Monday, December 31, 2012

Coping, in a World Foreign to Itself

As long as we fear, as long as we’re anxious about our present, our past or our future conditions, we are the creator of the most difficult conditions to make any progress on any path.
In a world where each person is not only more distant from one another, both emotionally and mentally, we find people concurrently more distant from his/her own presence, from simply just being.

How do people who wish to live, think and be differently than this fairly new life and living model cope in a world increasingly foreign to itself and others?

How can we be more open, with mind and with our spirit, honoring that open spirit while simultaneously honoring the condition of those around us, be them strangers or even in our inner circles?
How do we intercede on others’ behalf without stumbling on those directly in our life when it is these people perpetrating some perceived wrong, be that perception accurate or misguided?
This is the struggle of maintaining open awareness and presence in modern-day society. If we lose this struggle, we may lose ourselves. If we win this struggle, we may lose everyone.
That is the fear, that the only way to win this struggle is to leave everyone and everything we know behind. Walking down a path, full of fear and anxiety, is a certain way to fulfill any fear prophecies we can create.
We must let go of the fear. We must douse the light of fear in our lives. This doesn’t mean we will encounter no seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but it will mean we meet those obstacles with open mind and open heart. As long as we fear, as long as we’re anxious about our present, our past or our future conditions, we are the creator of the most difficult conditions to make any progress on any path.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

When Words, Logic Fail

When words and logic fail to provide clarity or to open the door of awareness, we find ourselves in a dark, difficult place. We may even be unable to wiggle in order to soothe aching, cramped muscles. We may not be able to see any path forward, or even backward. We may even think we are at our end. Yet, we are still here.

It is in these more difficult moments that we must let go of finding the answers with our mind alone, instead looking for guidance from our connection to the universe, to God, to Jesus, to Allah, to Buddha. The connection is consistently there, regardless of what you call it.
How do we make this connection, to gain this necessary guidance in our times of need, or at any time regardless of need?

Some call it prayer. Others call it meditation. We need only attempt to make this connection, as the connection is there whether we’re aware of it or not. If we keep attempting, we will find our bridge.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Falling in the Abyss

Usually when I write, I have some issue, concern or situation that confounds me, and I work myself through it through words, logic and some other-than guidance I could not hope to find on my own. This changes now.

I've been on a collision-course with a lack of objectives, lack of focus and lack of judgement. I have no words or logic that seem to be able to bridge this gap, to lift us out or through this abyss. I can no longer move forward in the usual monotone approach that has yet to produce much of anything of use for myself or for anyone else.

"As we fall, we learn to let go once again, trusting that the universe, that other-than guidance, will take us where we need to be and to do what we need to do." ---Bloomin' Lilacs

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Special Nature of Relationships

Every single one of us has sets of beliefs and histories that lead us to the choices and the feelings about those choices. Each relationship is an amalgam of both people's sets of beliefs, histories, choices and feelings. One set answer for any situation does not exist.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Nature of Exposure

My mind is at it
My heart is in it
My spirit is throughout it
What is it? It is right now; it is right this moment. The product of this moment is directly dependent on us. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, right now. Not the pains and the scars of yesterday, or the dreams and fears of tomorrow.

It's easy to expose ourselves physically, we do that by getting out of bed. To expose ourselves mentally, emotionally and spiritually is something no one eagerly signs up to do. We mistake the raw nature of exposure with pain.

Look beyond the feeling of this moment, not just for yourself but for others as well. It is through both ourselves and others that can broaden the power and potency of transformation.

Without exposure, we cannot help ourselves. With exposure, we can free ourselves of the weight that holds back our transformative potential.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Experiencing Emotional Pain

  • All feelings are already within us; they are part of the experience of us.
  • All of our thoughts and actions generate responses and reactions, from us as well as our environment and others.
  • All of our responses and reactions are already within us. These perpetuate the cycle of cause and effect, never having a beginning or an end.

We really do experience emotional pain. Instead of experiencing it, we often avoid it instead. And, we should not just experience emotional pain, we should explore it. It’s a vital source of vivid information about our life, our world and our role in it. All of our emotions are important tools to understanding and navigating our life.

