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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Love or Violence

I heard Stan Dale once say, “There is either love or violence.  And even violence is a cry for love.”  I heard him say that, but what the heck does it mean?  What was he talking about?

You have to understand, this guy was my mentor, my guru.  The things he did and said, the workshops he created, the experiences he fed me… they changed my life.  I am content and calm in my old age because he showed me how.

By the same token this was a guy who would put his foot in his mouth.  He messed up often and when he was called on it he’d always own up: a humble man who had no compunctions about eating humble pie when called for.  But he made no apologies for saying there is either love or violence, and even violence is a cry for love.  

I cannot wrap my head around it.  What is love?  And for that matter what is violence?  Interestingly, the workshops Stan created about love don’t tell what it is.  Instead they offer a series of exercises so I can explore what love is for me.  Thanks a lot.

And regarding violence… the workshops don’t explore that at all.

So here I am in this place of confusion.  My head says this is ridiculous.  Whatever love is, whatever violence is, there must be more to human existence than just these two.  And violence as a cry for love?  What about rape?  What about war?  What about hate?  What about greed?  How can it all be reduced down to love like some kind of binomial equation?

I don’t know the answer to that.  But my problem is this guy was not some naive airhead.  His life experiences took him to profound places.  I’m not going to dismiss him just because my head says this is absurd.  Instead my plan is to create space to notice who am I and what happens in my life?  My life… not other lives on the other side of the world; not who’s killing each other in the Middle East and why?  (By now, who knows why?) 

What is violence for me?  What is love for me?  Is there anything else?  I just want to open my heart and see what shows up.

I’ll keep you posted.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

HAI Beliefs

HAI Beliefs

Sometimes when I get mad I'm criticized for being unHAI-like.  And I respond, “Who says?”  Where is it written that HAI tells me not to be angry?  And I’m left with the question, what in fact does HAI tell me to do or not do, believe or not believe, be or not be?

Stan Dale, HAI's founder used to boast that HAI is without Dogma. defines “Dogma” as an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc.  So Stan was saying HAI isn't going to tell you what to believe in… God, atheism, chakras, an intelligent universe, the law of attraction, etc. etc.  HAI doesn't care.  And it’s true that at workshops I've mingled with Catholics, Buddhists, gays, lesbians, trans, polys, monos, what have you.  And HAI had nothing to tell any of them about how they needed to change. 

So what does HAI believe?  What are its basic tenets/rules?  There’s no Bible to refer to and I’m no more an expert than the next guy, but I’d like to put down some ideas I think HAI believes in.[1]  And I’d like this blog to be a sounding board for others.  Write and tell me what you think HAI principles are.

Y    CHOICE.  At some point in every workshop you’ll hear a facilitator ask, “What is this workshop about?” and the group will answer, “Choice.”  HAI believes we are at choice.  Some folks take this idea to an extreme, saying that everything you do or happens to you is a choice… miss a bus, get hit by a falling piano, be gay… your choice.  That’s not a HAI belief.  But HAI does believe at least some of what we do is automatic, actions without thought, old learned habits that might no longer serve us.  And HAI offers us tools to help identify why we do what we do, and ways to expand on the number of choices we have.

Y    LOVE.  I think it’s a HAI tenet that we are born in love, born as love, and that love is our natural condition.  But what is love?  It’s HAI's practice to let each person discover and decide.  Love, Intimacy, Sexuality… it’s not for HAI to dictate, but rather to provide ways to improve our path of self discovery.  Stan Dale once told me there is either love or violence, and even violence is a cry for love.  Wow.  Is that true?  How do I wrap my head around that possibility?

Y    SELF DISCOVERY.  HAI believes that the person in charge of your path of personal growth is you.  HAI doesn't say you need to align your chakras, balance your energy or integrate your id with your ego.  Your goals are up to you.  HAI does have a lot to suggest about how to get there, wherever ‘there’ is.  Noticing is one of those powerful helping tools… noticing guilt, shame, where you’re loving yourself and where not, noticing your old stories… lots of skills to help turn the path of growth into a more and more exciting adventure.   

Y    RESPONSIBILITY.  Some folks say it means, ‘ability to respond’.  Very cute but I don’t think that describes HAI's relationship with responsibility.  I think it’s very important to HAI that I know what belongs to me and what belongs to you.  If my father tells me I’ll never amount to anything, HAI wants me to know that that’s what he thinks, and I can choose to take it on or not.  If I think anal sex is disgusting, HAI wants me to know that judgment belongs to me, and its major value is to inform me a bit about who I am, not who the other person is.  Sometimes we use the word, ‘responsibility’ to mean blame or fault.  That’s not what HAI is talking about.  Who am I?  How am I influenced by others?  How does that serve me?  That’s what HAI means by responsibility.

Wow.  This got a lot longer than I planned.  I hope it was interesting to you.  Those are four tenets I can think of at the moment, and I hope you’ll comment and suggest additional ones.  Be in touch and I hope I see you at a workshop soon.  I’ll send a schedule out and some suggestions about attending.

[1] I realize I’m treating HAI as if it were a person with thoughts and beliefs.  HAI is really a collection of people and ideas with a history.  We’re all a part of HAI.  We all contribute to its form and function.