Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Motivation

It was just as 2011's last day begun that I sat, the most inspired in my entire existence.
It is now that I set out to change the world.
Regardless of intention or action, thought or feeling, I change the world simply by breathing.

Imagine infusing that vital breath with intention for the well being of all and the action of our best efforts.
We can learn on our shared journey.

All our thoughts and feelings can be focused toward the good will and well being of all.
We can grow on our shared journey.

We all change the world.
Give that change impetus.
Give it momentum.
Give it your life.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Consider This: Making Transformation Possible

Every moment is full of change.

We must forge that change with intention and action, infused with patience for the outcomes, understanding for what we do not know and compassion for all, especially ourselves.

This is the way to make transformation happen, here, now and for all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finding Strength Within Emotional Intensity, Part Two

The intensity of some emotional experiences can be uplifting or utterly debilitating. Learning how to chart the intensity zones within garners true strength toward living, propelling and motivating us forward.
Beginning to Let Go of Emotional Reactivity

The exploration and embrace of our emotional system is a dynamic experience. This experience evolves as our emotional intelligence evolves. It is our reactivity to the intensity of our emotions that is most difficult to let go. Reactivity is a defense mechanism to push back on this input stream, to shut it down.

In striving to shut down that internal defensive process, patience is essential. This is similar to climbing out of the hole we dug for ourselves. We went into that hole for a reason or a set of reasons. Part of climbing out of that hole is contemplating what led us into it, what kept us inside of it and what comfort and security we receive while staying in that hole.

We must understand that wherever we find ourselves, it is okay. We don’t have to hide from where we are. It is that hiding from our reality that keeps us in our hole. We may not feel comfortable or secure in that dark place inside of us, but the comfort and security is there.

It’s the comfort from no exertion, from no risk. It’s the security of not letting this beautiful spirit and loving heart out into the world, to touch and heal all we encounter. It’s the heartfelt wish for all others to be free from pain, to be free from suffering.

Staying in that hole has kept us from putting action and intention toward that goal. It is the pain of the realization of our inattention in this pursuit that is extremely intense and difficult to embrace. We must feel that pain, completely. It’s a pain that all of us share. Pushing that pain away pushed us into our hole, keeping us from living for a better life, a better community and a better world.

If we had been active in this intent throughout this life, the world would be a much different place.
We don’t have to deny the world any longer.
We don’t have to deny ourselves any longer.

Follow this series.Finding Strength Within Emotional Intensity, Part One

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Finding Strength Within Emotional Intensity, Part One

The exploration of our mind is a vibrant journey.
There are many paths that we discover on that journey.
Emotions play a critical role on the journey within.
Emotions really are another sense. Mostly, emotions ebb and flow so easily, so quickly that if we’re not aware we lose a lot of rich data about how we live our lives.

The intensity of some emotional experiences can be uplifting or utterly debilitating. Learning how to chart the intensity zones within garners true strength toward living, propelling and motivating us forward.

Explore and Embrace the Source of Emotions

In order to discover the strength within the intensity of our emotional experiences, we must begin to embrace the reality that these emotions cannot be injected into us by others or by circumstances. Just as the nerves from finger to brain exist regardless if we’re touching something or someone, the emotional system is there regardless if we’re feeling anything or not.

This is not something to just accept and embrace. Explore the beginnings and endings of emotions within yourself. We must have a firm grasp on this truth, otherwise we’ll constantly become distracted or weighed down by the sheer volume of emotional data we receive daily.

Mistakenness begins with assumption and survives with attachment. Challenge this idea that emotions somehow originate from others, others who somehow inject these emotions into us. If emotions came from others, we’ll always play slave to others.

When intense emotions do fire in our emotional system, it is difficult for the mind, initially, to treat these as simply sensory data. Just as many chefs over an extended period of time and experience in the kitchen become less reactive to burns and cuts, so can we become less reactive to our emotional intensity.

Embracing this rich source of data is something that will take a great deal of compassion, patience and understanding. It is only through opening awareness to these emotions that we learn what each is attempting to tell us about our life and our connection to the universe. This is the process of re-forging that connection.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Mind as a Knife to Cloud

Our senses and our perceptions are inaccurate and imperfect. Both of these dynamic aspects of living have an amazing impact on how we approach our daily life.

Our mind is the life blood and nervous system to these senses and perceptions. Considering we are the operators of our body, it is entirely up to us how we wield our senses and shape our perceptions. Our senses select the clay; our mind selects the tools and methods to form that clay. We then can manifest a new reality.

It is entirely possible to be in a rolling meadow of flowers and butterflies and be upset about allergies and insects. It is also possible to be in this same meadow and not think of anything about anything there or anywhere. We could even be contemplating astrophysics while having a picnic on the meadow. Truly, all options are available and connected through this life through only our mind. It is up to us.

Mostly, people take little to no ownership over the mental processes that govern living. It is astoundingly easy to cede ownership and control over our life to others, to events and to conditions. On the surface our life seems all about these aspects as everything is connected. It is far easier to see and touch life outside of our bodies then consider the life inside our mind. We can think life is out there, however, life is lived through our mind alone. Ultimately, it is up to us what we see and how we see it.

Others, events and conditions can overwhelm our senses and twist our perceptions but only if we allow ourselves to become confused, disoriented and unaware. Challenging our minds to embrace this ownership of on-the-spot living is easy to do but difficult to sustain. Anyone can focus the mind with intention for a moment. Sustaining that focus through foggy mornings and stormy nights is difficult, but it is possible. It is up to us.

Anyone can take the wheel; few realize the most effective and efficient ways of navigation with that wheel, as there is no one way to do anything. Becoming the ultimate observer over the effects of our actions and intentions is the only process that has the potential to reach the ideal of effective, efficient living.

The mind is powerful. It governs this body, it focuses the senses and it acts on this life. In the midst of a storm, the mind can cut through the distractive aspects of that storm and we can navigate through it.

This is not about ignoring the storm; that could have deadly consequences. This is about engaging with the storm, learning about it, as we've engaged and learned about our self.

We’re learning how to navigate this ship called life through the turbulence of now. The turbulence is only an illusion. We can see through that illusion if we see it as such. It is up to us.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Consider This: Frustration`s Fuel

Frustration is potentially possible at all times. That frustration resides in our desire to have things our way.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Responsibility in Not

“I may have lost a month, but I do not have to lose another.”

Taking responsibility can be helpful, destructive or meaningless. Intentions and actions are critical fuels for taking responsibility. Often, we consider only actions with regard to our responsibilities in life. The role of inaction in our lives and the lives of others in our community takes a far greater toll and is a far heavier weight than most realize.

It is through inaction that abusive situations are allowed to fester and infect the community. It is through inaction that beneficial energies are never collected and spread to those in need. It is through inaction that distances us from doing anything with this extraordinary opportunity called life and living.

Truly, the worthiness of life is dictated by what we do not choose to do. Our capacity and worth are limitless qualities. The only limits we place on that capacity are self-constructed. By not doing anything, we save ourselves from culpability by others. This does not save us from the responsibility from doing nothing; it only saves us from risking what we have, risking the comfortable conditions we may feel we must have and risking being mistaken or seen as not perfect.

Any bit of comfort and security we enjoy are illusory. None of it is substantial or lasting. Resting in this state creates a logjam in the river of potential and possibility. The comfort and security we so wish to hold onto with all that we do and don’t do makes freedom and joy less likely to develop, and not only just for ourselves but for others as well.

Risk and responsibility are connected.

It is a risk to explore what stymies me.
It is a risk to do so with open heart and open mind.
It is a risk to let go of not doing anything.
It is my responsibility to see this through.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Potency of Injury

Although change is within every moment, it is far more difficult to manifest a new reality with your own intentions and actions as the primary driving force.

Despite all evidence living offers to the contrary, everything is in a constant state of change, including our bodies and especially our lives. Our intentions and actions can direct that change by our own will.

Examine the life of a professional athlete. It requires years of concerted effort to drive their bodies and minds to what brings about inspiration and joy to many while those bodies and minds compete on the field or the floor.

Many of these athletes have also had to handle major injuries. Overcoming injury is what makes living so potent with possibility.

We are resilient creatures. It is our resilience that makes us human.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Internal Water Cycle

Life is simple. Consciousness is an intricate overlay on that simple life.

This is a personal account I make here today. An attempt to not impale hope on the spire of personal degradation.

Much progress can be made in our daily lives. Any progress made is more often than not lost. Sustaining progress is where real transformation takes on a new life.

Meanwhile, we're lost in this internal water cycle. Progress is made, usually involving some wind and tears. This waters our grounds, allowing life to grow in many ways, some flowers, some weeds, all seeds that we plant continuously.

So, the sun comes out, and shines on what we're growing in our life. Sometimes what we then see isn't quite what we expected.

We didn't even realize we've been planting seeds throughout every day, and there's a hole in our pocket where we kept all of the seeds. This is why our life is a hit and miss mess. We must get out of this endless cycle. The only answer seems ever increasing levels of awareness.

We're not even aware our living has seeded our life.
We're not even aware of what grows from that living.
We're not even aware of how to change both.