We’ve trained our mind to avoid experiencing life in a present, open way. Our emotions are a guide to our internal responses and reactions. When emotions are too intense, the mind tries to compartmentalize the emotions through avoidance and attachment: avoiding the more intense, darker emotions, attaching to the easier, lighter emotions. The mental attachment to the easier, lighter emotions blocks out the intense, darker ones. This process moves us out of being present and aware.

Some people like to see the best in others. Others don’t see others as the human beings that they are. Both of these strategies are examples of avoidance and attachment. Both strategies block presence and awareness. Without presence and awareness, we cannot see, let alone navigate this life.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Awakening in the Darkness

Slowly, I opened my eyes. Each time they flutter open, the eyes sting from the blinding lights of the world outside of this body and this mind.

We must do this slowly, with care, with awareness, with patience. We are awakening in the darkness that is our ignorance.

The light of the world is bright. The light of the world can break through the darkness of our ignorance.

The light of the world is our mind shining back at us. It is only through our mind that we can become aware of the world. It is only through our mind that we step back into it.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Living as if the Solutions are Here and Now

We all have problems that require real solutions. Sometimes, the problems are so daunting, so looming that any hope of solving these problems appears out of our reach and our control. Worse, we may not even imagine a solution could ever exist for some problems we experience.

There is another option: live life as if the solutions are living within us right here and right now.
Truly, any problems we experience begin and end in the mind. The mind observes the problem. The mind also holds the solution. Anything that starts in the mind also ends in the mind.

We may have no conscious idea of what a solution would look or feel like. However, if we act as if there is a solution and that we hold that solution within our life and our mind, we are creating the solution in our present. The actual solution may be obscured, but it is there; we have it inside of us, right here, right now.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Leaving Our Self-Created Box

Our environment constantly attempts to place us in the box that some call “I”. This box is a limiting box. The big box your self-created box is found within could be called your city, your town, your state, your country, even this planet. That box is one built upon ignorance of true reality.

Everything has always been here and will always be. It just looks so different; it just feels so different. The difference is simply our mind attempting to rationalize what we are from the rest of what is: a completely understandable approach. Embrace this approach, with a curiosity that, perhaps, it is mistaken.
This does not mean we ignore our reality, or our seeming separateness from others, or other things. It does mean that we honor our present understanding and open ourselves to a more whole understanding.
If we examine an organism, or even a simple object, we can see it with our own eyes, and also realize our eyes do not allow for complete understanding. We do not see the organs within, the blood that pulses through the heart, the nerves that lead up to the brain, sending signals to the rest of the body. Yet, these organs, this blood, those nerves exist.
We can look at a painting. A painting is a fabrication involving matters and energies placed on a canvas or in a space. It is meant to be a representation of some thing, some one, some of what we may not know how to describe in any other way but with matter and our energy. It gives the illusion of three-dimensional living and that those three-dimensions not actually exist within the painting itself. The mind expands the two-dimensions of the painting and allows it to expand into our three-dimensional understanding of our world and our life. Yet, the painting is inanimate, is nearly two-dimensional, yet we see depth, height, length where none actually exists in our reality.
Examine a photograph. A nearly perfect representation of a paused moment of time. There are so many aspects that are eclipsed in a photo. The camera. The picture-taker. The entire background and backdrop. A picture ignores all the moments, all the matter, all the energy that feeds into that one, paused moment of time. The picture is not perfect. Neither is our memory. A picture, like memory, ignores what’s outside the lines, or behind the lines.
Learning to leave our self-created box takes concerted effort, extreme patience and a never ending supply of attempting understanding. The box is an illusion that we believe is true. Simply, open your mind and awareness to other possibilities, to other potentials.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Unearthing the Inner Empowerment Zone

The complex world in which we live is woven by our finances, our jobs, our relationships and our families as well as by our home, our health and our wellness. At any given moment, some of these threads act to strengthen our life; at other moments, some of these threads can weaken us.

Learning how to strengthen these threads is difficult but essential in empowering our lives. If we wait for some external force to do the strengthening, we are waiting for added weakness.

