Chris Cade's Blog » Spiritual Development

My Fight For The Joy Of Being Defenseless

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

<Mahatma Gandhi - Non-Violent LeaderWe’ve all heard of stories of Mahatma Ghandi and non-violence, and Jesus advising us to turn the other cheek when struck, but how does that relate to us every day?

I’ve struggled with that very question, especially having been an advocate for “eye for an eye” for many years. It made sense to me that if somebody set a home ablaze, that their home would in turn be torched, and I didn’t understand what was meant by “an eye for an eye makes the world blind.” That just seemed like spiritual nonsense to me.

So often in my life I’ve thought about the “fight.” Not so much in a literal sense with my fists, but rather, on a mental level. The experiences of my youth led me to want to right the wrongs, particularly those wrongs against me, and as mentioned before I saw “eye for an eye” as a means for equal and fair justice. I would “fight” when I’d flip off or honk at another driver who cut me off, when a friend or family member “wronged” me and I felt the need to set them straight or just to be “right” about something. And I definitely “fought” (politely, mind you) when somebody cut in front of me in line.

And while an eye for an eye may deter in some cases, it’s the stark opposite of what historically non-violent leaders like Jesus and Gandhi had in mind; this challenged me even more.

As time has passed, I’ve felt less resonance with “eye for an eye” but for a while still didn’t understand how to experientially learn a differing perspective. Something that really helped bring it together for me is the following quote from Vernon Howard’s book, “Esoteric Mind Power

“Have no fear in not knowing what to do about a problem. Fear activates its negative relatives of impulsiveness, ego-protection, and an anxious craving for security.

Instead, let the mind be still. Never think of fighting, for an answer won by fighting will soon require another answer and another fight.

The problem exists because of an agitated mind, so when the mind rests from its own agitation, there is no problem at all.”

After reading the above passage, it finally clicked for me. I particularly resonated with the phrase that I bolded, yet I never thought of it that way. Another way to look at this is how some people say “the best defense is a good offense.” However, as I became more in tune with feeling my presence, I began to see that if I feel the need to defend then I will attract into my life people who want to offend. Therefore, if I become defenseless, then the reverse is true and I will continue to attract people of similar nature more and more over time.

Now, I feel more and more compassion than ever before, and I have noticed that there are less situations in my life that I have felt inclined to “defend” or “fight” against. I used to smash spiders when I found them in my home, and now I get a piece of paper and a cup to trap them, then release them outside. Now I eat a strictly vegetarian diet only because I know I wouldn’t kill an animal to eat it, and I don’t feel comfortable having other people kill the animals on my behalf.

If you had asked me a few years ago if I ever thought I might feel this depth of compassion for other beings, I’d have thought your wheels were spinning but the hamster was dead. 🙂

I now understand what it mean to turn the other cheek when struck, and why an act of compassion has the potential to be much more influential and transforming than an act of violence in like kind. Even then, I cannot say I am certain that I am yet at that place of presence where I would simply turn another cheek and take a beating like Ghandi and his followers, but I do now understand how to have compassion for all people, including those who have hurt or will hurt myself and others. To put it as concisely as possible, I’ve learned this:

Fighting does not bring us closer to our goals, but rather separates us from them.

This awareness has brought a greater amount of joy to my life than I could have ever imagined. Progressively I’m realizing, and truly and deeply understanding, that it really is my choice how I respond to situations, and that no amount of “fighting” or negative response will change the truth of the situation… the truth that there is only one common element in all experiences in my life – me.

I am the only person I can change, so when I fight against others, whether I realize and feel it or not, I’m actually fighting against myself.

The Heartline Affirmation

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

 Heartline Affirmation from The Monroe Institute

In my previous message, I promised to share with you an affirmation I use every single day to help me experience more unconditional love in my life. I also shared some of the "lies" I've been working on around love that have prevented me from really experiencing a full heart.

The reality is that we all have "lies" (mostly subconscious) that we tell ourselves that distance us from living happily and with love. I'm still exposing some of mine as I discover them, and I'll be sharing more about that with you soon.
I do this affirmation every single day to help me connect with the energy of love, and more specifically, the love within me that wants to be expressed in the world. I learned it in 2006 from The Monroe Institute, and I am forever grateful.

