Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Embarking on the Considerative Process

The way we think about our life, other people and our surroundings is crucial in how we feel and what we experience. If we focus too much on our own experience, we lose touch with everything outside of our own self; if we focus too much on other people, we have minimal ability to take care of ourselves. Without due consideration and thorough analysis of our thought processes, we're not engaging efficiently nor effectively in transforming not just our own self but also our community.

It can be a worthwhile effort to consider and challenge the most simple and mundane aspects of life. If we've never given any consideration to our day-to-day activities, we're potentially missing efficiencies and not maximizing our effectiveness. Further, efficient and effective effort on the daily level is highly useful in maximizing our power on the "big" life issues.

When we're not stumbling over our own attempts at progress, our frustration level drops and the momentum builds to push us through and over those big obstacles we face. Also, the lack of friction with our day does not drag us down. Our day then becomes a renewable resource that we can utilize in achieving our objectives and goals.

This daily considerative process should be thorough without being harsh or judgemental. By exploring our daily routine, we have a laboratory in which to change variables and sort through the results. It is oftentimes difficult to link true cause to direct effect. Repetition, however, is bountiful in our daily life. Therefore, we can take note of the direct connection between our thoughts, feelings and actions with our daily life experience.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Drawbacks and the Alternatives of the Elation Zone

Different states of mind are associated with both productive and destructive outcomes. One of the more challenging states of mind is the elation zone, where feelings of positivity are intense, enhanced and sustained. It alters our perceptions and our reactions as well as how we interact with both the environment and others.

We interpret the majority of data as being proof to sustain that elation zone. This elation zone feels as if the tide is high, and we've become immersed in the extraordinary and intense sensations that make up the elation experience. We're so thrilled about how good we feel, we neglect and elect to ignore what we're losing at the expense of gathering and attempting to hold onto that excited, vibrational state in our body/mind connection. Any excited state burns us out when sustained for an extended period.

This heightened state of awareness and action can certainly accumulate a mixed bag of results and effects. The constructive potential is high but so is the potential to destroy and tear down what we see or what we choose to ignore. Redirecting this raw energy can be a critical step in beginning to move forward with a more durable productivity.

If we change how we experience this raw energy, we can transform our present moment tremendously. Instead of directing it externally, we could have a direct experience and sit with the energy and get to know it, we'll learn to adapt it to our needs instead of becoming haphazardly rampant. The attempt here is to disengage the energy from undesirable and unintended consequences. We do not want to lose this personal power zone; we simply wish to channel and harness it effectively and effeciently.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Transforming Home into Healing

The alteration of atmospherics can be a huge distraction from making fundamental, substantial changes in life. There are a few atmospherics, however, that are fundamental to a productive and healthy daily life. The structure of daily home life is one of these fundamental aspects that can eliminate and degrade any positive, productive life output.

Home can be a source of stability, of instability or be entirely neutral as a resource. We must diminish these sources of instability at home. How we accomplish that decrease has been an ever-increasing struggle for modern humans. There are so many mounting issues and areas of distraction possible at home; this is where we begin our journey. Our goal is to have a space where we can renew our spirit and revive our body in every day of our life. The transformative potential in these efforts can be expansive and beneficial.

The mounting pile of valid concerns and ever-increasing issues appears too daunting to tackle alone and is quite individualized. For this reason we will concentrate on dimishining and eventually eliminating areas of distraction at home. When looking at homelife, there are a few obvious needs that we must deliver: rest, replenishment and recreation.

Rest has the appearance of being self-explanatory, yet, it is of the highest imperative to achieve, otherwise there will be no replenishment. Rest is critical to achieve anything substantial and lasting, so it deserves more than just a casual examination.

There are three aspects of our life that require rest: mental, emotional and physical. Without proper rest, none of these life attributes will act effeciently nor effectively. These three aspects intersect and inject everything we want to accomplish.

Mentally and emotionally, we must disengage the mind and the heart from the day's experiences. There are a variety of ways to do this. For some people taking stock of the day's challenges and triumphs can be a highly useful way to let go of the day before we rest. For others, this could become a source of obsession over the challenges and gloating over what we've overcome.

When we take stock of the day, we must avoid making any value judgements, positive or negative; we're taking an inventory in order to take note of what has happened or what hasn't happened, not to obsess and become a greater obstacle. Daily life can present numerous opportunities to tear ourselves down and feel terrible about our life. These are not productive ways of analyzing the efforts and results of the day. We must distance ourselves from guilt, shame and blame tactics, especially against ourselves.

Our efforts aim to disengage from these negative, tear-you-down attitudes and activities and bring the day to a close. If we want to feel terrible about ourselves, analyzing our day can absolutely yield increased terrible thoughts and feelings about ourselves. We must inject patience, compassion and understanding into this effort, or we lose the ability to fully rest our minds and our hearts.

If our mind is spinning out of control with no productive, beneficial results, then we're not resting whatsoever. Every activity leading up to rest and replenishment must be focused on just that. Through the exploration of alternative methods you will discover what works best for you. The key is to make home a renewable source of rest and rejuvenation in all aspects of your life. This is the foundation for transforming your life into a vessel that helps to transform our reality.

Unrestrained Freedom Crisis

Structure, as hampering as it can be on new progress, is critical to building upon previous progress. Unrestrained freedom can yield very destructive consequences. Finding a balance between these competing principles is a constant struggle for us.

A productive, unsuffocated daily structure requires much maintenance and discipline as well as openness and flexibility. The objective is to create a dynamic system in which to live our life. The more complicated the system, the more intensive analysis necessary to maintain it.

That is why we're focused on creating the most simple system possible within the current social structure. Any life within modern day society requires intensive analysis, no matter how simple it is. Too much structure stifles a person. Too little destroys any progress.

It is the lack of an analytical arm in our daily activities that we've been missing. Without it, we've been adrift, momentarily finding valid points. Without structure and analysis of those progressive efforts, we're blind to the potential they offer us and others. We can do this. We must only try.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Beginning Anew

Here we begin anew our drive to rid this self of ignorance.

The daily grind can overwhelm our senses and our perceptions. Keeping all the balls we've decided to juggle in motion may require an enormous amount of mental, emotional and physical resources.

My daily life has become clogged with all this empty activity. We've lost our ability to focus, to drive and to consider anyone including ourselves; we've lost everything imperative to a successful, happy life.

We restart this adventure here and now. We will explore what distracts and dissuades us from this journey. We will be firm with our effort, yet remain patient with ourselves and others as we forge forward.

May we regain our focus and our drive to be successful and happy. May we continue to open others to the true happiness that is just beneath all that they see and experience.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Emotional Dysregulation Concern

Wherever we go, we see people suffering, sometimes silently, sometimes not so silently. What is the primary source of this suffering? Finding the source of a problem is absolutely an essential place to begin this exploration into solving the issue.

We live in a society that is plagued by broken emotional regulatory systems. This lack of a working emotional regulatory system (ERS) is the largest societal concern before every one of us. It will bring about increased conflicts, increased divides and increased dis-ease within our society.

In the age of the internet, social networks and cable television, people are less in touch with each other, less in touch with themselves and less in touch with absorbing different or expansive ideas. More information has created a stress upon humanity.

Technological advances throughout our human history, back to the invention of the alphabet and the printing press, all have taken generations to absorb and incorporate effectively into daily existence. It seems natural, then, that such an all pervasive technological assault would create such an enormous upheaval within our society.

We're going to break this down for our own benefit. Having this nifty idea of an "emotional regulatory system" is just that if we do not lay out what that system actually does and how it works.

We must first lay out that all emotions are based within ourselves only. Emotions are not able to be piped into a human being; emotions are contained entirely within the mind and the self. Certainly, external stimuli can set off an emotional cascade inside of us, but those emotions are always available to each of us.

The primary reason for our broken ERS is the idea that someone or something else is making us feel the way we do. If we do not have an initial understanding that these emotions are our own, we can have no hope of ever doing anything about them. As long as we see our feelings as coming from outside of us, where is the initiative to ever explore those feelings honestly?

In this modern age of on-the-go technology it becomes far too easy for people to just avoid situations and people that trigger intense emotional states within us. We just remove them from our list or from our phone. We stop going to places where we see people who may have a different idea or live differently from us. This self-selecting process away from more difficult emotions makes it less likely that we will ever find a way to effectively handle those emotional states in the future.

People interact with what they agree with only, demean what they most certainly disagree with always and don't care at all about anything they do not already know. The sticky problems never get dealt with or discussed, the differences define us and the other guy is always the enemy. You can see the impact of our broken ERS on a small scale and on a large scale; from politics in our country and in our communities, to politics in the work place and at home.

Emotional dysregulation within ourselves and how that impacts all of us shows how much we need each other. When one hurts, we all hurt. How can we strengthen our ERS? How can we help others turn on their own ERS? There are no easy fixes here.