Strength truly originates from how we use what we have and what is happening around us. We must begin to see what we have and what is happening as useful; we need only learn how best to wield what we have. Using a toothbrush as a hammer doesn’t work toward our success. Imagine using a hammer as a toothbrush.

We could inventory the weaves in our life basket, keeping score of what we have and what we do not have. Finances, never enough. Jobs, not good enough. Relationships, tough stuff. Home, a mess. Health, not the best. Wellness, certainly not.

Keeping a life inventory usually leads to superiority, frustration, anxiety, depression, even anger. It isn’t about enjoying any of what we do have. It does highlight what we desperately want to keep and what we most desire to have under our control. We may gain temporary relief by seeing what we have, but immediately the anxiety of losing it or having it taken away takes over our mind. This darkens our vision and limits our creative potential. What we need is to be empowered.

True empowerment starts inside of us. Empowerment is inside of us, right here, right now; it has always been there, and it will always be there. When we feel inspired by others, that feeling of empowerment is only being unearthed.

When we feel empowered, everything is useful, and we have all that we need.
When we feel empowered, we don’t see obstacles, we see opportunity.
When we feel empowered, we don’t let our lack of limit us.

When we feel empowered, we let go of what has happened and focus on what is happening.
When we feel empowered, we do.
When we feel empowered, we create.
When we feel empowered, we give.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Opportunity & Inspiration: The Return of Audacious Living

Daily living can become monotonous. Worse, our daily life can become debilitating, lacking sources of inspiration and clouding over the opportunities of living. Breaking from the monotony cycles is necessary, even daily. However, if our monotony cycle has been running steadily, we sometimes need a hard break to shake loose our mind and open up to inspiration and opportunity once again.

Returning from such a hard break can be jarring. Our energy is actively percolating, our mind is aware, our heart is open. We find ourselves fighting the monotony cycles of nearly everyone around us. Initially, we see the opportunities and the inspirations in each experience, in each human being. We wish to open these fellow beings to living life once again. Yet, often the response is non-existent; worse, the response is to shut us down.

Having patience and understanding for others is necessary. Recall how we, ourselves, had to be brought back to life by flying to the other coast or running into the woods.

We are now the open flame of the audacity of active being. We don’t have to open others up similarly, and we can certainly understand the veils draping across the life of others.

It is traumatic to have someone else lift that veil. Letting go of the opportunities and inspiration of others is difficult. It is necessary to keep our audacity flame alive in our daily life, and, keeping that flame lit is crucial for allowing others to lift their own monotony veil on their own terms, not ours.

Our audacity of living flame has always been lit.
The audacity of living flame is alive in everyone.
Conditions and people have no effect on the flame itself.
Only our own mind can obscure the brilliant, inspiring light of living.
Only our own mind can find the opportunity and the inspiration in everyone and everything.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Power from the Seat of Frustration

“All the good that we’ve done can be wiped away by one angry word.”
Interacting with others, especially those we touch and that touch us personally in our daily lives, offers countless opportunities for frustration. Within these frustrated moments, we often respond with anger, criticism and discouragement. That anger, criticism and discouragement then gets transmitted to others and eventually back to ourselves. Finding the presence of mind to shut down that nearly automatic response system is extremely difficult but is absolutely possible.

We all affect people, through our words, through our actions, through our intentions. Having a more thorough understanding and appreciation of how these words, actions and intentions affect others is crucial. All that we say, do and think comes back to us eventually. Therefore, any attempts to affect our reactivity from the seat of frustration can have a dramatic, immediate impact on daily life.

Frustration is natural.

Frustration is created by our attachment to having it our way in a world that involves others wanting it their way. This creates a dynamic cycle that recirculates and intensifies frustration and our reaction to frustration continuously. If we alter our reaction from the seat of frustration, we can begin to shut down this cycle within us and others.

Frustration can be explored.

The best way to alter our reaction to our frustration is through thorough exploration of it. It is not imperative for us to act immediately to simple frustration. Instead, we can take a moment to be curious about how it was generated. If we focus our mind on it, we can more clearly see our role in our frustration and clarify the role of others as well. This clear seeing and clarification will aid in finding words of encouragement as opposed to discouragement.

