Live your life as an experiment

dragonIN THE LAST few years, we’ve had some rough times: job losses and foreclosures, environmental disasters and protracted wars, not to mention global weather changes and all their ominous implications. Personally, I’ve spent the last dozen years cultivating a deep and juicy spiritual practice that has helped me gain some broader perspective on all of this. By my own choice and—like many others—because of the economy, I’ve downsized my life to a level I never used to think possible or practical. In fact, I’ve gotten it down to the point where I feel as though I have nothing much to lose.

And where has that landed me? On a quiet porch in a Balinese village, with a view of the terraced rice fields and a plug for my laptop. With nothing to lose, I came here, where life moves at a pace that makes time for reverence and I can learn from the traditional Balinese, who seem to be experts in simple, sustainable abundance. Did I lose or did I gain? That question feels less and less relevant.

Philosopher Eric Hoffer said, “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

When the going gets tough, the smart get playful. They turn into learners and with deep humility, look for teachers in places they never before considered. They listen for the inner signal that can recognize truth–not in the intellect, but in the mysterious felt sense that rises up from the gut. They use this deeper knowing to navigate open waters, as the seas change course and the human family searches for a way of life that makes sense now. Trungpa Rinpoche said, “Live your life as an experiment.” Seems there’s no better time than now to take him up on that.

I read something once that I’ve never forgotten: some seeds only germinate in a forest fire. That means there are flowers in us that have been waiting for exactly these conditions.

This blog is an invitation to become a flamingseed: one who uses difficult, fast-changing conditions to blossom rather than burn. For inspiration, I’ll hunt down the flamingseeds in our midst and grill them for clues that can benefit all of us (your nominations welcome!). I’ll comb the streets–not to mention the contemplative and mystic traditions–for teachings, spiritual practices and visionary ideas on cultivating a loving, generative world view regardless of circumstances. And I’ll doggedly question cultural and spiritual assumptions so that we can open fresh to these changing times with curiosity, innocence and a sense of adventure.

I’m a novice in the blog world, and welcome feedback, suggestions and gentle corrections. And being new at this, I deeply appreciate comments, musings and questions in response to the posts. I hope you’ll also check out the rest of the site, especially the free books page where I’ll highlight writings by aspiring flamingseeds who are cooking up some juicy experiments.

Thank you for playing.

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9 comments to Live your life as an experiment

  • Judy

    Jane, how wonderful that I get to read your writing again! Congratulations on starting the blog and what looks to be a juicy new adventure of your own.

    Oh, and check out my friend Alex’s new-ish blog — http://www.domesticatedmuse.com/ — seems like you two have a few themes in common!

    Love, J

  • anonymous

    What a wonderful blog you have created. Flaming seed! Visionary. I love the quote, “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
    I live in a small Buddhist monastery in the mid-west USA. I have for 24 years. It is very “unconventional” if compared to real monasteries. There are no Asian teachers, or for that matter priests or leaders at all. It is more like a hermitage than a monastery really. We have had up to 14 people living here and there are just two of us left. I search the web daily for inspirational ideas, they are so hard to find these days. I am so delighted to have stumbled onto your web site/blog because i sense that your heart and mind are open.
    Anyway i’ll be back to read your words on occasion, and say hello. Here is wishing you all the best and i have a feeling the that “flaming seed” within you IS blossoming! 🙂

  • Greetings Jane,

    I just came here through your wonderfully insightful comment over at Anamchara: The Website of Unknowing. Welcome to Blogistan. Your first post is so well written and inspiring. It is a call for an inner mobilization, and leaves me eager to read more. There are so many blogs out there about spiritual practice or traditions, but often they are just surface opinion. They lack a certain weight and inner quality. Your words resonate with a substance that is beyond mere words on a screen. Thank you.

    warm regards,

    Luke

  • Life is a classroom and all our experiences are our lectures…sometimes thease lectures are about outside world and sometimes they are about our inner journey….hahahah
    We are just shifting all the times from one to another…the most important question ,that comes to my mind is that ‘Where are we going in this INNER and OUTER journey?
    best wishes my dear friend…keep on travelling…walking…singing…..enjoying…the classrooms..and lectures…hahahahahah

  • Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.
    Samuel Butler
    English composer, novelist, & satiric author (1835 – 1902)

  • Luke, thank you so much for taking the time to leave these encouraging words. Yes, I am hoping to create a forum where we can encourage each other to practice from the inside out–inner mobilization, as you call it. Good for me to know that is coming through in my first attempts.

    Anyone who hasn’t checked out http://www.anamchara.com –which Luke mentions–should definitely do so. It’s a wonderful blog on Christian mysticism.

  • Pat

    Jane,

    I am so glad that your sister Chris, (A friend from my Chicago days), sent me your website. I like it very much and plan to return for visits.

    Pat

  • Juanita Brown

    Me, too, dearest Jane,

    Wonderful to read this lovely first post. And yes, we know Ubud and Bali–having helped to host the Quest for Global Healing Conference there with Marcia Jaffe of the Bali Institute. Look up the Bali Institute and/or contact Marcia at:Marcia Jaffe

    Love to you….
    Juanita

  • I hope you come back and visit again! Thanks for the encouragement–so glad that you found this inspiring! It is good to know there are hermitage dwellers in the 21st century. We need it now more than ever.