One of the most critical parts of the mind has stopped working for countless human beings. Before we tackle the larger societal problems, we must activate our own emotional regulatory system and begin strengthening and nourishing it. Thankfully, there are countless experiences in everyday that can aid us in this effort.

We must remind ourselves consistently and constantly that what we feel is our own feeling and that those feelings do not come from anyone or anything else. We are not puppets with emotions for strings. Our emotions are our own. The way we deal with those emotions is also our own.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reality, Memory and Remembering

What is reality? What really is happening? What has already taken place? What will happen tomorrow?

Reality is not something that anyone can ever pin or nail down with any certainty of accuracy. Reality does happen, though. It is memory and the process of remembering that alter our impressions of our past and distorts reality.

One can never reclaim a past reality, nor have that reality interact with our present mental state without altering the initial memory; our mental reality is always in flux.

There are no constants in the mind except for the stubborn view we have of our self. And, self does not exist outside of your own temporal experiences. There is nothing that exists outside of anything, everything and nothing. All three are the same and dependent on the others to exist.

When we begin to hold onto our storylines, we lose present perspective, our present actions lose focus and our intention becomes clouded by our distorted views. This is the fallacy of reality, memory and remembering. The only truth with and in the past is that it's not the here and the now.

The Process of Misunderstanding

Are you encouraging a difference of opinion or seeking a regurgitation of your own views??? Of course, I was not comparing myself to composers, scientists, etc. That was used as an analogy. I didn't think there was right or wrong answers when one comments their own opinion... My opinion is different than yours!
I'm encouraging understanding and patience. You obviously feel very strongly about your own opinion. I make every attempt to go beyond right, wrong and otherwise. I most assuredly bungle that in every interchange. That does not mean I should stop making every effort going forward.

You are commenting on the ideas I've expressed and that I currently am engaged in with my mind and my life. I appreciate every one of these comments, as it exposes to myself what aspects of my process that require a more intensive analysis and further delineation.

If you come to an initial understanding that someone has misunderstood what you're attempting to describe, would you not make every attempt to rid the exchange of that misunderstanding?

These are all words, and words do have meaning beyond the simple definition. Words have power from our own history, a history that others sometimes do not share. It's like reading any of this to someone who does not speak or understand English whatsoever. These are just words; they are truly meaningless by themselves. It is the intent and the perspective behind the words where the truth resides.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ridding of Ignorance, Re-Invigorated

Your cynicism is showing!! The pendulum swings both ways in positive contributions and negative ones. I dare you to argue the work of scientists to create vaccines against polio, malaria, and name a few. Their lifetime efforts of research and development were worthy endeavors. Can you state that works of literature that have taken years to write in order to teach and challenge thought of the reader wasn't a worthy endeavor? Can you believe that our best composers who took years developing their talents to compose great music for which generations would continue to enjoy were not contributing valuably to society?? I continue to believe that only being concerned with the moment and now is immature and irresponsible.
Humanity has lost much that is not recoverable. Nothing lasts forever; this planet and this solar system will be scattered throughout the galaxy, just like our bodies will be scattered across this planet. Living your life thinking that somehow what you do now or ever will be etched into history forever, seems a painful way to exist. I doubt that Frederic Chopin or Louis Pasteur considered for one minute what we're doing right this minute.

You miss the entire point of what I've been discussing with myself here. This is understandable; let us have some patience with ourselves.

Don't you see that by comparing yourself to all these composers, scientists and writers that you've totally lost focus on doing something right this moment? You're so lost in the mesh of what you think you know so well that you cannot contemplate anything nor any concept not known to you right now.

You continously use words to qualitatively lower others around you, and due only to the presentation of a different idea or a different opinion to your own. Words like irresponsible and immature directed toward anyone demeans yourself. When you enter a discussion feeling as if you must prove something or someone wrong, you're no longer discussing anything. The ability to expand your view diminishes considerably.

Being certain means you're actively engaged in your life; you're doing something with your life. Realizing the destructive potential of our living power does not negate the constructive potential of that same power today. It's a recognition of the truth. Many truths can co-exist and contradict each other simultaneously. The key is to be flexible enough and aware enough in this moment to act with certainty yet not be attached to the outcome you so desire to be the result.

These are not easy waters to wade into casually. Attempting to apply fixed concepts to non-fixed realities is going to always be painful if you remain aware. So many are not aware, yet experience vivid pain and suffering as the result of that lack of awareness.

I feel the reason people do not act differently and participate directly in their community is because they hold the view that these massive problems we all face are fixed situations and are immoveable and intractable. Some people feel as if they have no affect on those problems, and, accordingly, don't bother to do anything at all.

These fixed concepts are the ignorance I so wish to rid from my mind, my life and my community. This is the heart of the ignorance I wish to tear out of my life and do so openly, with compassion and patience for others.

Thank you for this opportunity to re-invigorate my efforts toward this aim.

Follow these series.
Frightening World, Scary Me 2
Crucial Certainty
Frightening World, Scary Me

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Frightening World, Scary Me 2

Letting go and not wanting more is succumbing to fear.
I believe just the opposite. What is it that you can hold onto right now that will be with you when you're dead? What more do you need right now that you can have without taking that from someone else or causing anyone pain? To me, it sounds like the fear is yours, not mine. It is a completely understandable position though.
What a person does yesterday is important. It is significant. Because yesterday involved learning and growing and courageously trying to improve oneself and one's community, and one's ability to contribute to the betterment of tomorrow. How selfish to think that only today and this moment matters.
What a person does yesterday is as important as you're attachment to it.

Many people have killed people and lived to do amazingly good things for others in the future, even saving people's lives. Other people have done so much good in the past, yet today terrorize and spread hatred and bigotry. Which person here is the good person by your method? The one that did good yesterday, or the one that did good today? I believe both to be good, irrespective of yesterday or today.
Thank goodness that our great scientists, leaders, and teachers have believed that tomorrow is significant to the quality of life of each individual. Thank goodness our doctors and laborers believe that tomorrow is worthy of their efforts, and that a quality life is an admirable goal. Are you certain that one's thoughts are more important than one's actions??
Great scientists have created more death and devastation on this planet than anything else. What has led to all this additional, toxic pollution in the world? It's misuse of technology. Despite scientists' greatest aspirations for their work, anything can be used as a weapon or can yield destructive and constructive results.

Look at current world leaders as well as throughout history. Leaders constantly make decisions that have led to the unforeseen death of people, animals or plants, sometimes in order to save other people's lives. Does any good come from loss of life? Absolutely. Does any good come from allowing nature to take it's course? Absolutely.
Do not let fear keep yourself from a productive life for yourself. If you allow yourself to think that even a brief, mortal existence isn't worthy of wanting to be a significant part of society, then that is a destructive path in itself. It does not matter what other's definition of a successful life is. It matters if you are using your talents and abilities to make some positive difference. What matters is that you do move forward!
Again, this fear is your fear, not mine. All of our lives produce something, and that's everything that we consume. What we consume cannot be consumed by others until we shit, piss or sweat it out.

We are a significant part of society just living, breathing, eating and shitting. Why do you think sewage and trash are some of the largest social issues affecting modern-day society in America? Because we all want so much and do not realize that wanting so much, having so much means that we litter the world with our shit.

The key, we believe, is to not get caught up in making a positive difference, but to do good now. Getting caught up in the atmospherics of some fairytale future seems a good way of exhausting our talents and abilities uselessly. Moving forward comes at a high price, either for ourselves, for others or for our planet.

Follow this series.Frightening World, Scary Me

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Crucial Certainty

Being certain in what we are doing, thinking and feeling can be a crucial part of a successful existence. Certainty has nothing to do with right, wrong, correct or incorrect. It is a vessel in the pursuit of figuring out how to interact directly with your day, your life and your community in a real, substantive way. Without certainty, our actions are less than wholehearted, our thoughts are muddled and lax and our feelings are confused and disjointed from reality.

Some people begin with thoughts and feelings and then act; others do not think or feel anything about what they're doing before, during or after acting. Both strategies can have mixed results, making it difficult to ascertain the direct line of cause and effect. This can lead to confusion about how to become more effecient and increasingly effective in one's daily life.

When we use certainty at the front end of a situation and act on a gut level, we're using our minds and hearts in unison. The causes here are immediately accessible. Then, we can use our mental resources to collect raw data without being muddled with any feelings attached to the predicted results. This data then adds to our experience which will alter our gut level response in any similar situation.

This method also allows us to have a fresh emotional response to the results and how those results were produced. Sometimes, we all have managed to get what we want and not felt good about it at all. Other times, what we did to get the result we desired weighs us down, even if what we received or what happened was worthwhile in the end. These feelings alter that gut level response in future similar situations.

The key in certainty is to not allow ourselves to get attached to the results we want to see in anything we do. We need to always act with the assurance that we're going to do the best we are able to do now and ensure that the next set of decisions and situations are affected by what we do now. The only way to effectively do that is to let go of what we want to happen, explore the entire reality of the outcomes of what did take place and be as certain in the moment called right now.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Frightening World, Scary Me

I am frightened. This world is so scary. I am so scary.

