Walk the Path Overgrown

Ann Oswald Laird: My mission is to empower and provide resources for every sentient being and to access the universal energy that flows in vast abundance.


presence of god

An Act of Being Pious

I cannot remember when I first knew that I was not alone. Growing up as a middle child of five with my Mom, Dad, Nana and Grandfather there was little time to ever really be alone, but I tried. I would ride my bike, climb trees, or just run around the block as fast as I could, so fast and determined to get to a place where I would be alone.

Don’t misinterpret, I love my family and they love me. It was because of our love for each other that I felt safe and compelled to explore the vast neighborhood before me. The ache within pushed me to be alone, to be silent and to do so with any opportunity that presented itself. More so, I knew as a young person that I was not running from something, but to something.

It was this persistent knowingness from within that called me to be alone.  However, in my youth I soon came to discover that to be alone may sometimes come in relations to being with others.  As always when you are a child there are responsibilities and my favorite one was taking out the garbage. In a funny way it was the chore that I really looked forward to.

 Speaking of funny our dad was my rock, my mentor and my comedian. His ability to take a mundane task and turn it into an afternoon production was his gift.  He never did anything halfway.  It was all or nothing.  You could see this expressed in the way he loved my mom.  The way he talked to her, the way he called her Em, and the way he looked at her. When he looked at her it was always as if he was seeing her for the first time.

So you might be asking, how is this all going to come together? My dad had this funny way of doing the garbage and I do mean “doing.” For him it was a ritual, a project, and more so a family production.  Now mind you this was before recycling.  For him assembling the trash began with tearing the cereal boxes into tiny little pieces, then moved to sorting glass jars from aluminium cans, and ended with folding newspapers with the skill of a paper carrier. And doing it all so he could gently place it all back into one bag.  It was an art and my dad was the artist.

So picture this, it’s Sunday afternoon and my dad is heading toward the kitchen. You begin to hear the kitchen closet squeak as he gently opens the door. The sound ripples throughout our home to cue my family to take their places.  My three brothers bee line to the front door, my sister heads for her bedroom, and my mom picks up the phone to call one of her many friends.  While I stand in the front hallway as if I am a crossing guard making sure everyone safely makes it to their destinations.

The constant background noises of a family of 8 is nearly quiet except for the last slamming of the doors and my mom’s melodramatic whispers, “oh, really, oh no, she did, no way.” It was as if the home itself took a sigh of relief then my dad turns to me and gives a big smile.  I smile back intrigued and fixated, as if we are sharing in on a secret and the secret is that we are alone, just me and my dad, connected and in the moment.

Thomas Merton says it brilliantly, “His presence is present in my own presence. If I Am , then He is. And in knowing that I Am, if I penetrate to the depths of my own existence and my own present reality, the indefinable “am” that is center I pass into the infinite “I AM” which is the very name of the Almighty.” It is in this I AM Presence that my dad and I connect to the infinite, the universe.

For me, my dad was at home in the universe. He was connected to the universe and experienced total universality of all things. He had a personal relationship with his tasks and his experiences. For him taking out the garbage was an opportunity to be fully present, to be a witness. It was as if he was so present to the process that it was here that he was fully connected to his spiritual practice. My dad was mindful to his connection to nature, all creatures, humanity, and the spirit of God. His Sacred Exchange was the reality that our spirit extends beyond our immediate boundaries. Our influence is vast and universal. In some way my dad knew that the act of being present is purposeful. His commitment was a pious act.

Devoted to his task, I watched as my dad began the tearing, shredding, tinkering, sorting, crumbling and smashing as he would then carefully place each piece in its appropriate place. Upon completion he would smile once again and hand me the bag as he would turn and walk away. I would be standing alone holding the bag honored to once again take it out to the curb.


Piety is the bridge between the natural and spiritual world. It is through devotion to nature, family, and community that one seeks and finds solitude. It is in the nurturing and tending to the relationship with our connection to All that we find happiness and contentment.

Philip Boeman Eastburn 1915-1993

Flip and Em heading to Niagara Falls on their honeymoon
Flip and Em heading to Niagara Falls on their honeymoon

A Journey to Motherhood

The greatest hunger for an individual is not satisfied by food, nor is it fulfilled by acquiring money, success or even the love of another person. The greatest hunger for an individual is insatiable and is in direct relation to the presence of something far greater than self. Let’s just say that to engage in the presence of something far greater than self requires only one commandment: Be still.