We're making awareness a priority.
We're making awareness pivotal.
We're making awareness in everything that we do.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Out of the Padded Room: From Intention to Action

“Life can become rigid. It can also become pliable.”
If we consider for only a minute at the end of our day what we wish to accomplish when next we wake, we can begin to open our life in an entirely new set of directions. This “new set” has always been possible and despite what we do or don’t do, it is always within reach. We embark on this “new set” on our own terms.

This new ownership and direction is an eye-opener for many as we may have been filling our day with numerous actions and activities with no intention or direction, maybe even nourishment without any conceivable benefit.

What is the intention behind all of our actions today? What is it that we’re really after?

Are we checking someone else’s boxes for our life, or do we directly determine what boxes we wish to set out to check this day?

These are all critical questions that mostly are left to linger in the backs of our minds. Rarely do we even listen to these concerns. Even rarer do we bother to search our actions for any relevance in our daily living. We’ve locked away our living potential in a padded room.

Some of our activities are about nourishing ourselves or others, but if we do not set out the energy of intention that fuels all those activities, we’re placing all of that nourishment in a padded room. It’s as if we’ve been watering a plant in a room with no light; it’s not going to grow much, if at all. Also, we are unable to tell when we’ve added too much water. We may just be drowning what we wish to grow.

One can do much when locked away in a life of comfort and security without ever leaving that padded room. Oblivious to the events going on outside of our padded existence is like remaining in a burning building and wondering why it is that we’re suffocating without ever venturing out of supposed comfort to discover the answers.

How do we get out of this situation?

Unlocking that door requires looking for the key. The key is here with us right now, hidden in our padded room. Intention is like a light source, allowing us to find the key we threw into the darkness of futility. Do we turn it on?

We must tread carefully here. Lack of fulfillment of our intentions can be quite the weapon at keeping us down. Perhaps, our intentions are a bit diffuse or a bit too concrete. We must explore these intentions thoroughly.

What about what we want to do is unrealistic or even unhealthy? What about what we can do right here and now is not fulfilling? What are we doing? Why are we doing it?

Challenge your intentions thoroughly, but do not allow the challenge to diminish your capacity. We’re looking for what is possible now, not some outlandish ethereal dream. Perhaps, we will find a path to that Olympian existence in the clouds at the height of the mountain, but we must triumph over today in order to begin that journey to greatness. We need hiking gear and elements of sustenance.

Simple exposure of our intentions is the first step. Then, we set out on the actions and activities to fulfill those intentions. Some people have the best of intentions but rarely examine how best to actualize these in any real way. If we don’t construct a path to reach what we want in our life, we wait for someone else or some “higher power” to deliver them to us, becoming upset at those other people and other powers when nothing changes.

What works and what doesn’t can change from day to day, season to season, place to place. If we expect a walk in the park to provide relief always, we’re ignoring the reality of stormy days, dark and lonely nights and a bitter, cold winter blizzard. We must not become stubborn in our movement forward.

The ritual of coffee brewing can be highly charging for the day. However, some days there simply are no beans to grind. Can we really reason it out that without coffee we cannot function? This is another pitfall: getting stuck by the comfort of the padding of our room.

Becoming open to this present moment is a simple concept, but it is much more difficult to apply adequately and thoroughly. Deciphering if yesterday’s nourishment is today’s numbing agent is extremely difficult, as what wakes us up can also put us to bed. Determining the difference is critical in moving forward. The difference is our mental effort involved in what we’re doing. That effort is our intention behind everything that we do and don’t do.

Step by step, day by day we’ll begin to see what has little relevance to meeting our objectives. As we begin this ongoing dialogue with our day, we’ll find new ways of living. It is a natural outgrowth from connecting intentions with actions. The lines of cause and effect are difficult to decipher, yet imagine if we can find just one of those lines. Once we see how cause and effect interact with our life we can begin to affect both.

Can we remain in the padded room that has become our life? It might not feel like the cushy existence because we yearn not only for more but to do more. The padded room is painful for that reason alone.

We know there’s much to do. The building is on fire. Will we just stand by in our own darkness, suffocating on our ineffectiveness and disconnectedness? Or, are we going to discover our way out of the confines of our padded room living?

Can we not apply a minimum of effort? Can we not take that one minute at the end of the day to imagine what we want to accomplish when next we wake?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Etch-a-Sketch Life

We are composed of similar bits of matter and energy. Each gathering of matter and energy is dependent upon the whole of matter and energy for its existence. In fact, there’s a steady stream of matter and energy into and out of each of us. These streams tether us to the rest of the universe whether we’re aware of this fact or not.

Stop water flowing into our bodies, and we can die.

Yet, our deaths are not the end of what makes up this life. What happens at death is simply the further dispersal of the matter and energy that has been driving this entity called life. At death, this matter and energy begins to scatter back into the broader universal stream. Despite appearing eternally in flux, the whole has not changed.

The universe, just like life, is as an Etch-a-Sketch. We can draw all over the screen. We can make one shape; we can make many shapes. We can cover up old shapes with new shapes; we can also incorporate the old shapes into new ones. At any point in time, we can shake the Etch-a-Sketch and all of it seemingly disappears. Despite this disappearance, all that was ever on the screen remains within the Etch-a-Sketch itself.

Appearances are equally deceiving. Opening our minds to the exploration of this reality called life is a process. An infinite capacity for creation and destruction exists in each of us. Despite all that we can build and all that we can dismantle, in the next breath we can begin anew.

Challenging all of the assumptions of appearance without dismantling our life and our connections is difficult. However, the pursuit can yield tangible results.

At any stage in our journey, we need only shake up our assumptions and begin anew. Regardless of starting fresh or continuing to work with the shapes of today, it is only the appearance that has changed. The capacity for both remains.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Awareness in Vulnerability

We are vulnerable beings. We live; we suffer; we die. Despite these truths, it is possible to create an illusion of invulnerability, both mentally and emotionally. The creation of these illusions is the source of much of our confusion and sustains the suffering throughout our life toward our eventual death. This confusion creates a barrier to the awareness that is consistently available in every moment.

Our vulnerability is a vibrant, infinite reservoir of awareness. It provides immediate feedback. To not utilize such a rich source of data about our life and how we live it is a critical lapse in awareness. We must explore the origins of our awareness lapse; otherwise, our confusion will continue to infect everything we do.

Ownership and awareness of our vulnerability is not the cliché “succumbing to our fears.” In fact, it is through acceptance of our fears that we take the first step toward working through those fears.

Fears can be real warnings of danger. Sometimes, fears can be conjured up visions to hold us back from making real change, not only in our own life but in the lives of others. It is far easier to sit and suffer than get up and do something about it, especially when uncertain of what to do. That uncertainty originates in our unwillingness to experience our vulnerability.

We may be in a terrible situation, but it’s a situation we know well, and not all of it is so terrible. There’s at least a bit of stability within the terrible, otherwise we would not be able to survive it. Our fears and our vulnerability make leaving behind that bit of stability almost intolerable.

This is why, despite all the evidence, people stay in abusive situations. For some, the abusive situation holds the only source of stability they can ever be open to living right now. To face the vulnerability this situation presents in their life is terrifying. The intensity of that terrifying truth is too much. Instead of facing it, it’s completely blocked. It’s blocked by an unwillingness to embrace vulnerability, feel our fear and then do something about both.

Using words and phrases like vulnerability and working through fear are lovely ideas. How can we translate these words and phrases into real changes right here, right now?

This is a process, much like a natural spring we find in the desert. We need to drink from the spring often. Too often, we can become choked or engorged with water. Not enough, we become parched quickly. Patience is crucial.

Someone just turned out the lights. If we have patience, our eyes will grow accustomed to less light and we will see again. The same is true with our vulnerability. At first it can be blinding or deafening. If we sit in that vulnerability for a bit, we will be able to see and hear again.

Truly, we can each go to this natural spring within us in any moment. Maybe, it’s become barely a trickle. If we open up, it will flow free again.

We’ve been living life in an entirely different way for the majority of our life. We can always go back to that state of normalcy, and we probably all will when we walk away from this moment. What’s the real risk in attempting something different for just a bit? That’s where you start.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Fruits of Our Mind

When uncertain of what to do, let loose your mind on this very moment.
The potential in every moment is determined by our minds alone.
The mind is a powerful force. It is as a wild animal. Our mind uses our senses as tentacles, retrieving data on the environment. What data we retrieve is a combination of the intentional focusing of our senses on an object and our senses naturally collecting information autonomously. Data collection is either wild or tamed by our intention. Either way, our minds are constantly engaging the world.

The mind is not just a data retrieval vessel. It takes this data and sorts it, truncates it, attaches it to all the other data that has already been sorted, truncated and attached. It is this mental activity that we can alter.

Begin the exploration of the mind.
Close your eyes. Become open to simply watching the mind do what it does.
Don't force or control it, just watch your mind's efforts.
These efforts are the potential fruits of your life.
We can guide our mind and decide which fruits ripen to perfection and which fruits wither on the vine, nourishing the whole.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remaining Without

The struggle, nearly over.
Letting go of the struggle, just begun.
Where do we go, what do we do?
What is it that must be done?
Letting go of our being, off in the distance.
That is where and what without remaining.