Our power is even more terrifying than anything or anyone you will ever meet. We have this raw energy that can lift us up, tear us down or dissipate like a puff of smoke into a cloudy sky. What we do with this power is as important as what we do not do with it.

As frightening as our modern day life truly is, it pales in fright to the destruction we alone can wage upon others and to our world. The capacity to be constructive requires the destruction of something else.

To lead a constructive, powerful life we must destroy our self, our self-pity as well as our passion to see to it that we never rise so far to ensure we never fall too far or too hard. How we handle our fear is how we handle ourselves.

Could letting go of all of it be the way forward? Letting go of wanting more for our life; letting go of wanting to give more in our life; letting go of this immortal view of our brief, mortal existence. Can we consider letting go of all movement; forward, backward, up, down even letting go of standing still?

The way forward is nowhere. It is right here, right now. What we do tomorrow does not exist today. What we did yesterday does not even exist today. It matters only what we do this moment; it is the only moment that exists, and it could all be taken from us with little or no effort.

With our expiration date obscured, our past obscured and our future nowhere to be found, our life is completely in our mind right now. It is more about how we feel and think about what we're doing than anything we've ever done or could be doing. Anything beyond thinking and feeling as a benchmark for a successful life seems absurd.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Nourishing Human Spirit

Difficulties and frustrations seem to surround us. Obstacles continue to be found directly in our path whichever way we go. We find ourselves in a solution and resolution drought.

When we find ourselves in any or all of these experiences, returning attention towards the nourishment of your spirit is necessary. We often forget that no one can take away the way we feel and think about our life. Both feeling and thinking reside wholly within ourselves.

We may have talked to someone who has been in the pit of hell and who feels and thinks that everything is terrible and awful. It does not matter what we say or do for this person, we cannot alleviate his or her pain and suffering. We cannot make him or her feel differently about the current predicament. The same can be said of someone who has a good outlook on his or her life. Nothing can truly stop us from feeling good about our lives.

Certainly, there are a myriad of ways that we can perceive the experiences that are possible. The way we feel and think about those experiences is up to us. We can find them full of misery and that there are no alternatives. We can find them full of experiential information and as offerings of opportunities for growth and learning.

When all that fails, as it will do, we need to remain focused on nourishing our spirit. This nourishment can come from interaction with others, but that interaction is never something to depend upon for all time. If we make that nourishment directed by ourselves, than we always have a spirit refueling station, right here, right now.

Surround yourself with good ways to take good care of you; good ways to remind yourself and your subconcious that you deserve as good as you give and that you can weather any situation. I'm talking about the basics. This does not have to be expensive or cost anything.

Think simple. Consider what you must do everyday or nearly everyday and create ways to make those everyday occurrences special and healing.

Think simple. Think everyday. Offer those self-nourishments to others.

Often, we can get lost in all the dark, scary clouds that are on the horizon, leaving the area or right on top of us. If we train ourselves for daily nourishment, past, present and future won't be these looming troubles anymore. We'll return to our daily nourishment and move on with pure heart and calm mind.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Emptiness Talk 3

If emptiness is not a lack of something needed, then is it a lack of balance in one's life? For all life consists of a multitude of feelings, including joy and pain; therefore, if there is not balance between the two, is their a vacuum needing filled? Is not having balance having strength??

Life is naturally balanced between birth and death. Many bits and many pieces continue to come together and fall apart to make up what we believe to be ourselves. If you really attempt to find what you call "me", can you ever actually find it?

Examine this with everything you encounter. Can we find anything that stands alone and never changes or alters itself in anyway? Even seemingly ever present fixtures in our life, such as the sun, are really the most dynamic of systems. Our bodies are the same. We take in, we defecate, we grow, we wither.

This emptiness is not a lack of something; it is everything and everyone. It's what makes up all matter and all life. Vacuum or filled space are both examples of emptiness. It's our mistaken view that what we see and what we touch is the way we perceive it to be. All these feelings we feel, these thoughts we have, ebb and flow throughout existence.

When we continuously try to focus on this solid identity we feel we have, we suffer and experience pain because it is not reality. Letting go of me and embracing the reality of our own emptiness is an amazing process. If you can find you, work with that. If you cannot, work with that.

Follow the Emptiness Talk series
Emptiness Talk 2
Emptiness Talk

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Accountability Concern

In order to maintain personal accountability, too often we surround ourselves with people who we blame when our house falls apart and when events do not go our way. We do not want to take responsibility for what happens to us, so we make certain someone is always there to blame.

Blame can be very subtle. When the offender is someone we don't really know or some nefarious "they" that's out there pulling our strings and mashing our buttons, we've accepted the situation as out of our control to change. This seems a misfortunate perspective with little room for relief or resolution.

Another accountability concern happens in our careers and our jobs. Too often it seems management will surround themselves with people who are "yes" people, people who will not challenge their view intellectually or substantially. Most in management seem to not want to think or rethink what they're doing at all. We can see examples of this throughout government, throughout institutions and throughout the business world.

Oftentimes, we have very unfortunate ideas that are mistaken and based upon ignorant views of reality. If we only allow people who agree with our view in our management team and in our support team, we assist ourselves in our own downfall. Our mistaken perceptions and actions riddle our lives and our goals with damages and consequences.

People make decisions every moment that affect so many people; all of us do. Our lives are deeply connected, and where one suffers needlessly, we all suffer needlessly. When we don't see our decisions as affecting more than right now and more than just ourself, we've lost touch with our personal power, yet wield that power so carelessly and callously.

A large sector of our human society is in this destructive potential zone. We can see the consequences all around us and the consequences have been felt for years. From the BP Gulf Oil Spill to the Alberta Oil Spill; from the Hurricane Katrina Disaster to the unfinished recovery of the Gulf Coast; from the multiple mining catastrophes to the numerous crane collapses; from the state of our public schools to the malicious state of our politics; from the Wall Street crisis to the faltering economy.

Despite the growing list of crises and our man-made disasters, I see enormous human potential wherever I look. We can truly recover from anything, and our species can adapt to any environment.

We can make different decisions as an individual and provide a working example of another way to approach our days and our problems. When wronged by another, we cannot continue the wrong/right cycle and instead thank another for the opportunity to break that cycle within ourselves.

It is far too easy to "right" the wrongs done to us by others. It's much easier to "right" the wrongs we've done to ourself. Usually in "righting" the wrong we do wrong. How is that ever the "right" thing to do? Who is ever going to stop this vicious cycle if we don't stop it within our own life first?

If we continue holding others accountable for our failures and our mistaken judgements, we are losing focus on what good we can do this day. Regardless of what happens to us, we are the ultimate person accountable to how we respond to our life. Our response is much more powerful than what just became our past.

Watch how you respond to your day and your life.
Wonder how that response affects yourself and others.
Witness your transformation.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Power of Being Silent

While in the woods, I once again took a vow of silence for a time. Every vow of silence has been its own set of experiences and lessons about the self and others. This year's silence was primarily centered on how the mind operates and how, with intention and focus, we can affect change in our own mind.

Hours into the time of silence, we began to see our body-mind connection strengthen. As we moved down these woodland paths, we saw our body automatically alter movement, even mid-stride, to avoid harming ourselves. There was a sense of intuition; a direct connection between observations and action.

Having thoughts, turning those thoughts into words and sentences and then verbalizing them properly with speech requires a great deal of mental resources. If we shut off the mouth valve, to some degree mental resources become freed up. Those additional resources then can be used in different mental activities.

This is similar to how the brain reacts to losing one of our senses. It adapts by intensifying the other senses and redirecting those mental resources, even those same mental pathways, for use in other ways. The same principle is applicable with vows of silence.

In our modern day life, it can be difficult to take vows of silence. Mostly, even while we're attempting to listen to what someone is saying, we're already writing the response to what they haven't finished saying. If anything, maybe we can vow to keep our internal writing and responding to a minimum when talking with another.

Try to focus the mind on only what the person is saying and not how it's wrong, or how it's right or what we would say in response. This is not at all easy or simple, but it is worthwhile to see how we listen and how we don't listen at all. With patience and perseverance, we can limit thinking when we should be listening.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Emptiness Talk 2

Emptiness can be the result of not being challenged to the capacity you are capable. ..or not feeling satisfaction in your job, career, friendships. Are expectations too high or too low?? To change outcome of emptiness feelings, one must fill vacuum with other feelings which are stronger; such as, contentment, gratitude, strength, and inner peace.

This is not the emptiness that is at the heart of everything we are and everything we experience. It is my lack of ability that I'm bungling this talk of emptiness. Afterall, I'm attempting to describe something that is not capable of being accurately detailed by words and thoughts. Emptiness is something inherent in everything. The same emptiness that exists within a rock is present within myself.

Human beings attach all sorts of labels to cover up our inherent nature. Our inherent nature is not one of permanence. It is not something you can actually single out by itself apart from anything or everything else.