However, many of us have forgotten how to be still and the reasons are plain to see. Yet to be still is the key that unlocks the hidden dimensions of infinite possibilities. The inability for us to be still is in direct relations to the tension that exists between our loneliness and our solitude. To be still is the bond that transforms us from loneliness to solitude.  It is the bond that quiets the Self, to hear the still voice within and unveils our connection to Source.

Thomas Merton says, “Actually what it comes down to is that I shall certainly have solitude but only by a miracle and not at all by my own contriving. Where? Here or there makes no difference. Somewhere, nowhere, beyond all “where.” Therefore, let’s suggest that through our spiritual practice of stillness we come to know what it means to heal and move through adversity, to reveal our Self in revelation, the mystery of something far greater than self.

Profoundly my road to motherhood was an opportunity to move through adversity and reveal my Self in revelation to the mystery. For many, the ability to mother is as easy as blending together flour, two eggs, a little shortening, add some cream, and voila, a bun in the oven. On the other hand, I was presented with a ten-year journey of obstacles, disappointments and challenges that cultivated in me a desire to know my strengths and my weaknesses. Let’s just say that my journey to motherhood was an opportunity to step out of what it means to be challenged and to cultivate my connection with the still voice within. You know the one that gently guides us, “Come over here. Come over here. Come over here”. ‘

Now ponder for a moment and ask yourselves, where is my still voice and am I listening?

Lao Tzo said it brilliantly, “Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises itself?” He is asking us to take the time to cultivate a peace within so that we can allow the inspiration or the emotion to move through us. It is if to say, let the energy move through you and not be you.

What would it be like to let go of your limitations and trust that you are not alone? It is as if someone has your back and they are holding the state of pure potentiality and possibilities for you. You are guided with information or experiences to move you closer to your heart’s desire. All it ask’s of you is to let go of the stories, the chatter and the fear that blocks your ability to receive. To be still at times is in direct relation with the tension that exists between what our mind is telling us to do and what our heart is asking us. It is in this tension that we struggle. It is here that sometimes we find ourselves standing at a crossroad.

Which path do we walk upon? My paths were many and rightly so. No one would have thought different of me if I chose the path of suffering by creating a story, living in denial and avoidance. In fact, I think many would have preferred that choice. It was the path that was most traveled. However, I chose to hear the still voice within and to move out of my comfort zone, to step on to new terrain and walk the path overgrown.

Merton reflects to God, “You have called me into this silence to be grateful for what silence I have and to use it by desiring more”.

Like Merton I desired more. I desired motherhood. Throughout this journey Source was preparing me to be a leader and to do so without a play book. I was a pioneer who was traversing new territories without a map and seeking higher truths without Scripture to follow. I was in union with a force so real and so intimate that I never doubted my pursuit of motherhood. I was called to move beyond the norm, to trail new paths and to do so with only the still voice of unwavering knowledge.

You know what I mean, the still voice that calls us to move beyond our fears, our physical, emotional and mental pain. The voice within that says go there, it’s ok, you are loved, keep trying, you know you can….It was as if I became a warrior with a desire so compelling. So compelling that I chose to trust, to let go, to move beyond the appearance of obstacles and to go the distance. The voice that reassured me that I was not alone, resourceful and on the right path.

Now I say to you with change there is always resistance and you might ask, what if the resistance gets the best of me? I say what if it doesn’t? What if you are guided from within?  And from within you are experiencing life in a more magical way, a life with miracles. I say, desire more, be more, lead without knowing and trust the process. In doing so, you will hear the still voice within that is moving you forward. Your heart’s desires will unfold and you will transcend the density and live the life you were born to live. You will meet your challenges resourced and you will move beyond adversity. You will be in union with Source guided by the still voice within to manifest your heart’s true desires.  On Easter Sunday April 19, 1992 I was blessed by the stars with the birth of our son Frank. Honored by his presence and his persistent calling through Source to be born I am a mother.

I dedicate this page to my son Frank who has profoundly called me to go within, to let go and to allow opportunities for miracles to be present. I love you. Mom

Mom and Frank




Gatekeeper Serapis Bey

Templated Energetic Activation of Light.

The Activate template is an archetype for change as it ignites movement and embodies the assistance of Serapis Bey. Although there can be resistance to change, remember that change is a constant occurrence from one moment to the next.

The Activate template ignites a state of motion or actions that are in alignment with the Soul’s Divine Purpose. Your Divine Blueprint awakens and the agreement between your I Am Presence and Divine Will moves to the for-front allowing you to transcend density and or attachments.

