What I Do – Spiritual Integration

SpiritualityAs I enter my later years, I find that I am in a time of summing up the disparate elements of my life into a coherent whole. From this perspective I see my work as taking on a more focused form and sharpening into a purpose that is illuminating my remaining time.

I have worn many semi-accurate labels through my life: Scientist, Clergyman, Counselor, Taoist/Zen Teacher, and Author. Am I still any of these? Certainly not in any rigid understanding of them. These roles have integrated within me and evolved into the person I am now and the work I now see myself doing.

Life is a mysterious Whole. It is One Thing Happening of which we are each a part. There is no more important work in these chaotic and divisive times than remembering our True Nature and reintegrating ourselves into the Oneness of our existence. The illusion of separation will destroy us if we do not individually recover our Wholeness, our unity with God/Tao/Spirit/The Eternal.

If I had to chose a new label, I suppose it would be that of spiritual guide – a facilitator of spiritual integration. I am dedicating the remainder of my life to this work; to helpi nurture spiritual renewal in individuals and society. In my life I have explored and internalized elements of mystical Christianity, Zen Buddhism, and Taoist Thought. I have practiced Qigong for many decades and use energy work as a fundamental part of my practice. I feel that my whole life has been a preparation for the work I now face.

I primarily use web-based applications like Zoom, with individuals and small groups. My work with individuals in Zoom sessions can be one-time, occasional, or scheduled on a regular basis, depending on the desired intentions. My fee is $100 per hour and is payable by check, PayPal, or Stripe.

For group work, also on Zoom, I welcome groups of 5 – 10 individuals who want to explore a theme or topic of interest. It may be a study of one of my books; an exploration of spiritual practices; the relationship between contemplation and action – any of a number of ways to take a deeper spiritual journey. If you have a group or would like to form a group, I would be delighted to facilitate. Group work can take the form of a set number of sessions, ongoing meetings, or a one-time seminar. Fees for group work are based on the size, duration, and on the group purposes.

This is a new and sharpened focus for me and I am excited to share it. As individuals and as a culture, we are facing the choice of either continued fragmentation or a new spiritual integration. If you sense a resonance with this work, I invite you to contact me as individuals and/or groups and we’ll explore it together.

Mine? Ours?

Nancy and I are settling into a wonderful routine of enjoying the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Not far from our house is a lovely botanical garden – several acres of desert flora exquisitely cared for by volunteers from the Green Valley Gardeners. Dozens of varieties of cacti, large and small, are in bloom right now and the hummingbirds, cardinals, wrens, quail, and many other kinds are enjoying the abundance. Tables and chairs are scattered through the shady nooks provided by Palo Verde trees, Mesquite trees, and Desert Laurels.

Through the edge of the garden passes a section of the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail – a fifteen mile section of an historic trail that once connected Mexico with the San Francisco Bay area. Nancy and I love to eat breakfast in the park and then wander along this trail in the early morning coolness. A section of the trail skirts some large estate-like homes, obviously owned by “people with money.” These properties are primarily open desert with the houses set far back behind fences and gates. I have been fascinated by the overt display of the bi-polar nature of my culture that I observe as I walk.

IMG_2236Sometimes the property that abuts the trail is clearly marked as, “MINE!” The message clearly being, “I am separate from you and you are a threat to me so, Stay Out!” I feel a growing, hard-to-describe, sadness for my society as I pass. On the other hand, some of these estates communicate a totally different message, one that says, “I have this property. I am grateful for its beauty and I want you to share it. Please enjoy.” Dog watering stations and shaded seating areas for rest adorn the property edges instead of “Keep Out” signs.

One property in particular always causes me to expand my breath with gratitude. The owner has filled IMG_2241the entire boundary by the trail with lovely buildings designed for trail walkers to use to rest and enjoy. One of these buildings is the, “de Anza Wind Phone.” The property owners built it as a place to remember, grieve, connect, and heal. Look at the lovely little building and read the plaque below. Inside is a simple chair and an old antique phone.

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There are basically two ways of “owning property.” The most common one, the one that fuels our IMG_2245society, is the, “This is mine, not yours. It is for my use only. Stay away. Get your own.” The other, less common one is the, “I have purchased the obligation to steward this property for a short time. I want to use it for the greatest, widest, and most compassionate possible benefit to my world. Please enjoy.” Given the boundary-less reality of the natural world and the transient nature of life, which approach feels appropriate? Which feels completely insane?