If we are our jobs, our careers, what happens to all the millions of people that have lost their job or their career during the Great Recession? What happens to all those unemployed and unable to find work? Are they any different than they were before the job loss?

If we are our families and relationships, what happens when family members die, friends perish or loved ones move away? Are we then not ourselves when we're alone or when we're the last survivor of a family?

Look at yourself. What is this thing called me? If it's in my hands, those can be cut away from my body. Am I a wholly different person because I lost a limb or lost use of a limb? People have organs removed or replaced with other people's organs. Are they now less human or more than one human being?

Are we the way we feel about our life or are we somehow beyond that? The way we feel fluctuates wildly within every moment for some. How can that be a basis for finding what constitutes this thing I call me?

Lets get out of this human terrain, and look at the universe as a whole. Many stars die or are born all the time. Is the universe any less the whole than it ever was? Planets crumble and come together. Is there any more mass or less mass in the universe?

The vacuum you are talking about is the concept of emptiness. It is at the heart of you and me and at the heart of our existence. As human beings, we want to hold onto this idea of what me is. Our ignorance about our real nature is the primary source of all our suffering.

This concept of emptiness is very challenging to discuss, but it's a worthwhile discussion to have. Please challenge it. Question it. I want to be challenged and I need to be questioned, especially about this. Keep the comments coming. It is only through direct experience that we will ever know emptiness.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Emptiness Talk

Mostly, what we see is only what we think we see, and what we think we see is not reality. If you breakdown what you think you see and try to find what you thought you saw, you won't find that object there at all. What we see is an illusion. This is the concept of emptiness as I loosely understand it.

If you try and point to what and where you are, can you do it? Say you cut off your arm, are you still you? Say you go blind, are you still you?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Approaching Life

We may not have known how to approach situations in the past.
We may not know how to approach situations now.
We may never know how to approach any situation with any effectiveness.

Approach what is difficult, always.
Approach with an open mind, always.
Approach as if we have no clue, always.

Approach, Approach, Approach

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Drop Reason, Trust Effort

All of what we experience is but a moment. All moments come from and lead to other moments. All that you see is in this same state of being as you, coming together and falling apart.

Your mind has all the experience and memory, sometimes stored in active memory but mostly stored in subconcious memory. When we begin to relax into direct experience, we must trust our effort. The active mind automatically involves everything you've done, you've thought and you've felt.

Trust your effort and stop trying to reason your way out of what's happening and what's already taken place. Instead, work with right now. Right now is a rich, changing environment. If we stay rigid and try to hold our ground, we'll lose it. If we remain adaptive, we will figure our way through, even if we make some misteps. This moment, after all, was falling apart when it began.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Adversity: The Hallmark of Human Life

Adversity is the hallmark of a good life.

When situations don't follow your predictions, we can become upset with the outcomes or we can work with the outcomes. Any emotion that we feel about what is happening to us is a powerful energy. When we realize our role in what's happening, we can begin to take care of that energy, and redirect it towards the reality rather than our fairy tale that didn't happen to follow the script we developed in our heads.

Mostly, we would like to absolve ourselves of any responsibility when things go awry. "It cannot possibly be myself that has created this present moment, this terrible moment." Some people feel terrible about the terrible experiences we endure. If feeling terrible about it works to correct the situation, then by every means feel terrible about it all the time. If feeling awful about our life is worthwhile, than it should be worthwhile all the time, right? If that does not seem to solve our present day dilemma, we could consider another option.

Focusing on what works involves believing in the experience of what we're doing in our momentary life. Attempt many different avenues at overcoming daily obstacles. Believe in what you're doing. The outcomes will speak towards the intention and action we've applied. If we really believe that feeling terrible works for a better today, then believe that and make that terrible feeling your daily experience.

What we do with what happens to us is all about belief and faith. Faith that we can see ourselves through whatever may come. Our belief is to continue to apply ourselves to what's happening and that at some point we will stumble onto relief. Either, the frustration will end artificially or it will end by our own hand.

It really does not matter which way we live our lives; the outcome is always the same. Then, the real long-term strategy is about how we experience our daily life. If at the end it's death, than damn well I should be believing in what I'm doing today; that what I do today is as good as I can muster; that we will strive for excellence and expect nothing in return.

Keep at it and have a direct experience with your life. Let the outcomes wash over you and assist in matching our intention with our action. Enjoy this.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Navigating the Foreign Lands of Your Self

Often, people wish to rid themselves of what they deem to be negative, bad or destructive emotions (i.e.loneliness, anger, sadness, loss). People wish that they could just deposit these states of mind somewhere far away and never deal with them again. It's not possible to do this. Even if you're drugged, drunk or just numb, those emotional states are underneath it all.

Being a member of human society, these more intense emotions are not something we have much knowledge or experience with resolving. We're taught at a very young age that to feel and to be affected is a sign of weakness. We treat these emotional states as if they're the enemy and must be locked away for safe keeping. When we do that, we're locking ourselves away.

When I look at what's happening wherever I go, I don't think that this social strategy is working out too well for many if any people. The divide between us has never been so wide. Some people don't even see other people as human beings anymore. Look at the faces of strangers and consider what they could be feeling right now. It's a worthwhile exercise. Behind every one of those faces is a human being, just like you.

With this awareness, we must conjure up patience with ourselves. Patience is critical as we begin to work with these volatile energies. We must remember that what we're attempting to do is something that we've not been doing for a long time, and potentially have never done throughout our entire life.

There's no step-by-step instructions either. The key is to be curious about the emotional process and to keep at it. We're learning how to navigate the foreign lands of our mind and ourselves. Astounding how the more foreign our own mind and our own self has been for us, the more foreign everyone around us has seemed. Once we begin to get in touch with our whole existence, it's a natural progression to how this will improve everyone we interact with everyday.

When we delve into these darker emotions, if we continue to consider these emotions as so terrible and so awful, we're not going to make much progress. There's a reason why we feel the way we feel. Sometimes, there's real reason to be concerned. Your mind is telling you something for a reason and it's using these emotions to tell you. Maybe, we should pay attention and begin to take care of the entire me.

Through the exploration of our feelings, we will discover our greater role in what's happening to us. Mostly, it will be our fingerprints all over whatever it is making us miserable. Then, there's some relief you can experience. If we're the one behind our own misery, then we can make changes and see if we can create a different outcome. Imagine the enjoyment in trying to figure out this life instead of wrestling with it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Discerning in the Dark

Considering that all that we see and experience is really an illusion, perhaps coming at every moment as if we're truly in the dark doesn't sound like a truly terrible idea.

How would our decisions be altered if we didn't think we knew everything or didn't believe we could see and control all the variables?

It is our assumptions that gets us into so much trouble. The variables we take for granted, all of that is impermanent. All of it will change, and sometimes drastically. Finding ways to limit or curtail how our assumptions affect our decision-making process seems a laudable exercise.

Discerning in the dark says we know we don't know everything, that we don't know much, and that we barely know enough to still be alive. We are not saying to be overly cautious or not cautious at all. We are not saying to just jump into the abyss or tiptoe through the meadow.

What we are suggesting is to treat every situation as it's own special entity. Our yesterday experiences can yield an enormous treasure of assistance in making better of situations we find ourselves in today. However, it is a different playing field, different players, different rules, even a different game altogether.

Acknowledge the wealth of past experiences have given to you, but also acknowledge new times require new solutions. Using the same criteria as you did a decade ago is probably not going to yield the same or even similiar sets of results. In fact, we may have not been aware enough to realize the true size and proportion of the crop of results from our last similar encounter.

Question your historical perspectives, challenge your current views, and apply your solutions.

The Waiting for Perfect Conditions and Perfect People Dilemma

We hear it all the time, reasons to not make something of this life of ours.

Must wait for life to calm down, for this bill to be paid, for my body to heal completely. We must wait to feel good, feel secure, feel desired, feel complete. The sun must be out, it cannot be too hot, and for sure it can't be humid. Shouldn't be too cold, either, nor windy, nor gloomy. "I must be in top physical and emotional condition."

Just if, then.

We have to have the perfect people to help our efforts perfectly. Perfect people who will easily accept what we're offering, what we're saying or above all what we're doing. "There's no one to listen, to receive. No one wants what I have to offer."

Just if, then.

So, we just continue to live the same, grinding existence, waiting for the perfect time and the perfect people. Will we ever do anything of consequence at anytime for anyone?

As long as we wait for perfection, we're ignoring the perfection of our present. You are the perfect person for the perfect time of right now. We need to believe in ourselves, work with what we have and do something, anything, right this moment, not just for ourselves but for others.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Just Like Me

I realize some people are inarticulate, unartful and unaware. I have been and continue to be so. I have let my expectations of anyone not being that way get in the way of what I should be doing. My attachment to wanting to give back in some little way and have that gift received with recognition has also failed to produce any benefit for anyone.

