lhowell

Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

Recap of Chapter 7 – Finding Who You Truly Are: What it Means to Me

In Book Club on November 1, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Our spiritual journey is never ending as we traverse throughout life.  During the course of this journey, it is important to acknowledge people and let them know how much they are appreciated and valued.  This appreciation goes to all the guys who have joined the No Ego Book Club.  One of these gentlemen is owed a special thanks, Lamonte Bourgeois, the owner of Image Kafe and host of this extraordinary gathering each Tuesday night.

Lamonte Bourgeois and Lafayette Howell

So, chapter 7, was and remains especially pertinent to me and I think, perhaps for others as well.  When Lamonte and I would discuss his vision for the shop before moving to his current location, it was more externally focused (e.g. having social gatherings, watching sporting events, and the like).  At the time, there was never discussion of having a book club.  I must confess, when I first brought up the idea to Lamonte earlier this year, I had my doubts internally, but after seven chapters and a devastating hurricane (Ike), we continue our spiritual journey together.  

What we’ve recognized is that this book club of all men and in particular all African-American men discussing the same book as did Oprah for 10 weeks is a testament that we are aligning with who we truly are and want to be and not necessarily who we THINK we want to be.  

The point of this chapter is best summed up by Ben Miller, one of our members and a customer of Lamonte in which he describes our state of people today: “everybody is friendly, but nobody are friends”.  So just imagine, if you put together creative ideas, passion for who you truly are and not what you think you are combined with the courage to put yourself out there as we did with the No Ego Book Club, special things will happen. 

This is, in many respects, what we are experiencing across the globe with the Presidential election.  We all hope and pray that Barack Obama gets elected without controversy.  Our small book club consisting of over 20 or so African-American men from all professions, with their own stories, represents the dreams and aspirations of Obama.  And just like Senator Obama, we have received inquiries from people who have watched our broadcast from New Jersey and some regular viewers as far away as Ohio and who knows where else.  So, we must believe in ourselves and be in the Present at all times.  Doing so provides no guarantees, but it puts us on a path that is positive and sustainable for children, our communities and the collective humanity.  So, thanks to Lamonte for having the vision to do what he does and the courage to bring us together.  

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Chapter 5: The Pain Body – Recorded 9-9-08

In Book Club on September 10, 2008 at 4:32 am

For those of you who join us in person, you missed the most moving and uplifting conversation to date. Wow!  I just got home from the book club, and talked to Lamonte for about 45 minutes after our session, we would probably still be talking if we did not have to be at work in the morning.  So, for our loyal viewers and the casual viewer, we want you to have immediate access to this session on the The Pain Body.

It’s late right now, but you can expect a much more thorough post in the next day or so as I process and digest the conversation.  There was so much, and much of it is so personal and painful to talk about.  I will however, leave you with some exercises that I shared with the guys to help manage and in some cases rid yourself of the “pain body” as it happens to you.

The pain-body doesn’t want you to observe it directly.  The moment you observe the pain-body, feel its energy field within you and take your attention into it, the identification is broken. A higher dimension of consciousness comes in. It is called Presence. You are now the witness or the watcher of the pain-body.

Here are three ways to observe and dissolve the pain-body:

  • Watch out for any sign of unhappiness in yourself in whatever form—it may be the awakening pain-body. This can take the form of irritation, impatience, a somber mood, a desire to hurt, anger, rage, depression, a need to have some drama in your relationship and so on. Catch the pain-body the moment it awakens from its dormant stage.
  • Observe the resistance within yourself. Observe the attachment to your pain. Be very alert. Observe the peculiar pleasure you derive from being unhappy. Observe the compulsion to talk or think about it. The resistance will cease if you make it conscious.
  • Focus attention on the negative feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don’t think about it—don’t let the feeling turn into thinking. Don’t judge yourself out of it. Stay present, and continue to be the observer of what is happening inside you.