We are battling back. Thrilled with rolling into the season of our fall.

Friday, July 29, 2011

In-between the Bookends

The day is filled with thoughts and feelings. These tumble one after another, sometimes forming synergistic experiences. We attempt to label these special experiences with words, like ecstasy, trauma, bliss, synergistic, special. None of these words could ever accurately describe the actual experience. It is something one must directly experience and witness for oneself.

There are actual activities and atmospheres that can yield paths to these direct experiences. The paths all lead to the same place, a deep mental and emotional connection to the present moment. This means the capacity is omnipresent; it is right here, right now, always.

What is it that blocks us from these extra ordinary, direct experiences of thought and feeling? It is our ignorance, our mistakenness. Both direct experience AND mistakenness are concurrently existent. Through awareness of our mistakenness we open the door to direct experience.

Awareness is not judgmental. Awareness is openness. It is not about right. It is not about wrong. Simply, awareness just is. It is in every thing and every one and is within this very moment.

The allure of these synergistic experiences can also close down that awareness. Too easily, we become attached to the greatness in ecstasy and bliss. This attachment denies us continued awareness and simultaneously closes the door on openness.

We also block less “feeling good” emotions and thoughts with aversive measures. Aversion is our mental reaction to not having it our way.
Between the two bookends of attachment and aversion, the vacuum of our self takes hold.

Our mind was designed for awareness, not for vacancy. It is this vacuum of self, the space between attachment and aversion, which is the barrier for direct experience. We’ve created a logjam within the universe, attempting to hold onto what we want and pushing off what we do not. In these synergistic moments, the logjam has been dislodged, if only for just a moment.

Imagine removing this logjam intentionally. Only we can remove the barrier of the idea of our self. Through exploration and awareness of this vacuum we can begin its purposeful removal.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Internal Waters of Thinking of You

We all think about others. There are countless impressions we have when we think of people and things. These impressions are a heterogeneous mixture of mental images and emotional sensations with bits of memory and stage direction scattered and connected throughout. It’s a big mash up made entirely by our mind.

If we let go of the bits of memory and dismantle the stage directives, it frees up that mental/emotional framework for exploration. It is all the holding on and having it our way activities that block joy and happiness that are in that mash of stuff called our life. Clearing and halting all of those activities present many obstacles, but in each obstacle is an extraordinary opportunity, the opportunity to do something entirely different.

Each obstacle we encounter is mostly of our own creation. Whatever it is that we’re feeling and thinking at this moment comes about naturally. It falls apart naturally as well. What clouds and muddles this process is our memories of before and our hopes and fears moving forward.

We rarely achieve a clear view of our present thoughts and emotions in the moment. In fact, it can be extremely overwhelming to begin to explore either, especially considering the longevity of our ignorance of this inner universe. This is why patience is a cornerstone to progress toward a new way. These uncharted waters have been with us in every moment of our existence. What we have done and not done have accumulated much in these uncharted internal waters for at least our entire life.

Consider the oceans at large we were born into, namely our families, our communities, our country and our world: the accumulated bits of everything and everybody that have been since when. Almost everything that is here and now has been here for a very long time. From this world of stagnation, opportunity for liberation is plentiful, even omnipresent. If we can unclutter the mental and emotional reservoirs, we can begin the journey of reunification.

For the majority of our lives, we have felt set apart from all that we see and experience. Plentiful have been the moments where separation seemed clear and apparent. Rarely, have we thoroughly challenged that clear and apparent nature of life, that somehow we’re separated from all else. Considering the constant flux of matter and energy into and out of this body and this mind, how could we ever have believed we were separate and somehow singled out from the rest?

Letting go of memory isn’t forgetting the past; it is letting go of our limited version of it. Our mistakenness of our real nature has poisoned our well of memories. We must release these memories from the consistent control we wish to wield on others as well as our self.

All of our machinations of tomorrow must be released. All that makes up tomorrow is present here and now. As much as we do not desire external control, we must not direct control outward. These machinations are movies and stories we contrive.

Constantly, we are holding casting calls, building and deconstructing stages and set designs. Our plans for the future are both elaborate and subtle in the ways we seek to control others and the conditions we find ourselves within today.

Search your thoughts. Search your feelings.

Are the people you think and feel about real or imagined? Certainly, people are living lives all over this planet. But are the thoughts and feelings about these actual people accurate and reflective of the life that each has led? Just like us, each person has their own sets of thoughts and feelings. Are those sets of sensations in our thoughts and feelings about those people, or do we just have impressions of people, impressions that are not based in reality whatsoever?

Challenge your thoughts. Challenge your feelings.

These thoughts and feelings ebb and flow, come about and fall apart continuously, one after another after another. With minimal challenging, we can discover the true nature of both. Thoughts and feelings come out of our mind like a natural spring.

Imagine if we let that natural spring flow free.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Changing the Observer into the Observed

The mind lives through the brain and the body through the sensory apparatus and consciousness. The mind is not just a physical object that can be cut out and dissected. It spans outside of the physical body through the sensory organs and the consciousness using the body to manipulate, re-orient and alter the surrounding physical world.

Mostly, we apply minimal effort to the examination of how our mind and body interact with each other and our world. Our curiosity of the inner universe should be nurtured, as it is this inner universe that directly engages with our connection to the whole that is the universe. If we open ourselves to the real connection that exists between us and everything else, we embark on a journey that seeks to cut through the illusion-centered existence that clouds our judgment and muddles our involvement.

Ignoring the realm most accessible to us anywhere and anytime and in any conditions is an option for us all. Despite ignorance of this internal realm, it is always there. Our mind was developed to explore. If we do not take ownership over the mind’s exploration, this is where the subconscious is allowed to reign. We can rejoin with our subconscious by exploring it. The way to explore it is to turn the mind on itself and observe the ultimate observer.

The option is always there. We can continue to choose to take this option lightly. Imagine what would be possible if we take that option seriously. We could begin unraveling the causes and the effects in our lives. We don’t even need to devote the entire day to this exploration. We could just try this for a moment, even less than a minute. Our day deserves at least that much.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Masks of Appearance

Appearances can dominate the mind and cloud our judgment because the mind is where appearance is born, takes residence and seizes control.

The mind gathers information about our environment through the senses using the sensory organs to do so. The sheer mountain of sensory input that is continuously being generated makes it difficult to end the dominance of both the sensory information and our categorization of that input in our daily life. It is the combination of the volume and the sorting of volume where appearance takes hold. It is far easier to assume with casual gathering observations than to uncover the truth behind the surface of those initial observations.

We can see a car, even drive a car, without any clue as to how the car is able to be and do. We can see a car that is a stationary and not realize if it was either simply idle but drivable or if it was broken down and needing to be carted off with a tow. Mostly, we don’t try to find the keys to someone else’s car to discover which is true. This is the same with most of our assumptions based on appearances. We elect to not take off the mask and explore what lay underneath.

We don’t challenge appearances easily. In fact, if we challenge every appearance, we would not be able to do much on this earth and in this society that could affect change on much of anything.

The amazing aspect of the mind is its discernment function. With exploration of the mind, we can begin to unravel how the mind works and why it works in the way it does. We can learn which mental expeditions are the most efficient and effective at retrieving the most rich, diverse data for the most useful and expansive mental functions.

Once we set off on one of these mental expeditions, we directly impact and affect what we are exploring. We change the circumstances. Sometimes, these changes can yield amazingly rich data on what lay underneath the appearance. Sometimes, it yields misleading or fallacious data due to our interference. If we were to walk away, it may return back to the previous state, or we may have started a process of continued adaptation without any further intervention.

Appearances are at the heart of our daily lives. Appearances drive our decisions. Taking off the masks of appearance can assist us in both.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Hurt Struggle

“You hurt me.”

If we feel others have hurt us, this is mostly not true. We most often hurt ourselves.

Harm comes to us in three major ways: physical, mental and emotional. Emotional and mental harm, however, are self-created. We only use others in order to do the harm to ourselves without claim of ownership. What we think and what we feel are our own thoughts and feelings. Although we all have the capacity for similar thoughts and similar feelings, these are internal, individual experiences.

This discussion is challenging; let us ease into it.

Certainly, we can physically harm others. We, however, have a fairly superior role in where we are and who is around us. There are some very notable exceptions, sometimes involving work and home. Work and home environments, however, are mostly dictated by our own judgments at certain points.

Other major exceptions do exist in our modern world, involving totalitarian rule and grand scale oppression. Recently, weaknesses have been exposed even in these ways of governance and control. Despite these exceptions, unless we’re being held against our will, we hold the superior role. This does not make the role an easy one; it just means that it is ours to wield.

As long as we continue to see life as being done to us, we’re going to languish in suffering. If we realize we’re at work for a reason, that we live where we do for a reason, then the life dynamic changes from one of victim to overseer. This moment immediately becomes more workable.

We will get through this moment to the next regardless of effort or lack thereof. It is the way in which we consider this moment and our role in it that is the only difference.