A New Sage’s Seminar

A Time For Elders, Sages,

and Lovers of Life

A Web seminar with William Martin

Fridays – June 10 through July 15, 2022 – 10AM Arizona Time

One of my greatest satisfactions as a teacher has been these seminars in which I meet with a small group of people who are seeking to make their later years the most powerful and satisfying time of life. The friendships we have formed, the encouragement we have given and received from each other, and the wisdom that we have shared have been empowering and transforming. I continue to teach these seminars with a sense of profound joy and gratitude.

The next web seminar will be on Friday mornings, June 15 – July 10, 2022

Click here for more information on the latest seminar

Arizona

breakfastWe have arrived safely in our new home territory, if not yet in the exact house that will be our dwelling. We in a temporary home in Green Valley, Arizona. This particular house may turn out to be our permanent location or we may find another house in the area in the coming weeks/months – so there are, as always in all lives, some “to be determined” elements. But we feel a deep sense of “at home-ness” in the beautiful Sonoran Desert that surrounds us. We are delighted to be here and are beginning to relax and take some needed rest and gradually letting our vistas expand. The accompanying photo is of our breakfast picnic in a beautiful botanical garden near our home.

Update

It has been more than a month since I’ve posted and I wanted to briefly check in to reassure readers that all is well. Nancy and I are in the midst of a move from Northern California to the southwest desert area near Tucson, Arizona. I have been teaching my on-line classes and holding individual consultations via Zoom, but most of my time has been spent with the ins and outs of preparing for a major relocation.

It has been quite an instructive and transformative time. Nancy and I are moving into a new and exciting phase of our work. Each of us will be seeking new ways to be of service in these chaotic times. To authentically do this work we need to connect with deep resources of identity and energy, resources we have always known to exist but too seldom have relied upon. We feel that these resources are leading us to the spaciousness of the Sonoran Desert, home for Nancy and the place where we first met. The various bumps and bruises of moving, physical and emotional (You all know the experience.), have led us deeper and deeper into trust and the ability to live in the present moment. I quickly add that we are both well, happy and excited about the future and looking forward to a new home.

We should be settled in Arizona by mid-May and I look forward to reengaging with individuals and classes. I am scheduled to lead a major webinar with Sage-ing International on May 17th. I hope you can join me there. In the meantime, send us the good Irish travel blessings of roads rising to meet us and winds being at our backs.

See you in a few weeks.

Blessings,

Bill

A Cosmic Belly-Laugh

Those who know, do not speak. Those who speak, do not know.

The Tao Te Ching, Chapter 56

Of the making of many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

Ecclesiastes, Chapter 12, verse 12

 

I am a trickster, a clown, a coyote playing pranks on the people.

Oh, I’m not deliberately trying to mislead you.

It’s just that you and I are playing a game of, “Let’s pretend,”

you pretending that you do not know;

me pretending that I do.

I get to speak and teach

and write books without end.

You get to listen and learn,

and study ’till your body wearies.

This is not a bad thing altogether,

for it may keep us both amused,

until we tire of the game and realize

that everything we seek is all right here, right now,

no need to study,

no need to teach.

We’re It!

We always have been,and always will be.

We’ll close our books, and have a belly-laugh,

then walk home together arm in arm.

What Can I Do?

We all wonder what in the world we can do as individuals in response to the chaos of the world.

I would like to refer you to a recent video by Nancy Martin. She has managed to capture the essence of personal and national responsibility and what might open the doors of healing. If you have a moment and the willingness to do some soul-searching, watch this entry from Nancy’s blog.

 

Stop Poking

I have grown weary of the poking, prodding, and stirring of my conditioned mind and of my culture that thrives on this poking and prodding. It is time to return to practices that enhance my own life force energy so that this energy is available for the work that is mine to do in the world. The same is true for you. If you don’t have the energy to do the work that is yours to do, who will do it?

 

Preferences

We are told that the Tao has no preferences and is able to see all things with equanimity. This is perhaps true, but does that mean we are wrong to have preferences? It is a question of how we work with our preferences. Do we let them enliven us? Or do they drain us? I’m looking at Chapter 5 of the Tao Te Ching.

No Blame

Blame is so often the name of the game of life. Somehow we’ve believed the lie that, unless we are shamed and blamed, we will not develop into “good people.” If other people don’t shame and blame us, we do it to ourselves with great efficiency and skill. And where has it gotten us?

 

Chapter 27 of the Tao Te Ching, an old shed, and old motor home, and no blame!