May 31, 2011


Hello and beautiful morning to All!

I hope you are feeling alive and living out the gifts of your potential today.

I had a much needed day off yesterday. After I came in and wrote the blog yesterday morning, I went and got a massage. Then I made my way home to spend some time in my rock garden expressing myself through unbound play.

I had great fun and really got a great workout!

Here you can see what I refer to as my “King Stack”. This is the tallest stack I’ve ever built alone. It is 20 levels of rock high.

I worked diligently for about three hours building it and when I was putting the cap-stone on, I lost my balance a little and nudged it just hard enough to topple the top couple stones. When they fell, they took every level down to about the fourth level along for the ride. I had a moment of breathlessness.

It’s easy to fall in love with your creations, even before they finish coming out of the birth canal!

Sticking to the principles of zen, I just smiled and stuck with the realization that Spirit had spent the first three hours teaching me the plan, and so I would spend the next few hours mastering the plan!

As you can see in the photo, there’s some delicate balancing going on. This stack is so tall that I had to stack big rocks up like steps to get to where the black stones begin.

Soon, I ran out of reach; that’s when it gets dangerous, particularly if you really want to complete the project. For the first time ever, I had to go in the house and get out little dusting ladder. Even that wasn’t tall enough; I kept losing the cap stone due to being too shaky. I had to go find another big stone to set on the top level of the stepladder and balance atop of that with another foot resting on the stack.

Finally, after some rest and deep breathing, I was able to cap this baby. By the time I’d completed it, I’d been working in the garden for a good six hours and my feet and hands were delightfully raw.

I can feel my day as I walk and even as I type right now!Lovely to remember my joy!

In this photo, you can get a sense of what my playpen looks like. I’m constantly amazed at how many people stop to take photos of my rock art.

I’ve learned over and over again that whenever we create out of love, without attachment, people are attracted to our offerings.

Another little observation that has been amazing to me is that whenever I go up on the roof of my garage or house to view the rock garden, the rocks, without my being consciously aware, create a pattern on the ground that looks like a giant heart. If you look at the image, you can see my meditation seat on the left in a stone circle. That would be the left lobe of the heart looking down at the top of the heart from above.

The circle of stone around my tallest stack on the right is the right lobe of the heart. The tip of the heart is where the tiny stack next to the road is. I’ve learned that love expresses itself in both the seen and the unseen, the obvious and the subtle.

May your heart be open to expressing itself so that you can enjoy the seen and the unseen.

As I often say to my patients and students – Love is a boomerang. My neighbors have shown me that, in the most unexpected ways, love always comes back to roost.


We all begin our lives as beautiful, honest, loving, creative, fully expressive babies. We are generally showered with praise and appreciation from parents and family members. When we make mistakes or damage things our parents and siblings value, blame is generally withheld because they know that we are babies and don’t know any better.

Once we begin talking, using works like momma, daddy, yes and no, people around us assume that because we can say four words, we can understand the whole language and the implications of the words we use.

Now, the same happenings that once were overlooked out of love and understanding are seen and acted upon as though we are going against someone’s directives or wishes. The same acts that were recently seen as being natural acts of baby expression now draw harsh voices, commands, and criticism. “Oh, isn’t s/he so cute” turns into, “JOHNY, I TOLD YOU A THOUSAND TIMES NOT TO TOUCH THAT!”

Soon, this turns into, “BAD BOY! IF YOU DO THAT AGAIN I’LL HAVE TO SLAP YOU!” Sooner than later, THE SLAPPING, CONTROLLING, CONFINING, CRITICIZING, LABELING AND JUDGING becomes far more dominant as the theme of interaction than the acts of love and appreciation that were our introduction to family life.

It is through these acts of manipulation that we learn to manipulate self and other.

As this process occurs, the child is introduced to the polarities of love, which gives birth to emotional polarities. There are only two root emotions. They are:
• Love
• Fear

Love is represented by acts of inclusion. Fear is represented by acts of exclusion.

A child, or anyone, even animals and plants, all respond favorably to acts of love or inclusion. Acts of inclusion create safety within.

As long as guidance is given from the heart, corrections in thoughts, words and deeds can be absorbed and acted upon without fear being the driving motive.

Human beings are naturally creative and loving. When guided by love and affection, all human beings naturally seek to create beauty within and around themselves; where there is love, it is safe to experiment and grow. Once we begin experiencing the pains of separation, we quickly learn that we must do what we are told if we want to feel loved.

This is where our first scars are laid. And through these scars, we will look and feel every person, place and thing for the rest of our lives until we come to know the truth of love and have healthy guides to lead us to our own Self-Realization.

To teach us how to find the truth of love within ourselves without the influence of parents and others that may have scarred us, knowingly or unknowingly.

Life Without Praise and Blame
What would your life be like without praise or blame?

Without praise, would you find yourself acting out in attempt to verify your own worthiness? What would/does that look like to you, to others?