In fact, each day I have my Calendar email this to me… and when I receive it, I usually pause what I'm doing. I then focus my energy on my heart, turn inwardly, and really recite the mantra within myself silently. This has been a powerful practice for me, and I believe it will be for you also if you take it to heart.

"The Heartline Affirmation"

I am in touch with the source of all life

and I am open to receive all energy from this source.

My purpose is to know and be love.

My intent is to know the fullness of life, the joy of life and the love that I am.

I deeply desire to know, to be, to understand, to experience, and to express the love that I am and the absolute good that I bring forth.

I ask that the light of the source surround me, enfold me, and embrace me.

I ask that the love energy flow through me now.

From this day forward I am better able to be the love that I am and to know that I have no limitations.

For I am this energy – I am love.

And because I am love,

I live each moment of this day in heartfelt gratitude and deep, abiding appreciation for All That Is.

When I say this affirmation to myself, I also hold my hand over my heart to accelerate and amplify its effectiveness. Saying affirmations is one thing, and FEELING them in connection to your heart takes them to a whole new level.

And if you like this affirmation, then click here to share it on Facebook and help others bring more love into their lives.

But spiritual people don’t play poker!

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

A couple of years ago I was at a satsang with Adyashanti and somebody asked him what he does for enjoyment. His answer: “Sometimes I like to ride my motorcycle or play poker with my friends and take their money.”

In that moment, I felt a lot less alone. For several years, I played poker with the same group on Monday nights. Over those years I’ve grown in many ways, but that hasn’t changed that I really enjoy the dynamics of a good poker game. What has changed is the place I come from while playing poker.

I get a lot less caught up in the ego aspects of the game, and instead tend to be more present and aware of just enjoying the moment. Enjoying the way the money shifts around to different people on the table, enjoying the flow of energy involved with that and observing how people act and react in different situations that arise during the game. What I enjoy most though, is that every now and then there arises a ‘perfect’ moment that is only possible by my non-attachment to winning.

Why play poker if not to win?

My ideal poker game is one in which there are a lot of highs and lows, a lot of wins and losses, and in the end everybody walks away with close to what they started with. It doesn’t always work out that way… sometimes I win a couple hundred dollars or lose a couple hundred dollars, most of the time it’s closer to about +/- $20. Back to the point, though.

Last year I was playing with a relatively new group and with only a $20 initial buyin, and after a few hours of play I was already profiting about $250. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but somehow I merged with the moment… in an indescribable unity where I was not separate from anybody else or anything else. In that moment, I made a $150 bet that put two of the other players to the test… to make a very hard decision.

The thing is, I wasn’t thinking during any of this. I was playing mindlessly… and though that might explain why I lost the $150, what it also helps bring to light is that it is possible to be engaged in mind-based activities yet without using the mind. Playing poker, for me, has become a lot more intuitive-based. I think a lot less about the plays I make, and sometimes I don’t even think at all.

It is in this space of non-thinking… this complete open space combined with a nothingness… that joy arises from. Had I been attached to winning that hand (there was about $400-$500 in the pot including other players), I would have been quite upset about losing. However, I wasn’t upset. In fact, I felt a great amount of gratitude that I could witness somebody else derive such pleasure from winning that hand.

It wasn’t until I was driving home after the game that I realized I had been experiencing joy in that moment. Generally speaking, most people are unaware when they are truly ‘in the moment’ because it is a combination of that nothingness and complete spaciousness without thought (so without thinking, they don’t ‘know’ they’re experiencing joy in the moment). I certainly didn’t realize it until I was driving home later that night and I reflected on the evening.

People often have a misconception that joy and happiness are the same thing, yet in that experience I was clearly shown this is not the case. Joy is a state of being that is underneath any emotional experience we can have, and therefore it is possible to be both joyous and happy, as well as joyous and deeply sorrowful. Joy does not exclude any emotion, but rather, it includes all of them without attachment nor exception.

P.S. If you’d like to explore joy more fully, be sure to check out my friend Apryl Jenson’s websites and She focuses a lot on empowering ourselves to experience more joy in our everyday lives.

Random Acts of Friendship, Oh and Facebook Has Officially Become A Verb

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

It’s amazing how many new friends I’ve made this week, simply by being open to new experiences. Earlier this week, on Monday, I was at Whole Foods when a man came up to me outside and asked for some change. I smiled and said, “I’ll get you on the way out.” That was my plan at the time, but my first priority was to use the restroom.