Creates “guide posts” in this atmosphere of free will so that you can find and follow your path with ease and Grace. Thus, it opens an awareness at a deep level, perhaps one that cannot yet be put into words for it is sacred beyond belief. In doing so, your move through that which has impeded your spiritual journey manifesting the highest and best expression.

It is the aligning with one’s Divine Will that initiates an awareness of one’s ability to co-create with higher vibrational Beings. Embrace the removal of density through the steps of allowing, awareness, witnessing and letting go. It activates guidance from all potentiality. It facilitates changes that are unavailable to common experiences of the Dimension at hand. The veiled, the unforeseen is activated.

Ignites movement and Initiates the qualities of Serapis Bey, Just Do It. Engages in the process of the acceleration of higher vibrations to facilitate shifts in the consciousness of Self and Oneness Consciousness. Calls Spirit to co-mingle with One’s I AM Presence to bring forth Truth within a situation/ question. Grounds in neutrality manifesting without the attachments of All who are interacting.

Manifestation is from Spirit or Oneness Consciousness.

Embrace Miracles, pure potentiality and to do so in the Light.

Benefits group practices releasing attachments of participants to enable data streaming of information ********************************************

Our mission is to Light the Way for you to embody what it means to be an Ascended Being.

Templates are an energetic activation of Light, a matrix, a morphic field of information that is always in manifestation. A complex spiritual dynamic simplified into one energetic tool. Enables you to access a larger template of information without cluttering the mind with a multitude of details and fixed ideas. The symbol has a potentiality to shift all or any potentiality. All the user has to do is to utilize the symbol with focused attention and allow the template to manifest the Divine outcome. The beauty of the templates is that all you have to do is just Be. A wellness practice that teaches you to not think.

The Concept of Emptiness

There are concepts in the western philosophy that are unable to define those found in eastern thought.  Buddhist philosophy covers a large spectrum some of which are metaphysics, epistemology and ontology.  One must be aware that conventional western thought is ill-equipped to address certain, perhaps numerous Buddhist concepts.  One of those concepts is emptiness.  The Buddhist understanding of emptiness is unprecedented in western philosophy.  This is not to say that the western is inferior to that of the east, rather it claims that traditional western thinking is ill-equipped to understand the true nature of this concept.  There is no fault in being ill-equipped since the problem rests in one’s nature of thought.  The west has cultivated a formula of evaluation that is contrary to many eastern ideas. Perhaps this same argument is applied to the east.  Rightfully so, the east may not understand and/or translate western thought appropriately.

This essay is not an attempt to compare or contrast eastern and western thought.  However, it is important to understand that the basic tenets of philosophy between these distinct schools conflict with each other.  The use of western themes is used to illustrate the differences.  Furthermore, historically the description of eastern concepts has been proven to be a difficult endeavor worthy of extensive research.  This essay is an attempt to clearly communicate the understanding of “emptiness” in its appropriate context.

The traditional western thinker attempts to eliminate the dichotomy of cause and effect in exchange for an a priori justification of causality.  On the other hand, Madhyamika philosophy is not concerned with finding an objective, value-free truth, like its counterpart, regarding the causal relationship.  Its main concern is finding a pragmatic sense of purpose in the relationship between cause and effect.  The debates of whether or not an object is real differ in eastern and western philosophy.  Many westerners rely on the concept of platonic forms understanding that these ideas or forms are real, they exist.  Madhyamika philosophy states that things are not in reality produced, however, they do serve as objects that are readily perceived in our everyday experience.  This is to say that although one perceives an object, say a chair, it truly does not exist.  Rather the chair is merely a sum of reducible parts that only exists in the conventional world.  Furthermore, the concept of chair as a form does not truly exist.  This idea is in direct opposite to the western understanding.  Although some westerners may agree that the chair as a whole does not truly exist since it will someday deteriorate, they do maintain that the intellectual or conceptual form exists.  The thought that the chair really exists is merely an illusion, this concept with become clearer throughout the essay.

In order to understand emptiness it is essential that one understands dependent origination.  Dependent origination is presented as a universally valid pragmatic interpretation of causality.  Everything is subject to the concept of cause and effect.  This model has both a philosophical and soteriological understanding.  Philosophically speaking where there is a cause, there must be an effect.  And where there is an effect, there must be a cause.  The model of cause and effect truly has no meaning outside of each other.

In a soteriological understanding cause and effect teaches one about the true nature of things.  The understanding of the concept of interdependence as illustrated in the concept of cause and effect will bring one closer to the true nature of reality.  In Buddhist terms, when one realizes the true nature of things, including one’s own self, the illusion of the world will be dispelled.  Penetrating the illusion is liberating and core to the Buddhist tradition.  The penetration of illusion eliminates suffering, which is done by following the Four Noble Truths taught by the Buddha.  To clarify this concept it is important to understand the relationship between illusion, let’s use the term ignorance instead, and cause and effect/condition.