We can become distracted by the struggle against reality. It is our struggle against what is that does not much to alter the current state of affairs. A fiery, feisty spirit can be a huge benefit in difficult times, but it can also get in the way. Learning the difference between fighting and accepting is not a clear difference.

Lack of struggle cannot be simple acquiescence. We’re not going to just take it. We’re going to do something about it. To be able to do something about it, we must be able to take it in completely and fully. That is why we have our senses connected to our mind. These senses are a set of devices designed to assist us in working through this moment, directly altering matter and energy to manifest a seemingly different next moment.

None of this is easy. Understanding our role in our life is just a step toward a new life status, one where life and living is on our terms, not the terms of others. Does this mean we don’t contract with people and entities in order to gain a firm footing? No. But, when we do, we need to realize the need, accept the help and live within that contract. Considering other more autonomous options is part of this ongoing process.

We must be careful here. Just because life and living come back under our umbrellas of authority and responsibility, does not stop the tumultuous nature of life weathering that is ongoing. What it does give us is an opportunity to learn as we go, witnessing the results of our direct interventions as we do. This is how we learn as we actively live.

If we’re looking for a simple answer to permanently cure our pain, we won’t find it. The answers have been covered up by misconstruing the source of pain and the source of salvation as something outside of us. Neither is true. Through the exploration of our roles in our lives, we at least give ourselves an opportunity of uncovering these sources from the universe within. It is, after all, the universe within that connects us directly to the universe as a whole.

Friday, June 24, 2011

An Enemy of Hostility: Understanding

To understand hostility is to understand insanity.

Hostility is a commonality in our society. It is delivered in both direct and subtle ways. Direct hostility is more easily dealt with in group settings, less so when dealing one-on-one. Subtle hostility is both difficult to detect and to counteract.

Both direct and subtle hostility can be dangerous and deadly when ignored. Beginning an exploration about each can yield benefits in a hostile workplace as well as a hostile world. Not embarking on that exploration prior to hostile acts may prove more dangerous and deadly than the hostility itself.

“To understand hostility is to understand insanity.” This is where to start in approach, attempt understanding, always. If we’ve been attempting understanding in other less dire situations, it will be there for us in our last moment or give us one last opportunity to change the course of a situation.

Hostility one-on-one can be the cliché life and death situation. Sometimes, there are no actions that can be taken to survive a direct attack, surprise or foreseen. If there is a little room for action, the action we take must be skilled, targeted and delivered with the force of our life.

Last year when I was assaulted and my life was attempted to be taken from this Earth, it was on-the-spot generation of understanding that saved my body from further harm and death.

As I knew my attacker, I didn’t see the attack coming, at all. There was no running from this, as I was truly completely alone and truly completely vulnerable. It was the shock of not having any awareness that I reacted to, not the physical attack by the person. Somehow, generating understanding was the proper response in that specific situation.

“Why are you doing this to me?” was what came out of my bloodied mouth. My on-the-spot attempt to understand my attacker saved my life. The would-be killer had this look of abject horror cross his face, and then he took off, leaving me behind to pick up the pieces.

I’ve been on a constant pursuit of understanding others. It comes naturally for me now. Understanding has become my default response to adversity, to feeling alien amidst the masses.

Understanding is a bridge between us. Even the most harsh of circumstances can be directly affected by its on-the-spot generation. Does this always yield success? No. But it does open up the door on possibility. That is the definition of understanding, being open to possibility.

To remain living despite my momentary lack of awareness is humbling. One moment of lacking awareness nearly ended my life. One moment of understanding brought it back from the brink caused by my break in my awareness.

Any missteps any of us ever take are understandable. If we remain vigilant in the midst of these missteps, we may be able to take a different step.

We must continually open the door of understanding.
We must consistently walk through it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Effort, From Rubble to Rubble

Effort is a curious enterprise. It involves the combining of body and mind with external and internal resources to achieve something beyond the individual components alone. Effort is at the core of what it is to be human. We have the mind to use our body to manifest immediate and long-term changes in our lives and in our environments.

All effort and all outcomes, however, cannot be kept or stored in any way. To attempt to hold onto any effort or any outcome is a common misstep. This desire to hold on is a supreme source of pain and suffering in our lives. As long as this desire to hold on remains, we create pain and we create suffering. We sabotage all that we do, and we limit what is possible.

Effort can produce a pile of rubble to a spiking skyscraper. The timing and methods used in its construction are critical in reaching the highest of outcomes. A skyscraper will become a pile of rubble and can do so by many means. Actually, the skyscraper is already made up of a pile of rubble, it just isn’t obvious. Poor construction, malicious acts and unwitting accidents can quicken the pace toward this rubblehood. Natural means will eventually do away with all these things, including all skyscrapers.

Due to the rubble nature of all things, from obvious rubble to skyscraper-looking rubble, we must learn to let go of our effort and unleash it upon our day. Give this effort freely as effort is infinitely replenishable.

In observing others as well as myself, I’ve discovered the grasping nature of effort in modern day society. Effort has become very self-fulfilling, and the results of that effort seem to be absolutely unfulfilling for everyone. The excruciating results of self-fulfilling efforts can be witnessed everywhere, simply observe others with understanding and compassion.

If we are attached to the results of our effort, and, only act when we can hold onto those results, every action and every thought of action weighs us down considerably. Our mental activity becomes one of determining who and what is worthy of our effort. Attempting to determine winners and losers in all that we do limits not only our capacity to act but the quality of the results.

These mental gymnastics wear down the mind and the body. Any action we do take becomes unfocused; every observation we do make becomes distracted. Another option does exist. We can exert effort freely with no thought of keeping that effort to our self. In the very next moment, we can make effort again. Our body and our mind can continuously regenerate effort and action.

Yes, the body’s capacity changes, but so can our effort. Broken bones and disabilities do not end our ability to apply effort. In fact, these challenges help to focus that effort with expert precision. Certainly, we can see disabilities as limitations or as our tore down body-mind skyscraper, but we can see them as something quite different. We can see them as opportunities to discover other internal resources and capacities to build something altogether better, and not for our own self-interest, but for the interests of others.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Irritabilities, Origins Within

Irritability. Where does it come from? When it strikes, it seems everything is prickly, everything is hurtful, everything is tainted by pain and infused with suffering.

We certainly find ourselves irritable often. In those moments, clarity of thought vanishes, actions become muddled and our intentions become toxic with expectation.

Perhaps, the supposed symptoms of irritability are actually the cause of it. If that is so, where and what is our first step down this well-worn path?

Expectation has many subtle avenues into thoughts, feelings and actions. Without expectations, where is the fuel for irritation? Without expectations, where are the barriers between us and others?

We create these ideas of others and ideas of outcomes and expect someone to step into the outcome we’ve envisioned.

Learning to disengage expectations is an enduring pursuit. It is a pursuit worthy of consistent, sincere effort. It is a pursuit we must embark upon today, every day. In the midst of irritation, it is vital.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fear and Loneliness, In a Crowded Space

We’ve experienced this, congregating with good intent, for right purpose.

We feel good, we feel sufficiently congregrated.

Yet, there’s this guttural undertone. We feel alien. We feel alone. We feel scared. We’re in a crowded space.

Reaching out is nearly automatic. Reaching out invokes response.

Initially, we reach out to those physically nearest us. We feel a connection to this moment we describe and experience. Yet, the response hits the rocks that comprise our self.

Questions, concerns, fears take over.

What are these people after? Is this some personal joke, where we’re the punch line?

Are they just working out some past personal travesty on us? Simply, checking some box to feel better about who and what they are? Which and why they have done what they have done?

Not dissuaded by the falling so short of initial response, we begin expanding our reaching out beyond the immediate physical space that feels so crowded. This seems much like writhing in a desert and imagining water. Can any good come from it?

What possible relief is so not here that we must conjure it up with our mind? And, this conjured vision of relief is elsewhere, not here. Are our hopes that distant from the reality we appear to occupy?

Maybe, our hopes and our reality are neither.

It appears obvious; our immediate attempts at immediate relief will not be answered. Our secondary attempts at relief will not be answered. Not because the answers are not there, but because of where we seek those answers, from others.

As long as we look for salvation and relief from outside of us, we will absolutely fail at both. The way we feel is internal junk and not fired up by some external source. Any change of how we feel must originate internally, not from some external salvation. Any change of how we think begins with our mind and ends with what we do with it.

We fear what we feel we cannot affect in this life. We feel alone when we feel we cannot affect others in any productive way, one-on-one or in some crowded space.

Both the fear and the loneliness are apparitions. Both are an illusion we create to not act and to feel frozen in inaction.

Our intention, good, has been allowed to become clouded by the ideas of tomorrow and the failures of yesterday.

Both the hopes and the fears live in this day. Neither are standalone.

Both hope and fear drag life into the emotional gutter, the mind locking the door on the way down.

Neither hope nor fear can provide any relief for any one.

Hopes and fears are synonymous. Let go of both now. Live now.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Death Happens, Understanding Happens

Death happens. It’s what makes life possible.

Our lives are much different than we can ever understand with thought or feeling alone. Still, just a consideration of death and life can yield concepts approaching understanding of everything, approaching enlightenment.

