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.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Moving Away from Emotion-Based Tactics

It has become engrained behavior to use emotion-based tactics to help others but more often hurt others. Emotion-based reactions are the simplest to extract from human interaction; we use trigger words or make an action that provokes an emotional response. We are emotional beings who mostly have not explored nor challenged all of our emotional states. That is why these tactics are nearly as successful as they are useful.

People resort to emotion-based tactics when threatened mentally. These tactics often involve the invoking of shame, guilt or anger in the target as opposed to the alternative of opening or broadening personal views.

We all have the urge to hold onto our view instead of adapting or evolving understanding. This is the urge to ignore regardless of evidence to the contrary. Opposing or alien views to our own are not the enemy. When we try to invoke negative and non-productive emotions in others, we, ourselves, are shutting down. We also shut down the target of the tactic simultaneously. We both suffer.

The same can be said of trying to invoke positive and more productive emotions in others. Even though these objectives seem to be done in good will, they are a more seductive form of manipulation. If we’re doing something for someone or reaching out to them, oftentimes we expect them to accept all of it so openly and with relative ease. When people are in need, they’re at their most vulnerable; they’re already shutdown.

When we do something we think is helpful for others, we should just do it without any expectation of them accepting it or “getting it”, ever. Otherwise, we’re setting the person-in-need up for more set ‘em up ‘n tear ‘em down. These people that are in most need are usually the most shut down at the onset. The key in helping those in need is to keep reaching out without becoming the obstacle to healing.

There are other options we can choose. We can first not react emotionally to external events or people. I’m not suggesting ignoring emotions or feelings. I’m suggesting untethering your emotional state to events and others. Secondly, instead of doing things to get a response from others, let’s try to just do good things; for others, for ourselves, for our community, for our environment.

This is not easy. Have patience for yourself. We’re being very ambitious as we take steps to transform our life. This is not easy for anyone. Take a deep breath. Open yourself to another way. You can easily revert back to the old way if this doesn’t work out.

Related Ignorance Ridding Posts
The Emotional Dysregulation Concern

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beginning the Unraveling of Cause and Effect

Making decisions is a critical part of our lives. Yet, we spend little to no effort in the decision-making process in daily life. Applying minimal added consideration to everyday decisions could yield transformative results in our lives.

Occasionally, we are faced with more difficult decisions. Decisions become increasingly difficult when the array of options available accompany predictable, direct and immediate consequences and inaction sustains stagnant pain and suffering.

In even the most mundane of decisions, there are unintended consequences that are possible to probable to predict. For example, the mundane decision of what to eat. We really do not know if what we’re going to eat is going to make us sick; it is always possible but mostly improbable.

With eating and then becoming sick, it is fairly easy to connect cause and effect; mostly, we do not properly connect the two in our lives. When we examine the interaction of physical objects in experiments, it is easier to delineate cause and effect. It is not as simple while exploring cause and effect in human interactions. Here we’re moving away from the day-to-day decisions of what to eat and into the broader life decisions of what to do and how to be.

Attempting to connect cause and effect can go terribly awry. This is especially true with our feelings or emotions. Emotions are not something that can be injected into us by others or by experiences. We have a set of emotions that our experiences trigger and bring to the surface of consciousness. These feelings are not caused by anything or anyone yet many blame external forces for the way they feel.

This is why the endeavor of unraveling cause and effect in our life is a very intense and nearly infinite process. If we truly believe that a cause and effect exists, we should thoroughly challenge that connection and remain open to being mistaken about it. This means being open to information that does not support our current view.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Consider This: From Help to Truth

These people out there need our help, not in convincing them of our truth, but of convincing them of their own.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Pitfalls of Bridging Disagreements

Disagreements happen whenever human beings interact. These disagreements naturally develop due to perception governing reality as opposed to reality governing perception. Sometimes, disagreements are obvious; other times disagreements are hidden to one or all parties. Bridging disagreements is a highly precarious endeavor as all people respond and perceive differently.

We must carefully examine the audience, the histories and the capacities of all involved to develop the most effective, efficient bridging action(s). Even if we consider every aspect of the disagreement and the people involved, the pitfalls in bridging these disagreements are numerous.

Rational Arguments
Using rational thinking to persuade someone of our good intentions and past good acts is a common post-disagreement step for many. However, people in a post-disagreement state of mind commonly are not rational whatsoever. Irrational people are rarely going to be swayed by rational arguments. In fact, a rational argument in this case usually strengthens the feelings of disagreement and can increase the longevity of the situation.

Retreat is sometimes necessary immediately after the disagreement has taken place. However, returning quickly to normal behavior and normal treatment can be crucial to a quick bridge through and out of the disagreement. This is especially true if the other side is in full retreat. Denying your input & action is only going to intensify any retreat by the other side. Restarting the relationship with the familiarity of good intentions and in an open-ended way can remind someone of previous good acts. This can quickly bridge the gap between.
Leaving irrational, inexperienced people to figure this out on their own is like placing the inmates in charge of the asylum. The likelihood of irrational thinking becoming rational acting is like an alchemist turning iron into gold, highly unlikely.

Retaining Mindset of Being Right
Oftentimes, all a person need do to bridge a disagreement is a simple acknowledgement of how our inept action led to real or perceived harm. Regardless of our intention, sometimes the party our actions are directed at cannot accept those actions. In fact, the other person might be reacting to internal fears of being mistaken and not the concern or the good will being shown. In repairing the relationship, we must not get caught up in being right or being seen as correct. If apologizing is all the person requires to let go of their own fear or their own role in the disagreement, how could we not offer that without reservation? The goal is to bridge the disagreement, not to be right.

The outcomes can be potentially disastrous when we let others’ actions dictate our involvement. Certainly, we must remain open throughout this process, as conditions can change quickly. Avoiding these common pitfalls is a constant struggle in navigating the difficult circumstances of disagreement. If we continue forward with the relationship, remaining focused on our good intention and remaining open-ended in that intention, we will persevere. We need only be on both sides to do so.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Attempting Understanding In Darkness & Light

We all have a tendency to see all people in terms of darkness & light, for & against, and attachment & aversion. This sets us up for emotion-based reactivity which can create an abundance of unforeseen and avoidable consequences.

When we see things as darkness or light, you look for darkness in anything seemingly good and wholesome. That darkness is yourself; it's your own shadow. In something that is good in our life, we always look for why it's not so good. Once the enamour phase is over, we will find a reason why we must extract that from our lives.

This enamour phase is very alluring. Everything about it is done up in lights and delightful sounds. Orchestras sound great when they play together after practicing very hard. When they are just practicing it sometimes is not so pleasant as the end product. We can put little bitty sparkling lights on anything to make it look better, but has it changed what's underneath those sparkling lights?

Those parts of another person that seems to not fit with us should be thoroughly explored. Insolubility is part of being an individual, but that insolubility is our stubborn attempt at holding onto our view of "me". It is not easy to imagine that all the billions of people on this planet have had a host of their own experiences seen from their own perspective. They may not see what you see so easily; we may not feel what they feel so readily. However, the connection exists.

Nothing can separate us from other people except our mind. So, when we discover attributes or behaviors of others that seem to not coalesce or flow with all of our attributes and behaviors, it is our duty to unravel the perceived differences.

This is called attempting understanding. The more we attempt to understand, the more we will be able to understand.