Without blaming, how would you justify your own value, position, or establish your sense of rank among others?

Could you feel safe knowing that everyone is loving the best they can with the love training they’ve had?

Could you learn to share your observations out of love and compassion for another human being and offer suggestions for achieving their dream without labeling or making them bad or wrong?

Could you connect before you correct or offer your observation?

Once the praise and blame virus infects us, we begin creating masks. Our ego learns to paint itself up, creating the mask that meets the expectations of self and others.

As Allan Watts rightly says of the ego, “At one end is a set of teeth, and at the other end is an ass!”

The bird in my mask represents the soul. The soul is consciousness. Consciousness is as a light, and the mask is the lampshade.

With each mask we wear to gain praise or avoid blame or judgment, our light is dimmed. Without realizing it, the Unconditional Love of consciousness becomes conditioned and projects through our masks, distorting our view or reality – what IS.

Now, when we look at a woman, we don’t see her, we see our mother.

When we interact with other males, we don’t see or hear them, we are hyper-tuned to our father’s expectations and the fears those expectations have created.

If a horse hurts us accidently as a child and we don’t understand the needs of a horse or how to handle horsiness, we may forever hold a grudge against horses.

Now, someone offers to take you horseback riding and even though a part of you would love that experience, the wounded child in you can’t let go of that day you got stepped on by that damn horse! Though your soul is saying, “Yes! Let’s go ride horses!”, the horse-mask you wear reacts by creating fear and separation from a genuine opportunity to be included by horses and riders.

You think you are creating safety, but you are really isolating yourself from Love’s many wonderful opportunities.

Are you brave enough to look honestly at your own life and see how often your masks are guiding you to acts of exclusion – fear based behavior?

Are you any better off than someone who constantly seeks praise to validate their own self-worth?

Standing right next to you is another friend who responds to the offer to ride horses with a solid “Yes!”. But this person isn’t avoiding blame, they seek attention, validation. Though they are not fearful of a horse event, they are fearful that they may not be noticed, that they may be average or even below average.

Such a person may stay up all night thinking of all the things they need to do to be good when riding a horse. It is as though they’ve been studying for an exam instead of relaxing with the joy that soon, they will be riding horses.

When it comes time to ride the horses, the praise seeker, often without realizing it, will often appear as, and act as the teacher’s pet. They will emulate their every move and often even emulate their every word.

Some will seek praise by following those commands better than everyone else so the teacher will notice; they learned to get love by way of praise, which comes by way of conforming.

If that isn’t enough, some will exceed the boundaries of their own inner-sense of safety and security by becoming the class clown or performing attention getting stunts. They may choose to ride their horse backward as a time when everyone can see in hopes of getting praise. They may fall off too!

When they fall off, will their masks of attention getting become broken? Will they ever ride horses again? Will it be that damn horses fault?

The Offering
If we begin each day with the intention of expressing our love and learning to do that better, we put ourselves in position to be honest with ourselves.

Being honest with yourself means acknowledging your own accomplishments and celebrating within. That way, you don’t need someone else to tell you or show you what you already know.

When praise comes from to such a person, it is graciously received, but isn’t an impetus for behavior change, nor is it motive to conform.

If we make a mistake, we don’t need to blame ourselves to the degree that we know we were doing our best and weren’t attention getting.

If someone criticizes us and acts as though we were being stupid or irresponsible, we can allow that to happen without losing ourselves. We can do this because we know the truth within; that we were doing our best and had no ill intentions.

We can feel safe, learn, and move on with the creative process.

Today, I will be aware whenever my actions are motivated by seeking praise or avoiding judgment from others. When I need praise, I will be brave enough to give it to myself so I don’t depend on others to make me feel safe or valuable.

When the urge to judge or label others arises, I will immediately ask myself if I’m making an observation (seeing what is without projecting) or if I’m diagnosing. I will accept responsibility for my knowing that when we diagnose someone, they may believe it.

If they believe it, they may create another mask to survive me, or, they may actually manifest the disease that naturally grows from the seed I’ve labeled with a name, such as “idiot”, “slack ass”, “pussy”, or “weakling”.

I invite you to join me today.

Now, almost 50, I’ve come to realize that if I can create joy within myself, I can be more honest about my needs and my offerings to others.

I’ve realized the origins of many of the masks that I’ve healed, and the ones that still love to rise up in attempts to feel valued or avoid the pain of judgment.

Realizing that the devil you know is always better than the devil you don’t know, I now embrace my masks.

Once I identify one, I follow it back to its roots so I can establish motive. Then, through my newly cultivated awareness, I seek to love and nurture the little human in me that enjoys loving and participating in life.

I’ve found that the less masks I wear, the more I can see the truth of others and the safer I feel having empathy and compassion for them, for now, I recognize the nature of mask oriented behavior.

To a day without praise seeking or blame avoidance.

To a day of observations without judgments.

To a day of love!

Love and chi,
Paul Chek