Our mind is what sets us apart from the rest of the universe. This apartness is at the heart of much of our pain and all of our suffering because it is not true. In reality, everything that is the universe is still here, no less, no more. It’s the same everything, it just seems completely different.

In every bit of us are the beginnings of the universe. In every bit of us are bits of mom, bits of dad, bits of humanity.

The same is true of everyone you meet and in everything you can see or feel. We are inextricably connected to everything and everyone.

When we are born, the universe did not change or shift at all. The same is true when we die, the universe does not alter or change course whatsoever. The universe just is. And, we are part of that is, alive or dead.

Every bit of the past no longer exists. The past is all the present is. The present contains all that will be all futures. Those futures will all ultimately be called a present.

Search for deeper understanding. It is there.
Challenge the assumptions at the heart of your every day.
Everything that ever was is in this day. Everything that will ever be is in this day.

We can unleash the potential of right now.
We have a mind. We have a heart. We have a body. What do you want to do with it?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Relax and Relieve, Shed and Open

As I relax, my body relaxes.

Tears Shed.
Our Grip Begins to Loosen.
The Universe Begins to Open.

My body is a physical form in a constant state of change. It is not a form, though; it is an attempt to hold matter and energy together, connected autonomously.

Tears Shed.
Our Grip Loosens Further.
The Universe Opens.

When I consider allowing someone to use their hands and their intention on my body in a loving, healing way, we just cannot comprehend how anyone ever would.

Tears Shed.
Our Grip Loosens Further.
The Universe Opens.

How could anyone love this, want good for this? How could anyone wish any relief for me?

Tears Shed.
Our Grip Loosens Further.
The Universe Opens.

How could I ever accept what I cannot understand?

Tears Shed.
Our Grip Loosens Further.
The Universe Opens.

Keep Trying.
Attempt Understanding Always.
Loosen Your Grip.
Shed Your Tears.
Open Yourself Up.
Rediscover Your Universe.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Uncover Our Role in Our States of Living

Every one of us is looking for a few basic things. We want to feel good and we don’t want to feel bad. This is the difference between peace & happiness and pain & suffering. We should remain open to understanding how these states of living (peace, happiness, pain and suffering) develop in our life.

What brings about these states of living? Where do they come from? How can we affect these states? Why do they exist? When will it end?

Connecting cause and effect is critical to transforming our life. The only way to transform our life is to develop a deep understanding of our direct role in the development and experience of each of these states of living. There’s much we do every day to maximize the good and minimize the bad, we just fumble the ball, pay little to no attention and don't challenge our view of it whatsoever.

Elaborate orchestrations do not create peace and happiness.
Events and traumas do not create pain and suffering.

The mind is what highlights the states of living. The mind focuses on one set over the other set, and can move from one to another quickly. Realizing the powerful role our minds have in every bit of this process begins to place the wheel back in our hands.

When we suffer, instead of just being miserable with it, be curious about how the suffering develops and sustains itself. What are the factors that govern the development and the disipation of the suffering? How can we interrupt the development and quicken the rate of disipation?

When we're happy, really challenge the origin of that happiness. Is it somehow injected into us from some external source, or is it always underlying every moment of our existence and we just don't acknowledge it or actively ignore it? How many times have we felt happy and instead of embracing this state of mind, we push it away and attempt to silence it?

It can be scary to feel sustained happiness. It wakens up our mind and our awareness, and there's plenty we've ignored and for far too long. The flood of awareness can be overwhelming, so instead of focusing that awareness we shut it down completely.

Let us nurture all of our states of living. Let us get to know each.
Let us uncover our natural state and embrace it openly.
Let us have patience as we explore this wonder we call life.
Let us just be.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

In Contention

Contending with difficult moments that remain transfixed in the present.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Consider This: The House of Up and Down

Most of our lives involve ups followed by downs. This is so familiar because it’s nearly ubiquitous our entire life. It seems as if some are able to break this cycle while others never challenge it. Most of us ride in the middle somewhere, challenging the cycle periodically, and falling back into it casually.

The ease with which we set up shop in the house of up and down is terrifying. Considering the impact on our personal evolution, this house needs to not only be left behind, but be completely obliterated from our lives.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Daily Living Explorer

For years, I've been exploring new ways of living, with limited means and extraordinary methods. After much consideration, it seemed the proper moment to expand this exploration from a hands-on and on-my-own journey into an ever expanding continuously regenerating opportunity for better living.

This written journey will be called The Daily Living Explorer

Perhaps, through a sharing of my explorations, others can begin their own exploration of their own life.

Infuse your life with Joy. Refuse to take your life any other way.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Making Action With Awareness

Making decisions is a critical part of our lives. Our role as decision-maker affects our existence as well as the existence of everyone else, if we’re aware of it or not.

Mostly, the decisions we make are fairly simple, like what to eat and where to go. At times, we feel compelled to make a difficult decision with predictable, direct and immediate consequences. When we make those difficult decisions, we should avoid resisting those results.

This is similar to eating something we know is going to have a physiological cost, and instead of just enjoying it, we fret about the unfortunate side of the equation. It makes no sense.

In the aftermath of decisive moments, we should avoid resistance to what we opted for through making a tough but necessary call. If we’re focused on the pain and suffering of what we opted for, we cannot freely experience joy or relief. We also leave ourselves ill-prepared for the potential and probable slate of unintended consequences to difficult action.

Resisting consequences extends the damage and the longevity of these in our daily life. Also, it leaves us ill-prepared for the potential and probable slate of unintended consequences to the initial action. Do not allow the slew of ramifications to dissuade us from action. The consequences of acquiescence and inaction have its own slate of pain and suffering.

Finding the best balance of action, inaction and the contemplation of both is a struggle in every day. Conditions change constantly, as the ebb and flow from one moment to the next is never ending. The only avenue toward resolution is our awareness in this moment, not with disregard to the past, but with absolute regard to right now.

We must strive to keep our awareness completely open and unrestrained by the fantasies of our future and the illusions of yesterday.

Let go of yesterday. Leave behind tomorrow. Remain aware in this moment. Act from awareness this day.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Moving on from Letting Go

Letting go is only the first step, leaving behind is the next.
Leaving behind has many different connotations, many of them impart a better-than feeling onto what is left behind. This is not the goal here. That better-than energy is its own tie and tether.

The goal is to remove any dissuasion of moving forward on this path, and one of the most difficult aspects of letting go is leaving people behind to continue their own life in their own way. We truly do not know any better than anyone else. The only thing we may know is that the old model isn’t working for us or in how we impact others.

In transforming our life, the major role people play is usually one of an anchor on ingenuity and independence. This is not to apply intent on these people’s roles in our life--- it’s a simple acknowledgement of the impact other people provide. Most probably, this is a self-imposed impact. Regardless of the source, letting go and leaving behind provide major concerns in making major life changes.

Change is very simple to make. As simple as it is, the true nature of this simplicity is difficult to absorb, as it affects so many aspects of our daily life. This is why, despite the simplicity transformation offers, we mostly decline to move forward. It’s far easier to continue the comfort and security of the status quo, not because it actually delivers comfort or security, but because the histrionics of status quo maintenance keep our life occupied and often overwhelmed.

If we become over occupied with methods to cushion our life from the effects of making change and doing different, we do neither. Also, we are often presented with the challenge of overcoming the last throes of lingering affections of the broken ways we wish to change.

We haven’t been in a continual state of crisis, yet we continue to see the slow decline in our own life. We may even have a sense of comfort and relative stability, yet we feel something is missing. We feel that there’s a great deal more we could do today than simply remaining in the comforts of yesterday.

That vague vision of what is possible is the energy of transformation. We’ve had that transformative potential since the very beginning. There’s ample evidence of it in our life, but only to a point.

Examine the transformation our bodies experience as we grow from a baby into a child into an adolescent and beyond. Our minds go through less obvious transformation, yet mental transformation goes beyond the scope of our bodies. Mental transformation can affect the entire planet.

With transformation, choice becomes key. Certainly, the transformation our body experiences has basic trends, but those trends are increasingly driven by choice as we grow and age. Our minds are driven by choice even more so.

Examine the differences between people and it becomes very clear, and there are countless historic and modern day glimpses of the power of transformation. Olympians are a prime example of choice merging with physical and mental transformation. To become a Gold Medal winning Olympian requires nearly an entire life of stringing choices together toward an objective greater than any one human being.

Truly, transformation is as easy as making a choice. Transformation is just a difficult choice to make, as it is a fundamental shift that straddles our entire day and affects the way we think and feel about everything and everyone. That fundamental shift occurs by making a string of choices, continuously and consistently.

Transformation isn’t about eating a complete breakfast; transformation is about having an increasingly complete day and a fulfilled life.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Decisions in Context

Making decisions is a critical part of our lives. Our role as decision-maker affects our existence as well as the existence of everyone else, if we’re aware of it or not.

Mostly, the decisions we make are fairly simple, like what to eat and where to go. At times, we feel compelled to make a difficult decision with predictable, direct and immediate consequences. When we make those difficult decisions, we should avoid resisting those results.

