical level and, it is a very subtle system.

JON: As a human (reaction machine), in order to get to a place of appreciation requires a place to stand, which is perspective or place to look from. `

DOVE: The opportunity to not have reactivity is the opportunity to be in the driver’s seat. We need to set 400,000 years of evolution into the passenger’s seat and allow consciousness be in the driver’s seat, simply by the act of appreciation. The truth shall set you free. The mode of living by being engaged through observation and experiment is about being centered on appreciation of what is. As Byron Katie says: mindfulness or presence in every step is an “awakened rest state”.

JON: I have coined that as “spacious presence”.

DOVE: That state allows for experiments to happen.

JON: Experiments show there’s always more; it’s bottomless.

DOVE: Yes, it invites us to be more and in the freshness. That innocent kind of mode is one that one becomes adept at being in. That is what the whole identity of what mastery is about, when life is about that pursuit. Even mastery is a subtle life boat. Even that could be transcended. “The game is even bigger than that” as Ram Dass would say.
It is about the subtly of it – how the remarkable and the unremarkable fit together. Everywhere in the world all will resonate with these truths, from church basements to the banks of the Ganghi.

JON: You know it in the heart.

DOVE: That is how you know what is; the heart takes truth snapshots, and keeps the records. It is physiologically able to align with fullness and feel the authority of the universe. It has the capacity for full appreciation. Appreciation is the key of stepping into alignment. It opens the doors and you step right into it and have the capacity to hold it physiologically. If you are able to set aside reactivity and influence, then you have the capacity to fill that space with appreciation. You let physical reactivity be subject to consciousness, to be in service of consciousness. It keeps the mind out of the way.

JON: It’s a choice about how to live in your life.

DOVE: It allows you to consciously navigate, to simply be with, to be in charge with full deep appreciation and not subject to reaction. Reactions are divine as they have allowed us to be here, to survive. We couldn’t be in the esoteric mode unless we’ve dealt with the saber tooth tiger. We love our fight/flight physiological inheritance.

JON: I’m looking forward to sleep.

DOVE: It will translate into the practical, that is, mastering on the mundane level.