Any less than I feel right now or at anytime is of my own creation. And, we don't feel less than, we feel as if others view us that way. Once again, our issue of requiring anyone to acknowledge us, recognize us, validate us.

Us. Them. There is no duality. We must keep this in mind. They are me. They are doing what I have and what I still could do. They are bits of coming together and falling apart. Just like me.

Every Day is the Same Day

As the sun rises on this, my last morning, I feel renewed optimism of what I can do for others, how I can manage my issues to make that effort increasingly effective and more efficient.

Everyday is the same day, but every day can be a new effort, a new goal, a new belief. We just have to apply this effort joyously, reach for a goal effortlessly and believe that we can make this life work for the benefit of all.

Bless you, Bless this land, Bless this community.
From every sunrise, through every sunset and into the night.

The Suffering Pebbles of our Life

Suffering is momentary. Self and others are the same, parts of the whole of the universe. Suffering is our failed attempt at taking ourselves out of that whole and standing alone.

We all wish to use the universe as a pretty backdrop for our lives, that somehow we're the lead character and the world or the universe is our elaborate stage. It is just as a stage play, our lives. At the end, the stage is still here; it may be reused as is, tore down, shut down, burnt down or even turned into a strip mall.

It is our separateness that is the issue, that the pebble in our shoe is somehow different and outside of ourselves. That's how we view people when we see them as against us rather than for us. It's as if they are the pebble in our shoe instead of that cushy insole we love so much.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Touching on the Basic Goodness of Your Life

When we're doing something we enjoy or see something beautiful, we feel good inside. What we're feeling in those moments is our own goodness. It's that basic goodness that connects everything in the universe that we're resonating with in those good feeling moments. For some reason we find it easier to see that basic goodness in settings, activities or even other people then we do to see that within ourselves everyday of our life.

For instance, you walk through a nature park. You see the sun, the clouds the beautiful blue sky; you see the waving trees, as if they're waving to you, the flowing grasses too. You think, this is what makes me feel good. That goodness was already inside of you, but the goodness of a natural setting is too obvious to not take note and treasure. We should also treasure the basic goodness that is at the core of our human experience in anyway we can. If that means taking a walk in the woods, then that's what we need to do.

Stacking our day with these moments of basic goodness can provide us with a wealth that is always replenishable and is beyond any object, place or person. Objects are lost, places can be bulldozed or burnt, people die and perish. If we see that our good feeling is attached to what brings it out of us, when something happens to that object, place or person we'll suffer immensely. Yet, the basic goodness of our existence remains.

As long as we continue to see how we feel as being directed by external forces, we'll always be dependent on conditions going our way. If feelings truly originate from outside of us, what can we ever do to make our lives better? Will we be like a flag on a pole whipping in whatever way the winds blows, never going anywhere?

Be curious about your feelings, explore them thoroughly, thoughtfully and continuously. If we begin to be curious about where these feelings originate, you'll find your own truth about it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Your Role in Your State of Mind

Our state of mind is dependent on how we approach each moment and less about what's happening to us and around us. There are many states of mind within all of us. Through exploring and utilizing honest analysis of our current thoughts and feelings, we can begin to see which states of mind are helpful in certain situations and which are not so helpful.

Even anger has a positive role at various points. This is not a witch hunt; we cannot burn our feelings at the stake to get rid of them; feelings always resurface unexpectedly if we haven't thoroughly taken care.

All of our feelings are vital to our existence as human beings; these feelings help us figure out this world. This is why we are very reactive to our environment. Maybe, this is why people resist their environment so forcefully, believing that somehow it's the heat that makes them angry. Just like our feelings, the environment changes. If we look at the weather in this way, it doesn't seem so terrible that it's hot today, as it could be wet tomorrow or next week it'll be cold.

Looking at the continuity of our experience can help take care of our feelings. As long as we look at our life and our environment as an ever-changing, dynamic system, life becomes more workable.

Many have said that this person makes them angry; this person puts a smile on their face; this situation makes me cry; this joke makes me laugh. Certainly, our external world can bring these natural sensations out of us, but they do not create any of these feelings on their own. Anger is always inside, as is happiness. We do have the superior role in which way we come at any situation.

Above all, the mind is very wild and patience is key in navigating it in uncertain terrain. We all lose it. When we lose it, if we are honest with ourselves, we'll realize that whatever it is we're feeling has been with us for a long time. It is not easy to do this in the heat of the moment. The more we attempt to get a gap in there of thinking or even breating, the more chance we have to let the anger disipate and find the real source within us. The more we come at life with a happy state of mind, the easier the worst of situations will be. It's ok to not agree.

Which sounds more workable, sickness with happiness or sickness with anger? Whatever is helpful, do it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Being Relentless

Being relentless can play a critical role in transforming your life. The energy of relentlessness is useful in absolutely every moment of your day. We suggest starting with daily activities, the actions and experiences you have every single day of your life. There's a natural progression to the more difficult and the more delightful experiences as they happen with continued and relentless training in your day-to-day existence.

Relentlessly challenge your long-held views

This is the first step in living a relentless life. If we do not constantly challenge the old ways, how will anything in our life and community ever improve? We are bound to remain as mistaken and as stubborn as we've ever been, and if we do not continuously challenge all of our views, we will continue to be mistaken for the remainder of this life.

Sometimes, stubborness can be seen as being relentless. This is not the case. Relentlessly challenging your life truncates the negative impact of being overly stubborn. If you honestly engage in this process, it is impossible to hold onto any mistaken view.

Relentlessly utilize your belief and value system to everything you do

Our belief and value systems leaves fingerprints on everything we do and everyone we encounter. If our beliefs are sound and just, there is no fear of negative repercussions from using that belief structure in everthing that we do. If we do not apply belief to our everyday life, than it really isn't a belief we hold at all.

This is where relentlessly challenging our views plays a critical role. Our beliefs are changing constantly. The only way to ferret out what is truth and what is ignorance is to take what we believe and value and put it into immediate use. The outcomes will speak for themselves. Taking a longer view of outcomes is also critical. Sometimes, momentary pain and loss yield a more stable and less painful life.

Relentlessly explore frustrating people and circumstances for understanding and compassion, for yourself and for others

As long as we are alive, we will encounter people and circumstances that are frustrating. The frustration really says more about ourselves than the people that evoke that feeling. No one is out here on their own. We all have a role in how people behave and what people do. Many circumstances and people have led everybody you meet to be doing and saying and feeling the way that they do.

Finding some understanding for all people can at first seem exhausting, but the more we attempt to find understanding, the less likely we are to become frustrated and angry when encountering less than ideal situations and less than friendly people. We're still going to be losing our cool for countless days, weeks, months and years, but we must start somewhere. Otherwise, we'll just be reacting the same way til our end.

Developing compassion for others has always been easy for us, because we have suffered. Anyone that frustrates you, also frustrates other people. Having people frustrated with you usually creates less than ideal reactions from those people. Think of all you've said or done in the heat of anger. How many people that you've expressed that anger toward have held onto the memory of that anger the next time they see you?

Imagine living in a world with all this negative, angry energy being lobbed back and forth everywhere a person finds themselves. That's an incredibly painful place to live and breathe. Maybe, we can do something different. Instead of continuing to react to angry people with anger or frustration, we breathe some compassion and understanding into the situation. We'll certainly benefit from this. Possibly, the angry person may benefit as well.

Relentlessly find patience for yourself and others

We must have patience for ourselves. That's the place to start with patience. Our entire lives we've been living a different kind of life. Now, we're getting involved in our life. It is not going to be like flipping a switch and all of sudden everything in our life is wonder and delight. It is a long process to transform your life. So please, have some patience for yourself.

We will get angry, we will get upset, we will experience pain and suffering. This is a journey, a process. There's no one answer, there never has been. If we keep at it, applying patience at every step, we'll begin to see progress in our life and improvements in our community. When we make misteps or mistakes, don't be so hard on yourself. Don't be hard on others either.

Relentlessly analyze the outcomes of your actions, thoughts and intentions

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Returning to the Seat of Joy

Don't you see how one by one
Death comes to claim your fellow men?
And yet you slumber on so soundly,
Like a buffalo beside its butcher
No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva, Pema Chodron

We feel as if the universe has been screaming at us because we have wasted so much of this blessed opportunity that we call our life. Despite our countless misteps, we remain here and still maintain the capacity to be effectively meaningful. Yet, we have no lasting momentum in this enterprise. A few consecutive moments, here and there, with a great void in-between.

What we desire to do is to consistently and always truly see others. Not what they're saying or doing or even how they feel, but what is covered up by all those words, acts and feelings. It has been a continuous struggle of late to truly listen to anyone, especially ourselves. Today, we may have seen a small bit of progress. It was the state of joy we've kept with us since waking up that was the difference-maker.

At least we're struggling to do this, right? We still have a will to work against the common nuisance that is our life. Isn't that the proper answer to the frustrations of our day?