This is similar to eating something we know is going to have a physiological cost, and instead of just enjoying it, we fret about the unfortunate side of the equation. It makes no sense.

In the aftermath of these decisive moments, we should avoid resistance to what we opted for through making a tough but necessary call. If we’re focused on the pain and suffering of what we opted for, we cannot freely experience joy. We also leave ourselves ill-prepared for the potential and probable slate of unintended consequences to difficult action.

Resisting consequences extends the damage and the longevity of these in our daily life. Also, it leaves us ill-prepared for the potential and probable slate of unintended consequences to the initial action.

Do not allow the slew of ramifications to dissuade us from action. The consequences of the acquiescence of inaction have its own slate of pain and suffering, continuation of the status quo.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Consider This: Trusting yourself

Trusting yourself isn’t about knowing everything or having any answers. Trusting yourself means believing that you’ll be able to get through this moment to the next.
We often get caught up in life not going the way we envision it. This can make us doubt we have the capacity and the ambition to strive to make our vision a reality.

Misteps happen, unexpected incidents occur, yet, we remain. In these more difficult moments, trusting yourself can be your buoy, doubt can be your anchor. Cut the doubt, lift yourself up and get on with it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Answers to You: The Breathing Connection

Breathing is a natural reflex. Breathing is effortless.
Although breathing is a natural reflex for most, some have to actually focus on breathing evenly. If we strive to allow our breaths to synchronize evenly, then we are able to relax and be more aware. To make breathing effortless would be to conquer fears and doubts.
We're not trying to breathe evenly or in any other way. What we're doing here is just watching the body breathe. Trust me, the body will breathe all on its own and when it needs to do so.

Relaxing all control over the action of breathing is what I'm talking about. Use that mental effort you want to put into breathing into watching your body breathe.

This is not easy whatsoever. Your mind is going to want to intervene. Just relax when that happens and re-apply the mind towards simple awareness of the breathing.

Apply patience often, reduce control and effort. Breathe.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Consider This: The Breathing Connection

“Let this crisp spring day put a spring in your step.”
There’s goodness in every step we take and everything we do. That goodness goes beyond our own life, as the stream in and out of us firmly links us directly into the fabric of everything that makes up this universe.

In order to live, we must take breaths fairly consistently, all day and all night, aware or unaware. We can take those breaths for granted because breathing happens naturally and without any conscious effort.

•Breathing is our direct connection with the universe
•Breathing is our constant giving-and-taking link with everything and everyone
•Breathing imbeds us into the cyclic nature of life, matter and energy

We’ve been constantly giving and taking to and from the universe since before we were born. Mostly, we don’t recognize all the taking and we mostly ignore all our giving.

Taking from the universe continuously nourishes and supports this exchange. It’s the nourishment and support we consciously offer in return that can transform existence by consciously re-ordering it.

Cherish and explore your universal connection.
Imagine every breath you take meaning something--- because it really does.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Considering Daily Living Differently

Our actions and behaviors in our daily life are usually ignored as a source of change. Instead, we use our minds to create intricate and complex dreams and nightmares, not only of the future but of our past as well. Constantly, we are book-shelving this day with a future that doesn’t exist and a past that no longer does.

If that reality is too unbelievable, we can still gain much by considering our daily living differently.

It is simple to make transformative change as we do not have to obliterate our dreams of our future or our memories of yesterday in order to create change this day. We simply need to focus on what we do every day.

We have been led to believe so much that may or may not be true. The truth is that there are countless options of what we could do every day.

From the way we wake up, to the way we rest and sleep. From the way we eat, to the way we get rid of what we eat. From what brings us relief, to what drains our resources. Each of these options plays a critical role in what we can do and how we can do it. Yet, we apply minimal mental resources to these day-to-day operations.

Every single day, we’re missing countless opportunities to increase our capacity by decreasing inefficient and ineffective habits and activities. We all need to eat, but what we eat and what we don’t eat has a direct impact on how we feel and how we think.

Food allergies are a perfect example of this. If you have an allergy to some ingredient in what you are eating, it can completely diminish physical and mental resources by creating both immediate and long-term consequences.

Our daily life may be filled with many of these life-allergens that we choose without even realizing we’re making a choice. Each step we take in our day has significance, if we believe it or not. We could not get to work if not for each and every step taken thus far. It could be that we’re taking too many steps when less would do. The only way to discover better ways is to attempt something different.

There are many different paths to the same place. Say we’re in Los Angeles and we want to go to New York City. There are many ways to make that happen; some make sense, some are ridiculous.

We could fly non-stop directly to our destination. Or, we could go the exact opposite direction and fly the other way around the world and get to the same place. The end of the journey is the same, yet the journey itself is completely different. One is certainly much more efficient than the other, unless you need to pick up some rare Chinese herb in Hong Kong that you can get nowhere else.

Take one aspect of your daily life today and challenge how you approach that aspect.
Initially, become familiar with the choices you take regarding that aspect.
Then, note all the streams leading into that choice and all the consequences that lead from it.
Consider changes, contemplate potential outcomes, witness direct impact.

Begin to access your personal power right here, right now.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Shame and Guilt Monsters

Shame and guilt are weapons. Weapons we use on each other. Weapons we use on ourselves. Shame and guilt are not simple emotion. It is a synergistic response, tearing us and others down. It is used as a force to control, to silence and to shut down a person or a group of people. Shame and guilt are the monsters of human individuality and the prison guards of human spirit.

The reason shame and guilt are so monster-size is because we can never truly see the monster we’ve been taught to fear. If the shame and guilt is applied as a result of past action, it can cripple us moving forward. If the shame and guilt is applied because of what we think or how we feel, it can taint everything we do and everything we experience.

We experience our life through all of our senses. When we apply a value judgment on thoughts and feelings, we create a blockage that becomes a continuously-generating concern. These blockages create an abscess inside our subconscious, driving us to work against our own best interest and the true best interest of others. It taints all we see and poisons all we do.

These blockages freeze our awareness. The blockages obstruct our ability to deal with the source of that shame and guilt, the way we feel about ourselves. Certainly, people judge others. More than that, we judge ourselves. Either way is equally unfair. It's also ineffective and unproductive because we cannot control the way people think or feel about us whatsoever.

It’s our obsession with the appearance of our self coupled with the reality that we cannot change what has already been done that creates the destructive potential of shame and guilt. In reality, we can only move forward and alter the way we conduct ourselves. In addition, our view of history is not one based in reality, as that past moment does not exist anywhere outside of our own mind. That past is our attempt at holding onto our view of our self. We either wish to be right, or we beat ourselves up for being wrong; neither is actually the case.

To attempt control strengthens the resolve behind what's driving our shame and guilt. What we would suggest is to not push against the shame or guilt but to thoroughly explore and challenge it. What we suggest is to begin challenging the way we perceive, where perceptions originate and how perceptions shape all that we do and do not do.

If shame and guilt work for us and others, than we should continue that. If shame and guilt do not work for us, maybe we should attempt to find another way to learn and live.

Turning shame and guilt inside out exposes the truth behind each, it’s all about us.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Breakthrough: Emotions as a Sense

The untethering of our emotions from external sources begins a journey of redefinition. This is not the redefining of who we’ve always been, but a discovery of what we really are. This process unfolds as the weights and the strings begin to be purged and sliced from our life. This is a breakthrough, and it significantly readjusts the way we experience and interact with everything and everyone.

Emotions are like a sixth sense. Emotions give us immediate, on-the-spot feedback on our life. That feedback can be a guide or an obstacle. The obstacle would be an unwillingness to remain aware and curious to what our emotions are telling us. This would be much like not removing your hand from a hot burner; it makes absolutely no sense.

Instead of working against these emotions, we could turn it all around by seeing these emotions as guides, not walls. By pushing away what we feel, we’re ignoring a large swath of input. This input is particularly rich in texture and diffuse simultaneously.

The nebulous nature of emotion is what confuses us, much like the cosmos confused humanity for generations. It still confounds, such is the complexity and unfamiliarity with the universe as well as our emotions.

We must take great patience as we embark on this emotional exploration. Following emotions to the origin is difficult, but we can at least have a sense of where those emotions do not originate, from outside of us. This is a most common misstep, the connecting of the cause of what we feel to any external source.

Challenge this premise objectively. Objectivity with emotions isn’t easy initially, just as walking wasn’t easy those first thousand steps. Give yourself at least that many here. We, after all, have been treating emotions pretty much the same way for our entire lives.

When we feel anger, is someone injecting that into us, or is someone bringing our innate anger out into the open?

We’re at the stove, we’re sautéing food and some oil splatters and burns our hand. We get angry. Is it the oil that's infused with anger and that makes us angry upon hitting our skin? Or, is that anger already inside of us and simply needs to be triggered to surface?

When we’re happy, are we being lifted up by someone else or an inner light being switched on by someone else? Often, people will remark on how someone or something makes them happy. Ferret out the truth, here. If someone makes you happy, why isn’t that always the case?

These emotions are similar to switches. Sometimes, the circuits break and the switches become useless. Unlike electricity, however, when the circuits break, the emotions may remain transfixed. This is what happens when we attempt to block out our feelings, it can overload the system.