So I found it, used it, and quickly realized how hungry I was. As I made my way to the hot food section I thought, “I wonder if he’d like to join me?” I figured some refreshing conversation and new company would be nice, and just as I had that thought I saw him helping guide somebody to find what they were looking for inside the store. Immediately after, he started walking out the door and I caught his attention, asked his name, and asked if he’d join me for dinner.

Darrell picked up a few items, some bread and grapes and a drink to help get him through the week. Apparently I caught him on the upswing, since Monday was also his first day on a job after being homeless for 3 years. He still didn’t have a roof over his head, or food, but he was the happiest man in the world that day with his new job. The glow was very obvious.

On that evening, I made a new friend. Somebody who was interested in movies, like me, and hadn’t been to one since he could remember. Anyway, we exchanged phone numbers (a few locals set him up with a phone so he could look credible for job applications), I gave him my card, but something was missing. $24 to be exact. See, one of the local hostels promised to give him a room for 5 days for $24 (instead of the 2 days for $24) – but he didn’t have the money. He asked, and I gave it to him and as we were walking out he promised to pay me back after his first paycheck.

“How about you just treat me to a movie instead?”


On the way out, we noticed that the seemingly perfect weather had turned to rain. This elicited a comment from Darrell, “Looks like you really did save me tonight.” The truth is though, he saved himself – throughout all of his ordeal, including being severely physically injured and betrayed by a loved one (the circumstances that led him to being homeless), the one thing he never did was blame anybody. He made it clear that he takes responsibility for his life, and he chooses to maintain a positive attitude.

Driving home, I paused and realized that for whatever it was that I gave him, I surely received much much more within.

I did say “many new friends,” and that’s just the beginning. Then there’s last night, when I went to the birthday gathering for my friend Kelley. I didn’t know anybody there, except for one person – Rebecca. She’s a delightful new person I met recently that I’ve enjoyed getting to know, so I was glad to connect with her. In the course of conversation, I also met two other people – Rob who was a gang member in Queens who never graduated high school… and is now a doctor of holistic medicine – and Angela who is a contortionist / aerialist for the circus… you know, like Cirque du Soleil and stuff like that. I was fascinated to learn that she wasn’t born with these amazing stretching abilities, but rather, that she had worked on them just like any other skill or talent that is developed.

We all exchanged contact information, and as most people had left Kelley’s gathering we decided to head on over to another bar. There we had some great conversation, chocolate lava cake (chocolate will get me *every* time), and we noticed that there was a widescreen computer monitor with internet access. One of my new friends figured that rather than wait to get home to connect, we might as well just get on Facebook there and add each other as friends.

It wasn’t until then that I realized, Facebook was no longer just a website. It’s not just a place where friends connect. It had become a verb. We were not “on Facebook” nor “connecting through Facebook.” Technically speaking, we were “Facebooking” from a bar. We had officially “Facebooked.” Yes, I’m declaring it officially – Facebook is now a verb.

All in all it was a delightful evening, and I was glad to have met another two new friends who are interested in spiritual topics and certainly don’t fit within the mold of conventional society. On the way out, since I’m still relatively unfamiliar with the area, I asked where the best route to the highway was. Rob kindly directed me, so I hopped in my car and drove off.

And just as quickly as I hopped into my car… so did she.

Who, you might ask? I don’t know. Some random woman seriously just jumped in my car and asked for a ride home! We chatted for a while in the car and got to know each other, and it turns out lately she’s just been trusting her intuition and going with the flow. Considering she ended up in my car, I’d say her intuition was pretty much right on. And the Universe must have been conspiring in her favor because the light was red — which was the only way I’d have been going slow enough for her to have the opportunity to jump in my car.

I’ll spare you the details of most of that conversation, including the end when I dropped Jamie off and we exchanged contact info. But what I will share is one small tidbit which I found very appropriate given my week, and given the topic of this blog post:

Jamie: “So how do you like Portland?”