I'm beginning to disagree. We must learn to let go of this struggle and work with what we're given in this very moment, instead of trying to make life look or feel different than the reality that it is. The way it appears will change, just as the way we feel about it will change. There's no stopping the constant flux of thoughts and emotions, so we must move out of this fluctuating clump of matter and experience that we call me or we.

We need to learn how to interact despite the mistaken thinking, despite our emotional responsive nature. It's maintaining a state of joy. Joy is the energy of being open to new information without getting attached to the information. It's about enjoying whatever it is that's happening to us or around us; not controlling anything or anyone.

Any control we imagine we do have is an illusion.
None of what we will ever do will be anything but an attempt to deny that illusion.

We are letting go of the struggle.
We are letting go of the outcomes.
We are letting go of the illusion.
We are pure joy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Finding Blockages, Beginning the Removal

As our struggle continues, we use today to take a refresher in what we would think would be quite fresh thoughts over the last two months. Reading our words again, everyone of them, it's like peering into someone else, peering into something good. This is probably the most odd sensation I've felt in quite some time.

The consternation we can feel on our face is clearly indicative of confusion. That these are our recent words is astounding. I'm wondering out loud, but we can touch on what we were attempting to outline. Of course, since we were the author, we have a direct connection to getting what we were saying.

Somewhere in this process of understanding, there's a distance we feel from everything and everyone and that we really are in a dream-like state, filled with illusions and delusions of our own making. It is this leap of acceptance that we must focus our mind upon, ferreting out the expectation we have for anyone else understanding what we're doing here.

We're keeping at it.

The Universe, Life and Pain

Life mimics the universe that has been created here. Blazing suns, beautiful planets, deadly atmosphere, dead rocks. We are all these things and have these things within our physical bodies right now. In each of us is the entirety of the universe. We are the universe. Never run away from this fact. The elements present at the beginning of the universe are within each of us. What we choose to exude and exemplify is our choice, our role in the universe of man. What will I choose in this moment?

Then what is all this pain we feel? Life is painful because our bodies are setup to fire up upon interaction with our environment. Imagine if all this push/pull energy is redirected, becoming a blazing sun, full of warmth and vitality, natural beauty, yet dangerous and deadly. We can experience the gambit of human emotion and not be carried away nor stay still. We can light up life right here, right now, or we can cover up that light.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Seeing the Real Enemy as Our Own Ignorance

Do we see people as good or bad? Either way, we require them to be different than they are today, and that is what creates our suffering mostly. How unfair, how painful a world we carry with us and share so freely with reckless abandon.

Amazing how we light up for those we think we know or want to know and do nothing for those we do not even see! The people we've had more difficult interaction with we shun, or worse yet attack or sabotage.

We need to let go of these fairy-tale stories. Might we not get so caught up when truly terrible things are said to anyone, especially ourselves? Any wounds caused by words are self-inflicted, afterall. People that know themselves are impervious to such disrespect done in words and name alone.

How can any assistance on the verbal aggressor ever correct the real source of the issue for the perceived victim? These aggressors note personal weakness and exploit it to control their subject. Should we not thank them for exposing this for us with no physical harm befalling our body?

It is difficult to listen to someone belittle or demean someone to whom we have a personal connection. However, we are not always going to be there to fend off these sort of attacks. Might a better long-term strategy be the rooting out of the issue within our friend?

It is impossible to control what people say without stomping on their personal freedom. The only way to exact total control is through physical control, and then we become the aggressor. If these verbal aggressors do not receive the reaction they are after, most likely they'll move on to another student of life.

Regardless, we can be there to soothe the exposed old wounds of our friends, and find a way to heal the weakness inside. The weakness is our own ignorance, and ignorance is not what any of us are.

The Illusion of Hope

Part of the trauma recovery process involves renegotiating the decision-making and decision-acting processes. Re-establishing confidence in navigating outcomes, both short-run and long-run, as well as positive, negative and neutral is also imperative during recovery.

Somehow, those embers of hope, called beat and breath, stay alive in us, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Our existence is not a permanent condition, and never has been. These embers of hope are an illusion that always has a fitting end with our death.

The cycle of hope is so alluring, so moving as it ebbs and flows through our day. It is hope that is the cause for despair. Hope is what keeps us stuck in this idea of some superior self that somehow always lives to fight another day, until there are no more days to live. This is much like the heroic character in a video game, able to find new life, again and again. We're unnplugging the damned box.

The idea of a self or a soul, that somehow we are whole on our own, is the great concern. Not looking at life as a whole, then, is a worthy goal. Our life is a product of all that has come before and all that will come after us. It's momentary by nature, unmoving by consciousness.

This is not a doom and gloom approach to life. Actually, if we did not have the capacity to change and expire, what in this world would move us in any direction but our self and our own demise and to hell with everyone and everything?

Thankfully, we are not forever. Thankfully, we are able to see the false ideal that hope offers. Thankfully, we can do something different today.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grappling with Personal Trauma

We have had so many traumatic interactions with others in our lifetime. We've seen ourselves through the post-trauma haze to see that the trauma-inducer is as much a victim as we have been and that we played a superior role in what happened and how we reacted.

Not many times after our most recent trauma have we seen or thought about the guy as being an evil-doer or a terrible person. We've actually found a great deal of conmpassion for the man. How awful a life it must have been to be capable of such violence on another being; what repercussions that person must have experienced from his actions on others.

Our problem is with ourselves. It is our inherent lack or momentary loss of judgement that allowed this assault to take place. Our utter frustration with grappling with post-trauma human interaction is what we're most upset about today.

We can never dictate the conditions or the results of what we do and where we are. We can only dictate how we react and how we conduct ourselves. We've been experiencing lots of internal dialogue during our personal time with others. Mostly, this dialogue is wondering when the person will snap and attack us and wondering if this person is being honest and upfront even a little bit with us.

We need to begin redirecting our internal visualizations in a less slanted way so that we once again can openly, honestly and genuinely interact with people. The key is to not get caught up in this for or against anyone attitude.

Neutral reactions are just as dangerous, as then we're not seeing people as the human beings that they indeed are, capable of both the good and the terrible. Also, treating people as if they do not matter does nothing to touch on their basic goodness that is the hallmark of all human life.

Unraveling this mess of attachment and expectation, for and against is a worthy effort. It may take all or more of our life to make the changes permanent and believable in the long-run. That's what trauma does for us; it shakes up our pre-judgements, exposes our ignorance and lack of proper discernment and humbles us. We can hurt, we do hurt and so do all beings.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Life Hurts, Mind Acts

My whole life hurts today. Body, heart, mind. I really have no answers for myself any longer. Being around and interacting with others seems to help my immediate experience, but the affect has no lasting power.

I feel such a heavy weight of desperation. The despair and hopelessness are truly overwhelming. I seem to have given up on this life, which seems very odd because our wish is to seek enlightenment. That objective seems to be obscured by what we're living side by side with this day.

It's highly entertaining to us that all these outside people remark on how we see the good in everything, everyone and every situation. Why can we not see that about ourselves?

It seems obvious at this moment that we'll never get any understanding from anyone else. So, we're going to find this understanding from within ourselves. Our mind is the only way we experience this life, this day. Our mind is all there really is of this life. That is the truth. So, the answer and the problem lay within.

We begin to see the workability of our situation. It was our fundamental ignorance that led us to this point. Our ignorance provides the path in which to rid ourselves of ignorance. We only suffer because we are ignorant. Give us the courage to let go of what's been done, deal with what is and walk mindfully into tomorrow.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Focus on the Process, Not the Answer

Part of what makes our process so fulfilling is that it hasn't been forced upon us by anyone. We have been systematically and relentlessly ferreting out our process for years. Beginning before we even had a clue what it is we were doing here.

We truly were blessed with this curious mind and our life has given us ample evidence that one answer is useless because it never fits all questions. That is the basis for focus upon the process, the lack of one size fits all.

Others simply do not have the confidence in that process that we have developed and continue to develop daily. How could anyone have confidence in it, as our own confidence ebbs and flows worse than the tide?

What we have is not substantial or stand alone. It's a process that is completely dependent on our mind, no one else's. If we're attempting to tell a person something they do not know, we can never expect or anticipate what will, if anything, come of it.

We have a belief that we can figure this out, right here and right now. No reading or writing is ever necessary to gain understanding as all we ever experience goes through within. The key is to keep at it, keep questioning the reasons for the results coming from our actions and our intentions. If we keep attempting understanding, there's at least hope we may get the job done someday.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gaining Confidence in the Process

We've been mistaken our entire lives, even to this very moment. There is no castigating ourselves over the truth in that statement, and we do believe it to be the absolute truth. To us, it lays out the amazing landscape in which to explore, examine and analyze. We will figure out where our attachment and expectation still prop up and tear down the people in our life and our community.

We have been, after all, living in this similar way for the majority of our lives, so we must have amazing patience for ourselves. Aspiring to do likewise for others can be a very difficult enterprise, but to take the aspiration of having patience for others and transform it into the reality of our day is a worthy goal.

