Universal Supply

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The first person who clued me into Universal Supply was my friend Carol, back in 1985. Carol had just turned fifty and was a friend of my teacher, Rockman. She spent a lifetime traveling, raising children on the road and living creatively. She was a thin, beautiful and passionate woman, full of the intensity and enchantment of people who come to Life fresh on a daily basis. Living on the road makes us pay attention. Attention makes us wise, a Celtic word directly linked to “way”’ or “wijs” in proto-Germanic. A wise person knows his ways, the way things move and the ways we can move. She can read the tracks of reality. The ancient wisdom traditions put the initiate, literally, on the road, on his way.

One day Carol welcomed me and with a gorgeous smile and a theatrical sweep of her hand to the entire horizon she said to me, “HEY! Do YOU know what THIS is?” She had just done a slow pirouette as if caressing the entirety of space. “Space?” I queried. “Oh sure, it’s space alright, but it’s much, much more.” And with an impish laugh she said:

“Welcome to Universal Supply! Everything you could possibly desire is within your reach, always in motion, always coming and going and always available to you on one condition: that you move in the direction of what you desire and release what you no longer desire. Everything wants to be desired. It’s simple, but not always easy. You might think I’m kidding you, but if you try it, you’ll discover that I just gave you a very big and practical key to living the life you love.”

That was my quick intro to Universal Supply, but it was going to remain up to me to discover the reality behind what Carol had just called to my attention.

When we find ourselves in a situation we DON’T desire at least we know the nature of our situation. But to move away from that and toward what we DO desire means moving into something unknown, something that could far surpass even what we imagine ourselves capable of desiring. But we don’t know that, because it’s uncertain, it’s Universal Supply and Universal Supply always is more generous than our own little imaginings.

When we are in a situation that we know yet don’t desire it’s easy to forget that the infinite is all around us. It’s easy to become convinced that Life’s a struggle. Everything we do out of our lack of desire, or our timid, half-hearted desire, seems to reinforce this view. We can live out our entire life in the cage of what we know, whether it’s what we “know” about ourselves, about others or about the world. Meanwhile we remain surrounded by everything that we desire.

The principle of Universal Supply is simple: let go of what you do NOT desire and move toward what you do desire, even if you’re not sure what exactly it is. If we’re inside a house and feel low energy and see that the sun is shining outside, go outside.

Start tuning into the qualities of vitality, what makes you feel more vital and what doesn’t. Ask yourself, “What places, what people, what food, what activities or inactivities make me feel more alive?”

Desire isn’t some “thing” that’s lacking, it’s a quality of Life itself, a quality that’s vital and connective and full. It’s not something we need to go in search of, but more of a freedom to simply move away from what causes us to feel small, or defensive and miserable, and to move back into Life, which is alive and moving and constantly recreating and reinventing itself.

So I received Carol’s curious lesson about Universal Supply almost thirty years ago. At the time, I thought it charming, theatrical and somewhat fantastic, to tell you the truth. “Universal Supply.” What a funny notion.

Soon I would discover this same teaching in many different ways: the freedom to move toward LIFE in capital letters, where being ALIVE really means something.

Three Cheyenne friends of mine showed me what is means to MOVE in an ALIVE way. They simply moved, never explaining or justifying what they were doing. One day they’d show up at my place with their car full of gas and $50 and tell me they were hitting the road. Eight months later they’d come back and tell me of their travels to Hawaii and Mexico and all over the United States. Tales of Universal Supply, although they didn’t call it that. They didn’t call it anything. It was simply the way they lived Life.

They could see most people lived in little cages and they weren’t particularly interested in breaking them out of their cages. They understood that the cages not only trapped their inhabitants, they also protected them – because they were domesticated. They were born, raised and bred for being content with life in a cage, for connecting with life indirectly, by way of bosses, priests, politicians and authors of the books they read. A “better life” was a “better idea,” a “better state of mind.” That’s just how and who they were. Part of an ecology within the human experience.

As I began to encounter dimensions of Universal Supply I have had a lifetime of very unusual experiences. I began to learn that we can connect to an energy of Life that is truly extraordinary, mysterious, generous, beautiful, funny and wise. I began to discover what it means to BE rich in Bio-Logical terms. I began to learn that WEALTH is a fundamental quality of everything that is fully alive and is a quality of aliveness.

Each and every single one of us has a quality of aliveness that is peculiar to us. It’s not some recipe that someone can give us and we just follow the directions and proportions and there we are. No, it’s more like the principle of Universal Supply that Carol talked about: we have to find OUR way to make OUR medicine, to connect with Life in a way that is vital and nourishing and allows us to vitalize and nourish the Life around us by being fully alive, paying attention and caring in reality and not just emotionally.