The ramifications are complex and difficult to manage. Remember, our emotions are not us; our emotions are simply another sense, much like our physical senses. Just like our physical senses, our emotions can be misunderstood and easily misinterpreted.

Emotions are just that, impressions about what we’re experiencing. These feelings fluctuate continuously because our experience fluctuates continuously. It is the application of force and control that creates a blockage of that natural process and creates problems for us.

Try this, just experience the emotions. Close your eyes and simply allow your mind to become familiar with whatever it is you’re feeling right now. This is like watching your body breathe, which the body does all on its own without us even thinking. This is what we’re doing here, we’re not thinking about how we feel, but experiencing it as it is. No control required.

You may discover that there are subtle connections between your physical body and the way you feel. This exercise can provide a great deal of relief in the midst of an intense emotional experience. It is the intensity that our mind reacts to through shutting down the emotional process instead of allowing our emotional state to unfold on its own.

Emotions are our own. Emotions are a sense. Emotions arise to help us, not hinder us. Emotions fluctuate naturally; controlling emotions interrupts that natural process. How we experience and think about our emotions directly affects our daily life. How that experience unfolds is completely up to us.

Do we work against our nature, or do we make it work for us?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Joy-Spring

The relative stability of our American society remains intact, allowing for the continued exploration of our beautiful world and our beautiful life. Remarkable, the serenity this exploration can impart on us, if we only allow the joy within to sprout and take root in daily life. The opportunities for joy are as plentiful as our willingness to explore this world and ourselves.

Increasingly, the joy in our hearts seems offensive to the sensibilities of others. Joy is a natural spring, refreshing us when allowed to flow freely, suffocating us when interrupted and blocked. It is the joy in our self and in others that we must stand up and protect.

It appears as if the wellspring of joy runs dry for many, but the spring will flow again with a light touch from care, attention and the power of awareness. With increasing distractions from technology and the quickening disintegration of our ways of living, we need this joy-spring more than ever.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Consider This: The Eclipse of Passion

Our passions in life can be debilitating at times. The intensity of passion may cloud our vision and muddle our action. Certainly, in our relationships our vision often is clouded. Depending on our mood, we usually see only the best or the worst in others; the more passionate the feeling, the more intense and vivid the thoughts can become.

Attachment can spring out of that vivid intensity. And, once we form an attachment, not to the person but to our idea of that person, attachment becomes an eclipse. The attachment gets between the mind and the heart. The clarity of the mind becomes blocked from the intensity of emotion.

Imagine letting off a firecracker in a very dark room, the collateral damage can be indiscriminate. The effect is the same in our life wherever attachment is generated.

Attachment here can be replaced with aversion. The person can be replaced with an object or an idea.

Attachment and aversion derive from the same origin, our mistaken ideas.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fear, Suspense and The Peace of Patience

As we stand up and our vision begins to take form, the fears begin to swell. The terror we sometimes feel in these beginning moments is palpable; it feels ubiquitous. The urge to revert back to defensive and destructive ways of coping returns. The comfort and security that allowed us to stand back up have only been covered up yet again, and not by others, by ourselves.

The swelling clouds of internal fear prompt inaction, and the suspense of inaction seems deafening. This is an attack from all directions; internally by our fears, externally by doing nothing. This is an assault by our fear and our senses to block our basic goodness from taking hold. Simultaneously, it fights the renewal of our spirit, and it is our spirit which keeps us on our feet.

It is in these fragile first steps toward action that we must constantly apply patience and not become dissuaded by mental gymnastics and emotional tactics. Through patience, we can renew and clarify our vision. Through patience, we find peace.

Patience is not in-action; it is not re-action either. Patience requires sustained effort, mentally, emotionally even physically. When uncertain of what to do, apply patience as patience will lead us to our on-the-go oasis, peace.

Active patience creates a place of refuge and renewal that we always have just within reach. In the fields of fear, in the deserts of inaction, and in this very moment there is peace; we need only to be open to it.

When the fears of action overwhelm us and the suspense of doing nothing pains us, generate patience and experience peace now and again.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Openness, Without Regret

The society in which we find ourselves appears on the surface to be open; it has the appearance of free speech. The truth is more murky than free; hence, the Supreme Court’s role in determining what constitutes free speech. The openness of our lives goes beyond this free speech.

We’re talking about free heart and free spirit, neither of which can be nailed down nor fit neatly in a box that you can point to and know what’s inside.

Some people mistake forced heart and forced spirit for openness. The difference is so subtle, so vague, and the “boundary lines” are constantly moving depending upon atmosphere, timing and involvement of others. Openness, then, can never be right or wrong. It’s how we respond to openness that’s as important as how we respond in kind.

Often, people mistake the raw nature of openness with weakness or vulnerability. Often, we react defensively to people who are mistaken or simply attempting understanding and compassion. We must realize that the defensiveness-after-openness model doesn’t make sense. When we become defensive, we shut down.

These are deeply ingrained behaviors. Moving beyond the way we’ve interacted with others can take a lifetime to budge, but we can experience immediate benefits for ourselves and others if we try something new today. Even if the new way is ever found to reap any benefit, we will undoubtedly return to those deeply ingrained ways of shutting down.

Also, openness cannot be connected to anything or anyone else. It’s a process that unfolds as we learn on the spot. Openness is not about preparation for wickedness; it’s the antidote for it. Like most medicine, the directions for application are specific to the condition it treats. Considering we’re afflicted and conflicted by others and ourselves, an IV-drip of openness might be advisable.

Openness is just that. It’s in our blood. It’s in our DNA. It courses through every moment of our entire existence. Openness has just been blocked by regret, by defensiveness, by the ignorance that has been flowing non-stop since we were born.

Transformation begins with openness to our self and expands to openness to others. Transformation never ends; it continuously opens through us. And, we need only to touch true openness to feel that transformative potential that is within us even now.

Transformation is openness, without regret.

Consider This: Rethinking Reasoning

When you cannot reason with others, reason with yourself.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Clear View, Clear Action

We all face difficulty. Simultaneously, we can feel completely alone in our struggle through that difficulty. Yet, we’re not alone, we only feel alone. That feeling of aloneness may originate from the broken ways we all communicate with each other. And, listening plays a huge role in that communication; what we say after listening can transform the dynamic between people.

The concern, then, is in continuing to listen after we speak. We easily become caught up in our own response and lose sight of what the other person says next. It is very easy to lose our clear vision, and once we lose that clear vision, we have lost the ability for clear action.

There are so many tactics and strategies that people use consistently and constantly that cloud clear vision with raw emotion. Our emotions and feelings are our own, yet we give people carrots and sticks to manipulate those emotions.

It’s not that these people use those carrots and sticks maliciously. Simply, they, like us, want to be free of pain and free of suffering. They feel, mistakenly, that if they have it their way, the pain and suffering will simply disappear. Over most of their life, they’ve learned how to poke and prod people with these carrots and sticks, and still, they hurt and suffer. Possibly, there never has been due consideration of the effectiveness of this strategy.

Remember In our youth, the carrots from others were few and the sticks were many. This is why bullying is ever-present today. There are multitudes of ways in which to wield and throw those sticks now. Not only do we have our mouth, we also have the web and texting.

This reminds me of the evolution of our species. We used rocks and sticks as cavemen. As humanity evolved, we began to use these as tools, less as weapons. We learned to grow those carrots, not just eat them.

There are parallels to our growing up and becoming adults. We don’t just eat the carrots we’re given; we grow carrots and give them away now. That’s having a clear vision and seeing it through to clear action: preparing the field, planting a crop, tending the crop, picking the product, protecting the product, and everyday tending of the field: clear vision through to sustained clear action.

Between the clear vision and the clear action are so many steps, as this analogy clearly shows. The field is our life, the crops are the ideas we allow in our lives, and the product is our action. Our action is what grows out of how well we’ve taken care of our life and the ideas that we plant and nourish there. Our action can be planted by others or by only ourselves.

What people do with our ideas is primarily up to others and the states of their lives. Some people are currently in a state where the field that is their life has been poisoned and drained of nutrients. That’s why any good idea must be accompanied with nourishment. Otherwise, the idea may never grow anywhere but in our own field.

We must tend to the fields that surround us for two major reasons: others’ sake and our sake. How is it that the community our life is surrounded by affects our field? Run-off. Run-off from the poisons in their fields drains into ours; their poisons are our poisons.

We can counteract these by constantly taking care of ourselves and consistently nourishing all of our life. Also, the atmosphere, the air around us, is almost impossible to clean up on our own, yet it runs right over, around and through us. It has never made more sense why some people choose the life of a hermit.

As we take care of ourselves and nourish our spirit, we gain clear vision. We’re ready to plant what we want to grow. We must keep in mind that it may take many growing seasons to not only prepare our field but many seasons to produce the completely clear action that others would be willing to take into their life. Tend to your fields and to your communities with joy, compassion and patience. Those are universal nourishments that clear the air, clean the soil and ready us for action.

The journey from clear vision to clear action isn’t as simple as some fancy phrase. The journey is what we are; the action is what we make of what we are. The journey is just beginning.