Looking at the community as a whole, we can see ample evidence that people are not listening to others or even hearing themselves. Human society has gotten out of the understanding business. One side denigrates the other side, calling them stupid and wrong, yet if the other side were to change their opinion or stance on an issue, they would label them as both weak and still stupid.

Take the news media. Two cable networks on the fringes, telling their audience the other side's view is frivolous and worthless. People listening to only what they already believe, instead of attempting some understanding for the opposing view. We're intensifying, solidifying our own points-of-view and sacrificing understanding and compassion in order to do it.

Take the Israeli/Palestinian crisis. Both sides so adamant to be seen as strong, confident and right. Both sides with long track records of violence, oppression and destruction. Neither side wanting to give any ground, because the previous time or the time before that when they gave away ground the problem became more pronounced and more dangerous.

Have you ever stated you wouldn't do something upsetting to someone, but later on (even minutes later) actually did it anyway? Which is the mistaken view here? The intention to not do something and later on doing it, or the act of saying anything absolute or anything at all?

When we make bold statements like this, we should tread very carefully. After a declaration, however, if we find that to be a mistaken view or that we encountered a situation that exposes our ignorance, we must make a correction now and go against our own word despite the personal consequences and animosity doing so could create.

What we're talking about here are the important things in life. We should always act, speak and think with good intentions. Sometimes, our intentions don't look like the results we had hoped would be the outcome. The space between intentions and outcomes is our ignorance. It's important to be confident, but confident in our process of ridding ignorance, not that we know something others do not.

Interacting with the Good and the Potentially Dangerous

People that we have ever deemed to be potentially dangerous, and deemed so with applied patience, understanding and compassion, create a complicated human landscape for us. What to do with this subset of people has always been fraught with frustration and mistep. It is through our misteps as a baby that give us the potential to walk as a child. We're learning how to navigate a rich, fertile and dangerous environment. This is much more than walking we're after.

Believing again in someone isn't an accurate portrayal of our intention, as our belief in others is quite firm. Being an active participant in unearthing their basic goodness is quite another. Instead of actively engaging the person, observation and considerate interaction seem warranted and accurate. Everyone does learn differently and at their own rate of adaptation.

The pitfall here is in not being open to the truth of change. We need to be open to allowing others to improve, descend or to make no effort whatsoever. What is the alternative?

We see a see-saw here. We want to get off of the see-saw and throw away the pivot point. That pivot point is us grouping people in for and against, worthy and unworthy, good and bad.

When we take a fresh examination with this realization coupled with our history with people, we see our role in what's happening for these people. No wonder they're so dazed and so confused. How can someone go from us seeing them as basically good to only dangerous with good intentions?

What a harsh reality for someone to experience, especially if they're caught up in that pivot point. No wonder people keep walking back and forth on the see-saw trying to find a happy balancing space and finding none. No wonder we suffer as a result. When they realize they're on a sinking ship, they just keep walking back and forth hurriedly, making the whole see-saw system increasingly dangerous.

All of this life is dangerous. It is OUR decisions that bring about our own dangerous repercussions. These people are no less or more dangerous than before or ever again. The repercussions are a product of our life decisions and our intention. It's our karma.

This crew of people are perfect vessels to give away our merit, our lack of ignorance, and to ferret out of us our remaining ignorance. Lack of ignorance isn't a thing at all; we're giving away nothing.

How is there merit in being on a ship and stopping that ship from sinking? We got on that ship by our own decision. That was our call. There is no merit at all in stopping it from sinking. The merit is not getting on that sinking ship of ignorance ever again.

The emblazoned sun, shining it's rays on everything. That is real merit. We should bestow upon all we encounter all the patience we can muster, all the understanding we can develop and all the compassion their suffering requires. We should shine in all directions, not in just one or a few. We're engaged in removing our pivot point in our human interaction so we can do just that, radiate our basic goodness in all that we do and everyone that we meet.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Elation and Joyous Exuberance

As we enter this amazing Memorial Day weekend, many good thoughts and intense, positive feelings can be felt by many. It is always good to remember those who have fallen. We find it highly touching when people fall for a good cause or for a cause involving their own community. That's what this weekend symbolizes for us, the celebration of the greater good and the greater community.

We find that on this first big weekend of "summer", the elation and euphoria zone of others can be dangerous to deadly. When we're in the midst of pain and suffering, we always think of others. It is very easy after years of practice to generate those thoughts of what other people are enduring, what relief other people require. Getting off the me plan.

It is extremely more difficult for us to think of others when we're flying high on the wave of the present moment. We're heading somewhere; we're feeling great; we're heading toward greatness: that's at least how it feels. That wave can be beautiful and beneficial, or it can be dangerous and destructive.

Getting out of this almost drug-induced state of being can be excrutiating for most. Why must we get off the wave? Why must we care about others when things are going so amazingly for ourselves?

It's when that wave hits against the rocky shore of reality; when that wave dies off and you find yourself in the middle of the ocean, seemingly by yourself; or when you fall into the wave and nearly drown. If we look outward during these times, we can see where we're heading and what's in our way. Then, we can use that position of high energy for the benefit and well-being of others.

We call this joyous exuberance. Joyous exuberance is joy directed outward from us, for others. We're not trying to hold onto the moment, because the moment is going to escape our grasp. Have you ever tried to hold onto a wave? It's not possible.

Why is it that when we're feeling great, we only want that greatness to continue? It comes from our ignorant view that the greatness comes from what we're doing and not who we are. We have greatness within us since our life began. That greatness is this life; it is a capacity within us all.

Oftentimes through our lives, we would feel so good with someone in our life. That goodness we feel isn't from that other person, it is actually ourselves that we can feel, maybe for the first time.

It's like walking through a nature park, seeing the trees, the sky, hearing the trickle of water coming down the creek. Those sensations make us feel good because they are wholesome and natural, just like us. It reminds us of the special opportunity we've been given with this life; that special opportunity is our life.

In the midst of elation and euphoria, we'll do our best to think of others, because that greatness is infinite. It can be used to unearth the greatness in everyone we meet. And it is forever a replenishable source.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Living in the Present, Recognizing the Past

When you live a genuine and sincere life, living within the present moment, it is more difficult to lose track of yourself. However, in the past we were more ignorant and certainly less mindful than we are today.

It's natural that we become confused when faced with any sort of historical trigger to those nearly forgotten and less aware encounters in our life. These are encounters we have feelings about but that are not coupled with intellectual or experiential data to confirm or deny those emotions.

This is very similar to taking a picture or a set of pictures and throwing it through a fan with sharpened blades. These blades are the karmic engines of our life. The blades of ignorance, misunderstanding and disattentiveness. These karmic blades shred through present experience.

It is quite difficult to see any whole picture from the result. You can get a sensation about the scattered pieces of memory, but it is never accurate and has minimal context.

Say you have two pictures of the same man. In one picture he's carrying a flower; the other he's carrying a knife. If you do not see what's in the man's hands, it's extremely difficult to ascertain his intentions or lack of intention. Both intention and lack of intention can be dangerous as well as productive.

People, just like ourselves, have varying levels of attention and awareness. This is the difference between being behind the wheel sober, drunk or road raging. Three possibilities, all potentials within this very moment.

We must slow the blades of our karmic engine. The goal would be to dismantle it altogether, but as long as we're alive, we're producing actions, having intentions and facing the results. That's what karma is. It's not a word, it's the natural cycle of action/result/action.

When we receive sensations from people, even those of genuine affection without any clue as to why, we must be aware of the disconnect from reality. What we're doing is holding onto an old, unclear idea or experience. It's our tragic tale or our fairy tale that we've written in our heads, shaken up with memories and emotions.

Considering that in those past moments we weren't very present, might we allow for the same confused reaction, adoration or guttural repulsion, from the object of our confusion? This is the aspiration of not allowing ourselves to get caught up in all our old ignorant ways as well as allowing other people to make a different choice today.

For all that we've been mistaken about and continue to be mistaken about, we must allow others the same working space. This is not about ignoring historical data about others, it's about realizing that we're all mistaken. The person we see before us today is not the same person from our memories. Today, this person may be more or less aware, more or less positive, more or less negative or has no intention at all.

If we're present right now, we won't allow ourselves to get carried away with the storylines in our head. We'll consider people to be the human beings that they indeed are, flawed, beautiful and full of any potential. They are, after all, just like us.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tackling the Disease and Disorder Model

Chronic syndromes and disorders seem to be taking over our human community. We certainly have had our share of these attached to us through our extensive journey through the medical system. There are many moving, dynamic parts to the disease and disorder model that is central to our current medical system which is at least loosely-linked to the welfare of the community.

The medical system is primarily a "for profit" industry. Let's put to the side, for the moment, the amount of hospitals and clinics that have been running in the red for years. The free market insists that this "for profit" model is necessary to inject efficiency and innovation in the system. We're not going to argue here against what is largely accepted and is the reality of our current situation.