As I began to explore these qualities and possibilities of living I noticed that it seemed that the principles of Universal Supply didn’t work for lots of other people. I met a lot of people who complained constantly and expressed lots of frustration with Life. They asked for help and I tried to help them, usually to no good. Then they would get angry at my notion that they could be happier and not shout and complain and fight and frustrate themselves and those around them so much. “But I LIKE yelling and complaining!” they would say angrily to me.

“Hmmm… okay… I thought you asked me for help.”

“I did, but I don’t want to change.”

Then I would get frustrated, sometimes for months or years on end. Why? Because I tried to convince people whose company was, in reality and overall, NOT enjoyable to me to become enjoyable. Or I would reward myself, as we are trained to do, for being miserable. Or I would wait for permission from someone who was into frustration to do something other than frustration, in other words, to get the heck away from them… With time I learned one lesson: you only live the life YOU choose.

Now I’m not saying weird, random nastiness doesn’t happen to people. It does. And often there’s plenty of warning. But we ignore the warnings. We are raised by parents and teachers who reward us for ignoring their harshness and hypocrisy. We are not taught to pay attention. We are taught to do what we are told, to “behave” and to repeat what we have been told.

What I AM saying is that if we paid a little more attention to where and with whom we spend our time we’d experience way less nastiness and way more brilliance, creativity, playfulness and joy.

Whose permission do YOU need to live the Life you love?

Don’t expect any kudos from the people who don’t live the Life they love for distancing yourself from them. You won’t get their appreciation. What you’ll get is resentment. So make a clean break and move on to where and with whom Life is ON (with capital letters), for you. No explanations. No condemnation. No hesitation. Your LIFE (with capital letters) absolutely depends on it.

Discovering how Universal Supply works, in reality, is very simple:

Move toward what you desire and RELEASE WHAT YOU DON’T! That second part is often the hardest, because we don’t know what’s waiting for us in the direction of our desire, but we DO know what we HAVE even though we no longer want it.

That second part, however, is what allows very unexpected things to unfold in our lives. I have had incredible and altogether unexpected, even unbelievable experiences with this, but only when I dare to cross beyond what I know and into the unknown.

Universal Supply doesn’t work if you try to drag what you don’t desire into the life you desire. You have to let go.

If what I’m letting go of is a person who asked for my help and then resisted my assistance as soon as I gave it, I’m going to have to let go of much more than this person. I’m also going to have to let go of the notion that I’m response-able for someone else, or that I’m here to sacrifice my time and energy for the sake of someone who only flushes it down the toilet. I’m going to have to let go of the notion that I’m here to protect others from my dislike of their way of being.

Universal Supply is simple. What I desire can only be received if my hands and heart are empty of what I don’t. Simple. Your heart’s desire desires good company.


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  1. Michael Ivan

    This learning has been both very difficult and very miraculous for me. Letting my family fall apart and cut each other off–and not being the hero. It meant feeling all the grief I didn’t want to feel. I let them do their thing, go their way, trusting that they’ll learn what’s on their path of learning. I desired a family that lived with the amazing connection and intimacy we’ve shared at times–that I KNEW was possible. And I used to judge people for leaving, for giving up, for quitting on others–and on me. As I let myself let go, I was able to honor and understand and appreciate their letting go. And vice versa–as I was able to honor and understand them letting go, I too was able to let go. I also came to understand WHY some people let go from me–part of it was that I was so much in their face challenging them to face and grow, and to not let go. I could go on and on about what a great journey this has been for me.
    On a similar vein, about desire, a wise teacher once told me, the penis never lies. I discovered how I’d also been forcing myself to produce certain results with women, forcing my body, trying to force my desire. As I began to trust this seemingly crass and silly wisdom, I found a deep freedom. I no longer needed to force myself, or to be afraid to hurt another person when it was time to leave or time to “reject” them. I could just tell them the truth of my body. I could tell them, not in so many words, I don’t have a Hard On for you. Even if I want to, I don’t. Or, in another way of speaking, maybe I don’t have a Heart On for them. Trusting the wisdom of the Life that I Am. Moving on to follow my Tesao!–Brazilian word loosely translating as hard on or turn on but something more. And freeing them to do the same. Why can’t we all have hard ons and hearts on for Life!?! This one piece of wisdom has transformed my life–my relations with women, with myself, with my daily experience. And with my work… it’s allowing me to return to the work that I used to take so seriously, like a religious missionary, and approach it as I gift I get to give WHEN I desire to gift it and IF there is a FELT WELCOME of the receiver. Then giving it is like great sex… pro-creation… a space exists where something beautiful and seemingly miraculous can be born.
    It is of course a journey of ten thousand steps… or ten thousand years… But what a journey!

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