Frustration is our own.

The way we think and feel is our own. Just because someone is doing something or we perceive is doing something to us, does not mean this someone is injecting this feeling of frustration into us. This does not mean that others have no role in shining a light on our frustration, but it does mean that it is our frustration to manage. Potentially, we can redirect this frustration in a more beneficial way as opposed to only detrimental.

Make that which you touch be the best in others.

How often has someone said an unkind or critical word to us that inspired us to be and do better? Remember that truth when interacting with the objects of our frustration. We need to inspire the best in others, not shut the best down. Inspiring the best in others involves having patience, generating compassion and finding understanding.

Make that which you touch in others be the common humanity we share.

We all are part of humanity. We all play a role in the lives of others. We all experience pain and suffering. We all can experience joy and happiness. No one arrived at today all on their own. So many people have affected us and will affect us moving forward. We will affect others today. If we consider how best to affect others, we will bring out the best in them and in our self.

Make our response not add to the pain and suffering of us all.

It is rare that people deliberately, maliciously upset others. If there is intention to upset, this person is hurt and damaged and needs compassion and understanding, not more pain, not more suffering. It is not easy when we feel hurt to not retaliate immediately. If we do, it is understandable.

It should be understandable that others will retaliate similarly. If one of your limbs becomes injured, you don’t chastise or punish the limb, you give it proper care and attention. The same should be given to the injured amongst us.

Frustration is truly fertile territory. People that expose our frustration have blessed us. It is from the seat of frustration that we either inspire others or we tear others down. It is from the seat of frustration that we can bring out the best in our self and in others.
Who is going to be the first person to do the better thing today?

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Blessings of Difficulties and Disappointments

Always look forward to the solutions, not to the problems those solutions intend to solve.
When we strive to achieve anything, difficulties and disappointments should be expected. If we do not believe difficulties and disappointments will arise on our path, we will be shocked and dismayed when they do. Also, if we simply believe something is happening to us or being done to us, we become a victim of our conditions. Laying down the mantle of the victim is the first step in getting back to achieving something with this life when conditions don’t follow the course of our design.

These difficulties and disappointments are designed to happen. We set in motion the events and situations that we experience. Certainly, others can create problems for us. Others can always do this, and it should always be expected. If we do not design our actions with others in mind, we are living in a bubble of our own creation that can be popped by our simple ignorance of others. If what we want in our life is all about our own self-interest, we still cannot live in a bubble indefinitely. If what we want is about others, we certainly cannot ignore others, we must account for them in our plans.

Inflexibility is why difficulties and disappointments can be so debilitating. Inflexibility, the inability to adapt on the spot, is in the way of discovering the purpose in each difficulty and in each disappointment. Discovering the purposefulness in these moments is crucial in continuing forward, to achieving anything, especially something greater than just our own self-interests.

Regardless of the difficulty or the disappointment, we, individually, have the superior role, and we are the superior source of that turmoil. This role and responsibility we hold may not be easy or comfortable to embrace initially. However, we can certainly agree the ultimate bearer of the difficulties and disappointments we experience is our own self. If we’re going to return to work, return to the role of achiever, we must at least embrace the role of the bearer as well.

It is important to realize the goals behind embracing this role. It is not about simple pain and suffering because we deserve it, because we do not. We are learning how to take care of our own self and our own path. Thorough exploration of the source of our life experiences, which is our own self, must start there as well.

Perhaps, our observations were mistaken or not complete.
Perhaps, our actions were not precise or thought through.
Perhaps, our feelings were ignored or were overwhelming.
Perhaps, our intentions were not clear or were not realistic.

This is where to begin that exploration. Be curious about life. This is how we learn, how we adapt and how we achieve better.

We must expect difficulty.
We must expect disappointment.
We must expand our awareness.
We must adapt and continue to strive to achieve.

