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.