Innovation is absolutely a critical component to the medical industry. We need new medications, new procedures as the physical threats to human beings continue to adapt and new threats immerge. This is also where we see the infusion of high costs associated with innovation. Somehow, those expensive innovations become the default choice by our doctors, even for medical issues that have been around for centuries.

The new class of syndromes and disorders are not based on a single-pointed problem. There are no absolute tests for most. Look at fibromyalgia. The "test" for this includes the physical touching of over 20 spots on the body. If you have a range of sensitive spots in those areas, they diagnosis you with fibromyalgia. At least that "test" isn't expensive, but we could be mistaken.

However, what is fibromyalgia? How do you rectify a problem with no single source? It's a blanket term for something that the medical community simply has no good answer. Certainly, you can go on some super expensive new medication that somehow alleviates a great deal of the symptoms, but what's the underlying problem?

Let's peer into the psychological field of study. You have your attention-class disorders, like Attentiion Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We've all heard a great deal about how these are running rampant in our children. Oh yes, there's a test that involves answering many questions. Once again, there is not a single source to the problem. It's a blanket term for what medicine has few answers except for the application of many pills.

Let's qualify this discussion. These are real problems and real issues for many people. They are not just in their head or made up problems for most. It makes sense that anyone would look to others, especially medical professionals, for solutions to problems that seem overwhelming and that our community says to just get over it so nonchalantly and disrespectfully.

The "for profit" nature of the medical business demands innovation; patients demand immediate relief; companies want to make money. It's very logical why the system is set up in this way and why it costs so much.

A good deal of what's missing here is patience and understanding. Our bodies and our minds are dynamic systems, constantly undergoing change. We begin to experience the slightest discomfort and immediately seek to cover it up. How will we ever rectify the underlying issue if we cannot feel anything about it?

Pain and suffering are hallmarks of our human life. Even if you don't focus on pain and suffering, they still exist. If not for us, for members of our community. Cells still die; cells still divide and multiply. The key here is to focus not on the pain and suffering, but what that is trying to tell us about our bodies and our minds. Covering it up is certainly a large part of the problem. Treating something that is natural as foreign is very troubling to us, and this is what most people demand when seeking assistance from the medical community.

Discomfort is telling us something about what we're doing and what we have done. It's trying to tell us to take a closer look at our lives and how we're living it. We find this process full of joy and renewable energy. Instead of focusing on the pain and the suffering, the symptoms of ignorance, we make an attempt at understanding the true source of that pain and that suffering.

The process is what's important here. As long as we focus our minds on finding an answer or the source of what's going on right now, we have the chance and the opportunity to actually figure it out, root out the problem and move on with our lives, unencumbered. If all we do is cover up what is still there, another symptom will undoubtedly present itself in our daily life.

What I'm after are real solutions, not something you have to swallow everyday. I believe that mostly, the answers come from within because that's where the problem originates. The problem is ignorance. Covering up ignorance instead of dispelling it is a large reason why so many of us suffer incessantly everyday of our lives. I'm lucky to have left that dis-ease and dis-order model behind.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Traumatic Memories as Testament to our Ignorance

Our main ambition with this blog is for us to have a place to write and ferret out our ignorance. Who knows where we'll end up. Hell, we started talking about where feelings originate, and ended up in the middle of the oil spill.

We attempt to not get so caught up in having to do things a certain way or things having a certain outcome for us. That's how trauma exposes our ignorance. It makes it obvious that we've been mistaken all along.

These traumatic memories people are experiencing everywhere, yes, they can shake the very foundations of your life this day. What having patience gives us is knowledge and understanding that we will get through this. That we will see to it that we will get to the other side of this moment. It is, after all, just a moment bookshelfed by other moments.

Traumatic memories are being made aware to you because you're learning to have patience for yourselves. You want to get better, and this is the process to get there.

Traumatic memories are like toxins, stuck inside of ourselves. Very similar to doing something daily that we know is not so healthy for us, but yet we do it again and again and again. It takes much more than an intellectual understanding to make a change, but that's where the process begins to detoxify our life.

Be open to your good day

Interlinking Interaction/Our Role in the Oil Spill

While interacting with anyone or doing anything, it is important to acknowledge any feelings or thoughts, good, happy, angry or sad as your own. Those feelings emanate from within yourself.

Oftentimes, we meet someone and good, positive feelings come about for us. That person is only touching on those special bits of yourself. Those good feelings were always there. The same can be said of anger. No one can make you feel angry. We already have that capacity within us as we read these words.

Why should we consider this line of thinking? One of the highest forms of our ignorance is thinking that the answers and the problems are from outside of our life. Many people will disagree. For us this becomes a practical matter. Regardless of the truth, if we don't believe that the solution is within us, we're going to be miserable about what's happening in our life.

We at least have a role to play in everything that's taking place. There's not one part of the universe that isn't directly dependent on the rest of the universe' existence. Even the oil spill in the Gulf. We all have a role to play in what is taking place off the Gulf Coast.

If we've ever pumped gas, used plastics or anything that involves an engine that runs on oil or its byproducts, then we absolutely have a role. What products are not shipped somewhere at some point in this country? Very, very few are not. Take locally made or finished goods. Even those almost always have shipping involved at some point in their construction, finishing or sale.

We actually do believe that everything we experience in our life has gone through only one thing, and that is our own mind. So yes, absolutely, the problems and the solutions are within.

The point here is not to beat up on ourselves about the oil spill or a milk spill. Once a mistake has been made, the resulting mess is happening regardless of anyone and anything. If we feel that we do have a role to play from this moment forward, than we may change the direction that we're all heading. We clean up the milk now, or it'll stink later. If someone hasn't cleaned up the milk, do we just let it stink up our world?

Working with Negative and Manipulative People

"I really try to avoid people who are negative and manipulative.......just don't need that... "

I understand what you say about negative and manipulative people. The truth is you can never rid yourself of those people. Especially, in a city where there are people wherever you go and all around you, but also in rural communities or even living in the woods.

People are only negative and manipulative because they do not know any better. The key with working with negative and manipulative people is to not get caught up in their ignorance, their lack of self-knowledge. How do I do this? By getting rid of my attachment and expectation for these people to do any different.

People are manipulative because they think that you have something that they don't have, and they will do anything to get it. That's what truth can create in one's life. People trying to swoop in and tear it out for themselves. They do not see the truth as being within their life right this moment.

That is why we should be open with our current version of the truth, because it isn't truth at all. It's our best effort right this moment, and it's all we have to offer ourselves or anyone else. The only way to get at the truth is to ventilate it.

There are moments when it becomes problematic and even dangerous to work with negative and manipulative people. Recently, we had a severe short circuit of our approach. What happened was we attempted to run away from someone. In the act of running away, we neglected to consider what we were running towards. That's what happens when we get attached, we suffer. We could not handle someone being a human being, and we wanted to get away from that person.

In these more difficult moments, do not run. If you feel as if you must run, there's too much of yourself involved in what's going on with the person. Take a moment to realize that their issue is not your own. Sometimes, there are no answers for a person who is not open to answers. We must allow a person to do something different. If we do need to escape due to our incomplete understanding and patience, do not jump into the next available person or situation. Realize that we allowed ourselves to get caught up and not get caught up with someone or something different in the next moment.

Setting Out on the Path of Ignorance Ridding

The goal of our every moment is to rid ourselves of ignorance. We take this goal very seriously. However, we cannot allow ourselves to get caught up in outcomes for ourselves or for others.

We will use these tools in this pursuit:
  • human interaction
  • contemplation
  • investigation of current thoughts and feelings

Human Interaction

This will be one of the most fertile grounds for ignorance ridding. Our belief is that everything in our entire lives, what we've ever felt or thought, has gone through only one thing, and that one thing is our mind.

Through human interaction, we will see our more subtle forms of attachment and expectation for others. We only wish for others to not experience pain or suffering, and embrace the happiness that is with all of us right in this very moment.

We have discovered that we expect our interaction to benefit others. That is an ignorant view that says more about us than about the benefit we wish for other people. We do not have any answers for other people. People have all the answers, all the understanding they will ever need.

Therefore, we must have all the understanding within us right now to ultimately rid ourselves of ignorance. Our own ignorance is the only item that stands in the way of understanding.


Contemplation is going to be what we will do our best to expose here. Thinking and feeling these fuzzy ideas and sensations is wonderful. However, if those ideas and sensations are not productive, that must be exposed. Contemplation is our vehicle for exposure of ignorance; and having a correspondence with our own ideas and feelings is what contemplation is all about.

You will note that we often use plural pronouns. We are one entity, but this one entity has many contradicting ideas and feelings. We believe everyone experiences contradiction. Assist us in ferreting out what is ignorance-based contradiction from what is natural contradiction.

Investigation of Current Thoughts and Feelings

This does run parallel to contemplation and definitely involves human interaction. However, mostly this will occur away from this space, as we are not actively interacting with others. We will bring that investigation in its most raw form to this space. You will soon see how much ignorance we truly do have within us.