It is possible to go further than just a simple expectation that conditions will not always follow our design. When we use our explorative mind in all moments, difficulties and disappointments can become fuel for our efforts. These are not negative aspects of living and doing. These are productive aspects of learning and adapting. These are blessings; we need only expand our awareness to see them as such.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Expanding Awareness, From the Source of Hope and Dream

Hopes and dreams can be so exciting and inspire us to action, to reaching beyond today by letting go of yesterday. Our actions from the source of hope and dream have an appearance of purity and light. Then, we wake up, and we realize that purity and light do not simply live in a vacuum.

The light of the sun dawns and shines on half the planet while the other half remains darkened. The darkness is real, but the light is also real. Both co-exist and are also inseparable. To purify water, the impurities are extracted, but not disappeared. The other-than-pure can never be eradicated from the universe. Other-than-pure is made of the same stuff as the pure. There can be no separating the two regardless of how obvious or apparent the separation might be.

We must move our awareness beyond the whimsical and the simply feel-so-good. Expanding our awareness to include the total of our existence and the total of all existence is essential when working from the source of hope and dream. We change the world by simply breathing, and we can breathe with no attention or intention. Imagine breathing with full awareness of the change we breathe into the world with every breath in and every breath out. Imagine breathing into this world change that is infused with intention and action.

We breathe out. Others breathe in.
We breathe in. Others breathe out.
We are connected. We always have been.

We have goals; we have objectives. This desire for all to not suffer, to not feel pain, to flourish and to flower instead, cannot be some lollipop ideal we lick to feel better about ourselves and what we’ve been doing with this life. What have we ever really done to reach anything or anyone in a sustained and purpose-filled way? We must move our actions beyond the surface-altruistic, beyond the easy, the comfortable and the secure. It is easy to help a child in need, not so easy to help a hardened criminal.

We must challenge the idea that some are worthy and that others simply are not. We all breathe in and breathe out the same air. The most effective initial effort to help a hungry child is to feed the child. A more substantial and lasting effort than providing a simple meal could be an education and training in how best to grow food where the child lives. If the child is growing food in a dangerous area where criminals can steal the food from the fields and the tables, perhaps this is not the best approach. This happens every day.

These may not be the most effective efforts to expand the life of a criminal, either. Maybe, this criminal needs as much awareness expansion as we do. Let us start there, common ground. The potential for transformation in our communities lay with working with the hardened views we hold and in the hardened views of others.

Challenge yourself at least as much as you challenge others.

Criminals feel disconnected from the results of the actions they take. These people often feel no connection to others; they have been disconnected from the source of hope and dream for a long time. It is this extended period of disconnection by a growing number of people that must be met with compassion, patience and understanding. If we become frustrated so easily with others, especially those who we don’t even know, our own disconnectedness is being exposed. This is a blessing.

Generate as much compassion, patience and understanding for ourselves as we do for others.

These have been missing for so many for too long. We must be the first to give these to begin our own healing. We have an infinite capacity of compassion, patience and understanding within each of us. We need only to attempt to generate these to discover the source within us. Learning to sustain these for extended periods of time can help heal our life, our community and the world.

And, there is much healing that must take place. We must transform how we think and feel about others, all others. Feeding children is vital for their survivor. Healing the hardened is vital for our civilization’s survival.

We start with the child and the hardened heart of our self. We then expand until it encompasses all others.

Our life is an array. It’s a set of principles, environments, capacities and needs that constantly evolves and interacts with the arrays of others. Our principles shift, environments alter, capacities adapt, needs shift. The orientation and stability of our life array determines how best we can transform the world array that we inhabit. The orientation of our life array is perception-guided. The stability is garnered from our expanded awareness of our role here. It is up to us how we perceive this life and our role in this world.

Charting transformation cannot be done with words or with actions alone. Transformation is beyond thoughts or feelings. Transformation begins with our own awareness. That awareness naturally will spread to the greater whole, to the greater array.

Our lives can manifest in infinite ways. We can actually affect the whole, and we’ve been affecting the whole always with minimal to negligent awareness. We can also affect the whole with expert precision or destructive obliviousness. We must be open to seeing life as it truly is.

Transformation happens through awareness alone.
I have never seen life as it truly is. I can see life as it truly is.
I have never seen people as they truly are. I can see people as they truly are.