Chapter 5 Preview – The Pain Body this Tuesday

In Book Club on September 6, 2008 at 1:39 am

It seems like it’s been months since the guys met–I guess that what happens when you look so forward to discussing topics that are truly important.  We changed our weekly session now to Tuesdays, starting this coming week on September 9 at 7:30.  I am excited because we will get everyone’s focused attention, because I could not imagine trying to compete with Monday Night Football.  

Next for us is Chapter 5, “The Pain Body“.  There is a quote from the book that sums up what this chapter is all about.  

"Nothing ever happened in the past that can prevent you 
from being present now..." p. 141

This is important for all of us, because we all have pain in some form.  For many of us, it is the dissappointment of one’s father not being available when you really needed him or losing a friend over some bull… that you can’t remember why they are not your friend anymore.  The pain-body is not just about forgiveness, it is BIGGER than that to be sure.  By knowing how the pain-body affects your thinking and approach to situations you can “free yourself” and take off the shackles that keep you from saying to yourself, “shoulda, woulda, coulda”.  By understanding this, you can be Present and conscious in your dealings.  Here is a sneak preview of Chapter 5 with the author, Eckhart Tolle.

This is a BIG DEAL!  Here’s why: if you go into a job interview or dating someone or handling a family crisis, you will get the result you are looking for by NOT carrying the baggage of the past with you ALL THE TIME.  This is what is called, “the angry Black man” or “the militant brotha”.  How we manage the pain-body is the difference between achieving your personal objectives and goals and falling short.  We will have real-life examples to share and discuss, so don’t miss our session this coming Tuesday.  If you can’t make it, you can always tune in and send in your comments online during the broadcast.

Chapter 4 – Live August 25 at 7:30 PM – Sneak Peek

In Book Club on August 24, 2008 at 9:13 pm

From our session last week, there was compelling energy and insights to make sure we are more powerful in how we handle difficult situations.  What you will see is the transformation process in action of raising our consciousness to becoming fully “awake”.  Enjoy this video segment to get a taste of what everyone is talking about, all from the Image Kafe barber shop.  These are real men, discussing real issues in a real way.  Damn!  What more can you ask?

Chapter 1 – Human Consciousness Recap from Monday

In Book Club on August 5, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Huge thanks to Lamont Bourgeois, owner of Image Kafe for hosting and providing the home for our book club.  We started a bit late, but not to worry; once we got started the discussion that took place was moving.  In fact, Oprah would be proud of us.  I sensed at the end of our time that many of us wanted to continue.  For those of you that did not have a chance to attend, we have the full “pre-recorded” session below.  I wanted to get this out sooner rather than later, so once I have time to go back and edit, you will see shorter 2-4 minute clips for those who don’t have a lot of time.

To give our viewers an idea, we had an exceptional group of Black men attending this important event.  We had a 15 year old high school student to 44 years.  From what I observed and what you will observe is something I have always said, which is: “Black men want to have meaningful, relevant conversations.”  Some of the perceptions about Black men and not reading books, while admitted by the guys, it was also clear that all the guys recognize that there was something special taking place.

The key passage that seemed to capture most people’s attention from Chapter 1 was on Page 9 regarding the term “sin”.  Sin has a negative connotation for people especially in the context in which it is used.  However, Tolle presents the Greek translation of “sin” to mean missing “the mark, as an archer who misses the target, so to sin means to miss the point of human existence.”  What was interesting is how we emphasized the point of “living unskillfully, blindly, and thus to suffer and cause suffering.

What made the discussion so lively and captivating was the “energy” you could feel.  If this was a classroom, everyone was locked in and focused, let me tell you.  There was the usual barber shop camaraderie, but there was also a sense of hanging out with your family in your most relaxed state, but with a level of candor and realism that made for compelling interactions between us.

For those who will watch over the Internet, you will become glued to our session because of its rawness and yet honesty that you typically don’t see between Black men and of course most of us did not even know each other.  So, for those who did not attend in person, you missed an exciting and lasting feeling of the journey to living in the Present and the process of simply “Being” and thus happy and content with yourself and not material things and possessions.  We are on this journey, and look forward to seeing you next Monday, August 11 at 7:30 PM (CDT), live from the Image Kafe men’s salon, where you can make an appointment online.