Me: “Well, I don’t like the winters. They’re too cold for my tastes. I do love the spring, summer, and fall though – the weather is just amazing. And I also really enjoy the people here because they’re so friendly… I mean seriously…”

and with a smile, I finished that thought with:

“Random people just jump in my car.” 🙂

It’s All Fun And Games Until Somebody Loses An I

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

Most likely while growing up, you heard the phrase, “It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.” Parents often use this threat as a means to control their kids. Mind you, their intent is well-meaning to protect the child from getting hurt, but still, it is a control mechanism.

Oftentimes we view control as being a “bad” thing, yet we don’t see that at the root of all control is love. Love is the foundation which causes the desire and perceived need to control because without that love for something, there would not be a need to try and control the things that we fear will take that something away.

The ego is very much like that loving, controlling parent. The ego believes it knows what is best for us, and thus, it tries to control our behaviors to fit what it believes is our greatest good. So in that way, the ego is actually behaving very lovingly towards us, even if we perceive its actions in a negative light.

When we try to eradicate the ego, when we try to get rid of it, it becomes stronger. Why? Because it’s acting out of LOVE! And as we all know, love tends to be an extremely powerful force. Therefore, by truly understanding that the ego acts out of love, we can learn to live in harmony with it. In fact, we can actually work with the ego to move towards our higher spiritual goals that we previously believed the ego was trying to prevent us from reaching. Here’s how…

1) Ask The Question
The next time your ego acts out and you find yourself doing or thinking something that isn’t the way you’d like to live, pause for a moment and ask yourself this question: “How could this be beneficial to me?” The point of asking this question is to answer all hypothetical ways (without judgment) in which the behavior could be helpful to you.

Let’s use an example and pretend that you have a difficult time going to sleep. Here’s a list of reasons why it might be beneficial to not go to sleep:

  • It means I’m not awake as long to do productive things
  • Being awake protects me from having bad nightmares
  • If I’m awake, then I feel safer that nobody will physically harm me
  • When I sleep I feel absolutely nothing, like I’m dead. I’m scared I won’t wake up.

You see, those are a few reasons why we might not be able to sleep. Notice anything in common? They’re all protective instincts coming from the ego… they’re all with the intent of love. By recognizing this, we are empowered to then work with the ego and find a more meaningful solution.

2) Feel The Answers
The next thing to do is look at the reasons you listed. Say one out loud, close your eyes, and focus your attention on area of your belly just below your ribs. You are listening to see if this reason you spoke out loud causes a reaction in you… something that says, “Yes, that feels like it could be the reason.”
Maybe the first one will cause a reaction, maybe you won’t find a reaction until the last one. However, assuming you’ve exhausted all possibilities as to why you might have the upsetting behavior or thought, then repeating this process with each possibility will eventually identify exactly why it is happening.

3) Thank Your Ego
Once you identify the reason, the next thing to do is THANK YOUR EGO for acting out of love and protecting you in that way. Gratitude is key here because it recognizes that the ego isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just not focused on the same set of priorities as you are. 🙂 This is fundamentally important to this process because it enables you to build a meaningful relationship with your ego built on trust, and more importantly, respect.

4) Give Your Ego A New Reason
Now that we have thanked the ego, we must release it from its previous duty. Let it know that its original purpose is no longer needed, and that you would like it to take on a new purpose. This new purpose should reinforce the way you want to now live, for example, to be able to fall asleep easily at night from now on. The goal here is to continue building that relationship with your ego in a positive and healthy way. Remember, it wants to show it’s love for you! What better way than appreciating what it’s done and now giving it a brand new way to show it’s love for you?

It’s important to make sure your ego knows why you want this new behavior, so the more justifications you can find the better. Therefore, as an additional exercise to help identify the new reasons, you can use a similar process as step 1. Instead of asking a question about why the behavior is bad, instead, ask why the newly desired behavior is good. Following our example we would ask the question, “Why is it beneficial to fall asleep easily and quickly?”

  • I awake more rested and can be more productive throughout the day
  • I can enjoy my dreams
  • I can release the stress of the previous day
  • I can wake up early to enjoy a sunrise / make a nice breakfast / workout / etc
  • When I sleep I feel extremely at peace

Now you have a full list of reasons to justify to your ego why this new behavior is in your best interests, and that will help guide your ego to continue acting out of love for you… now in line with your goals!

That’s the basics of the process – try it out, and let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below!

Logo design by Shimmering Wolf | Implementation and WordPress Customizations by Jason Seale.