Consider This: Thinking As Hope

Thinking is where hope lives.
If people think just one additional minute a day about others, if we attempt understanding for just one person today, there's a little bit more hope in the world.

Imagine, if everyone just took one minute a day to generate understanding and consideration for another how that would transform the world.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Answers to You: The Human Resistance Factor

One must be careful not to impose one's own interpretations on others. The arrogance of believing that others want to adopt or adapt to an individual's different philosophy is common. Sometimes one must allow others their space, their views, and their choices of how they wish to think...even if it is different from your own.
offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.
1. domineering; dictatorial; haughtily or rudely arrogant.
2. of overwhelming or critical importance.

What about the philosophy and the perspective I offer is about imposing views on anyone? If anything, it’s about opening up to “Alternative Perspectives”, not resisting opposing views to my own. You offer up a perfect example of “External Resistance”, which is perfectly understandable why you push back as hard as you do. I feel that you’re pushing against yourself; I could be mistaken. Instead of opening up, you’re shutting down. Once again, it’s very understandable and I’m okay with it.

Arrogance is a curious word to throw around, especially from the supposed target of arrogance. If anything, the arrogance you bring up is actually the other way around, from you at me. And, I don’t say that with any seriousness, but to expose the use of a word that is meant to silence someone instead of opening up to them.

These “power words” are words of intimidation and are very plentiful in today’s society. People paint someone or a cause as a radical, as arrogant, as un-American, as closed-minded (there are many examples) with the sole purpose of shutting them down and winning people to your own side. I’m not on your side or my side; I’m not on any side. The sides you see so clearly are of your own creation.

I’ve discovered that when you don’t get dissuaded by these intimidation tactics, the negativity doesn’t diminish but intensifies to a crescendo. To me this seems like progress. It’s an opportunity to let go of these ideas that others are somehow superior to you or more important than you are. Once again, I’m not telling you what to do, only offering a different path.

I have no feelings of superiority or self-importance to anyone. Simply because you say that I do, does not mean that I do. This is another tactic that people use to try to get a negative reaction to use against the target now and in the future. These are so engrained into our psyche we believe it when we say it and defend the initial assumption furiously.

Rarely, do people let go instead of allowing someone to do something different today or tomorrow. We attempt to conjure up these negative feelings in others in order to keep people away, to give us an excuse to not attempt to think differently, to not do a good thing today. I have and still do these same tactics, but I’m making progress on eliminating them and other emotion-based reactions from myself.

I understand the fear because I’m walking through that fear every single day. There’s ample evidence to fall back to old tactics, but those tactics don’t serve the purpose of the ridding of ignorance from my life. Instead, those tactics pile on the ignorance. I’m opening up, not shutting down.

Being open to a different idea doesn’t mean you accept it completely or at all. You don’t ever have to be open to something different. That is all up to you, and I would not take that choice away from anyone.

Instead of dissecting or discussing the ideas I present, you attack my character because you think all of this is about me. It simply isn’t the case. In fact, the entire context of the article is about letting go of the self, not lifting the self to high-esteem. Even if what I write is all about me, why make it about me? Wouldn’t that compound the problem instead of highlighting the fallacious thinking?

I appreciate the honest emotion and feeling behind your response. I want people to respond honestly and openly as you have done. It’s an opportunity for me to further open up, and that is my goal here. I would hope for anyone to dialogue and discuss what’s written here, and not just intellectually. It is so important to dialogue about the emotional and spiritual response you feel in whatever you do.

Keep it up!

The Human Resistance Factor

Resistance is a human phenomenon derived from a natural survival instinct. Now, this human resistance factor mostly acts against our inner well-being; inner well-being exists regardless of any conditions, externally or internally. We’ve still been fighting, not for the survival of our life but for the survival of the self.

This fight is what we must let go. It is this fight that denies us inner contentment, peace and spontaneous joy. These are always with us in every moment; we need only let go to connect completely to this natural state.

There are many areas affected by our human resistance factor. We resist change, consequences, alternative perspectives and certain stimuli. Dissecting the effect of these areas of resistance is ongoing. Also, we begin a conversation on explorative resistance as it relates to not just ourselves but others as well.


Change is all around us and inside of us. Change is constant, whether we’re aware of it or not. It’s our resistance to natural change that can completely obstruct us from enjoying this moment. Think of all the times and all the people that resist against the change inherent in the weather. There are occasions when weather does intersect with our survival; these occasions are rare, extreme and usually quite obvious. We do have a long-term impact on the weather, but in this moment we have minimal if any effect on current weather. To make weather an obstacle to joy, peace and contentment, then, is a self-induced situation. Only we can rid ourselves of that obstacle by realizing we’re not going to have it our way.

Beyond the external changes, the changes inside of us should not be ignored. We should not resist the day-to-day changes that are inherently part of daily maintenance and aging of the body. Here, the notable changes are trends and not the details of the changing current state. Aches and pains are normal; fluctuating bodily functions are normal. Resisting these normal states actively with external methods can create a multitude of consequences, some predictable, some much more subtle.

Sometimes, medical intervention is necessary. When we decide on a medical intervention, we should not resist against the side effects of the intervention. Instead, we could make those side effects work for us, not against us.


Resisting consequences extends the damage and the longevity of those consequences in our daily life. Also, it leaves us ill-prepared for the potential and probable slate of unintended consequences to the initial action. Consider that we’ve made a tough but necessary call and now we’re focused on the pain and suffering that decision exposes us to. In the aftermath of these decisive moments, we should avoid resisting any consequences. If we are not open to the consequences, we cannot completely catalog these.

We are resistant to not only consequences of our own decisions, but to the natural consequences of living in a changing world. A tornado creates amazing devastation. We don’t just leave the devastation; we perform salvage operations to extract what still has use and clear away what no longer does. This may be emotionally or even physically difficult, but if we focus on those difficulties to natural disaster instead of actively engaging in the salvaging of the wreckage, we’re not as efficient or effective as we could be.

There are consequences to ownership and stewardship as well. A house has maintenance requirements just as a car does. By being resistant to these concerns, usually the consequences grow more severe.

Don’t ignore consequences; work with consequences. We determine how we navigate all of the consequences in our life. Learning to work with what’s going on is so critical to making life work with us as opposed to against us.

Certain Stimuli

We all have blind spots in our intake of sensory information. Physical limitations do exist in our sensory apparatus; total loss or limitations may exist in hearing, taste, touch, smell and sight. Other limitations do exist. These limitations are self-imposed blind spots and can be evidence of the unwillingness to let go. It’s as if we’re using only the rearview mirror in navigating our vehicle. The vehicle, here, is not just our body but our entire life. It sometimes works out, but when it doesn’t the damage can be severe.

Besides the obvious physical sensory information, we sometimes are blind to emotional cues from others and of ourselves. We try to overwhelm these emotional cues with distraction, overstimulation and ignorance. We can use distraction to avoid awkward discussions, emotional topics or controversial debates. Overstimulation is used to silence anyone or anything else. And, when someone brings about empathy or a guttural emotional reaction, one option is to ignore it completely. Instead of simply listening to every word, we offer nothing productive whatsoever.

We also have blind spots to our own emotional cues. This is similar to when we place our hand on a scalding hot stove and not reacting immediately by removing our hand; it makes no sense. Emotions act similarly as the nerve endings in your hand; emotions are trying to tell us something about what’s happening. We must begin to become aware of our emotions and attempt to understand what it is these emotions are trying to tell us.

Alternate Perspectives

We also resist against alternative perspectives to our immediate and past circumstance. This is due to our self-limiting view of reality. The more perspective we can apply to a situation, the more effective and efficient our response. We want to use telescopes and microscopes as well as our own senses. When and how you examine something depends on what it is being examined. When examining the moon, we use microscopes to examine lunar rocks brought back to earth and use telescopes to examine the actual moon orbiting the Earth. We want to use the most effective perspectives for the current situation.

Perspective isn’t just about the method of examination. Sometimes, it’s the broader timeline that’s important not to forget. It’s like eliminating a person from your life without looking at the bigger picture. Maybe, this person is in the midst of a crisis, internal or external. If we refuse to look beyond this moment, we can begin eliminating people from our life because of one unfortunate moment brought about by a series of circumstances and situations. Once again, trends are more important than exacting the response or the action that we feel we need from someone right now.

Explorative and External Resistance

Explorative resistance can have a productive and probative value, especially if this resistance is against your own self and your own view. Here we discover the fine line in resistance. Mostly, the resistance to change, to consequences, to stimuli and to alternative perspectives is an internal resistant problem to external events. Resistance plays a critical role in the transformation of life. The key is to not attach value judgements to that explorative action and to avoid the pitfalls of guilt and shame.

We also must be careful in explorative resistance to other people’s situations. These other people may not be open to doing anything differently in their lives. This doesn’t mean not to use explorative engagement as an attempt to alleviate current pain and suffering of others.

We must be prepared, however, for the inevitable resistance by anyone, including ourselves, as we attempt to help or actively understand ourselves and others. We must be prepared of the natural human resistance to transformation. After all, it is human to resist.