Buddhist thought identifies two significant principles: First, that as conscious human beings, none desire suffering and secondly, suffering originates from its causes and conditions.  Furthermore, Buddhism asserts that the root cause for ones pain and suffering is ignorance.  Pain and suffering do not exist independently; rather they are merely products of causes and conditions.  The ignorance of the nature of suffering becomes the catalyst for continuous pain and suffering through one’s life.

The continuous chain of cause and effect merely gives an illusion that things are real.  If one looks closely, it will become evident that object/things are comprised of a series of causes and conditions.  Returning to the chair as an example, the chair is merely an illusion comprised of countless causes and conditions.  However, the chair still has value serving a purpose in the conventional world.

Like the example of the chair, all objects in the external or conventional world appear to us as independent, self-sufficient entities.  However, if one looks closer they will discover that they are purely a spiraling collection of causes and conditions.  The question still stand, what does this mean?

This means that all objects, things and/or entities to include the human person are empty of intrinsic nature.  Nothing is absent of causes and conditions.  To say that an object exists, that object would have to be static.  However, we know this not to be true.  The human body for example is continuously changing, the blood moving through our veins, the movement of our muscles and/or the constant division of cells. Emptiness is the reality that objects as they are perceived are merely illusions.  Although the profound insight that both a material object and the self are empty of intrinsic nature, it is the realization of the absence of self nature that truly liberates an individual.  Realizing that one is empty of intrinsic nature is not an intellectual function, it is experiential.  As a result, the true concept of emptiness is truly ineffable.   However, words have been used to try to communicate, in a philosophical sense, an understanding of emptiness.  Ultimately, emptiness is a conventional designation.  It is simply an ordinary word used to accomplish a specific purpose.  Emptiness as a convention is also empty because of it own definition.

The dangers of the term emptiness rest in the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the word.  Often in the west it has been associated with annihilation and nihilism.  Emptiness is misrepresented in these two definitions.  The root of this problem relates back to what was discussed earlier.  The paradigm for what is real, ultimate or true is very different in the east than the west.  Because of the cultural divide it is more likely that these errors were not committed out of malice, but out of ignorance.

The realization of emptiness is a profound and liberating experience in Buddhism.  To realize emptiness is to realize the ultimate nature of all things.  This experience is called enlightenment.  As mentioned, the understanding of emptiness is not an intellectual function; it is an experiential and/or spiritual function.  The Buddha was enlightened after years of meditation and spiritual practice.  The Buddha cultivated and developed wisdom according to the Four Noble Truths.  Through his persistent investigation into the nature of the reality of things as they are, the Buddha discovered the secret of emptiness.  Once one is enlightened there is no more illusion.  The concept of emptiness is a medicine for a specific ailment, the disease of clinging.  Cling simply relates to the attachment to the illusion that things are real, that they have intrinsic nature and are capable of supplying happiness.  Unfortunately, this is not true because clinging only results in suffering.  Emptiness is the cure that allows one to discover the cause of the problem.

Accordingly those who have attained enlightenment are the happiest beings in the world.  They are free from complexes and obsessions that torment others.  The one who is enlightened is in the pure service of others since there is no thought of the self.  The Buddha ministered for forty-five years after he was enlightened.  He taught others the way toward enlightenment.  He taught the emptiness of all things therefore capable of penetrating and experiencing the true nature of all entities.  Conversely, how does one operate in the world after experiencing such a profound reality that nothing has intrinsic nature?

One can only speculate what the Buddha experience each day after realizing emptiness.  Certainly, it is apparent that his thoughts were clear and concise.  He was able to articulate his experience into a conventional designation as one looks to the numerous sutras written.  Historically it is obvious that the Buddha fully participated in the convention world, but was he also somewhere else?  Could he transcend dimensions? Could he see the atomic structure of all animate an inanimate entities?  Where does one begin to answer these types of questions?  In short, the Buddha was the greatest quantum physicist able to see the nature of all things.

Works Cited

 Gethin, Rupert.  The Foundations of Buddhism.  Oxford Univ. Press:  Oxford, 1998.

Huntington, C.W.  The Emptiness of Emptiness:  An Introduction to Early Indian 

Madhyamika.  Hawaii Press: Honolulu, 1989.

Rahula, Walpola.  What the Buddha Taught.  Grove Press:  New York, 1959.

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