Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Light of New Hope

The “New Year” offers an obvious example of the demarcation line between yesterday and tomorrow. Take the hopes, the dreams of your new year into every aspect of the new life that awaits you on the other side of now. We can always reach for better. We need only strive with all that we are in all that we do. Happy New You!

 As this year comes to an end, I’m amazed how far I’ve come considering how far I had fallen. Through it all, I never lost hope. Through all the disappointments, I never stopped believing in people.  Nor did my faith diminish.

No matter what we’ve experienced, what we’ve been through, if we’re still breathing, we have opportunity in every breath to start anew, to begin again. The struggles we face only expose what we have left to work with and through. Joy and happiness are with us always, as are pain and suffering. We can make the choice of how we experience our life and our world.

We can’t make choices for others, and, indeed, we are affected by others, but it is up to us how we respond. We can be a buoy or an anchor. We can be the light in our lives. The light that comforts us, guides us and shines always. No matter the extent of the darkness, the breadth of the suffering, the light of compassion, patience and understanding is always with us. Let that light shine into every breath you take, every action you take.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

An Open Mind Amidst the Struggle

When we struggle, if we struggle and maintain an open mind, the situation immediately becomes more workable. There are no dead ends with an open mind, and as long as we maintain our active awareness and presence, we at least have a chance to make a difference in not just our own lives, but also in the lives of others.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Answers and Questions

Both yesterday and today create tomorrow. We have our future and always have. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are the same.

The best and the worst have always been within us. In fact, these are our creations. This dualistic thinking creates separation, not understanding. We label ourselves and others within that spectrum of illusion to gravitate toward or push away. 

We are creatures of both productivity and laxity. It is what we do with all that we are that we can channel differently every day of our lives.

Do we hold back or let go? Do we build, destroy or enjoy? Do we keep asking questions or do we seek answers?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

To Here, To Now

I wake up in this present moment
Starting fresh, starting anew.
Not living yesterday, nor tomorrow
My mind, my body, my heart living today, so new.

When we find ourselves floating, no land in sight
The opportunities are endless, no reason to flight.
We don’t have to look for land, we need only look for now.
We are here, we are now, we are endless, we are bright.

Looking for sun, for rain, for calm and peace
We can be the source of all, within this moment’s reach.
We need only close our eyes to yesterday, shut our mind to tomorrow
Only then do we open to this day, to this beach always within reach.

Our life begins here, our life begins now
Or we can carry on yesterday’s burdens, tomorrow’s  as well
We can open to the present, we can open to now
Or we can be closed off to the magic of here, to the wow of now.

Don’t look for land, all we need is here
Within this life, within this breath.
We can do anything, we can be anywhere
But most importantly we need to be here, we must be now.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Distractive Change

Our lives are constantly changing. There’s a natural ebb and flow to every moment. At moments, we can make decisions where this natural state of change becomes evident. In these decisive moments we can become distracted easily. When we begin making decisions about our lives, we need to be mindful of the distractions these decisions can create. These distractions have the capacity to increase our ignorance, but we can, instead, use them to open up our awareness and expand our presence.

The distraction of change is simple to understand. When we make major changes in our life, nearly every aspect of our life is impacted. These changes can be mental, emotional and even physical distractions. If we are not careful, the distraction of change can mask our thoughts and feelings of not only these changes but also of ourselves. This aspect of the distraction of change is a distraction some people seek out and others avoid.

For those who seek out the distraction of change, often it’s about masking thoughts and feelings about the self. These thoughts and feelings are often overpowering for these seekers. For the seekers of distraction, there can be no sustaining happiness. Once seekers find a moment of happiness, it almost immediately becomes uncomfortable. The “sources” of this discomfort are misplaced onto conditions as opposed to the discomfort with ourselves.

Others attempt to avoid the distractions of change. Those who avoid change by choice do not want to challenge the status quo. There may not even be happiness within the present structure of life, but to make a choice to do something different places the onus back on the self. Those who avoid change neither embrace reality nor the personal power of choice. To make a different choice gives them ownership over any future results. This empowerment is something that many wish to avoid and has a similar energy to playing the role of the victim. As long as someone else is making decisions, it’s not our fault.

The explorer nature to change in life can be powerful. Whenever we actualize power in our lives, constructive and destructive energies are both possible simultaneously. These are experienced as loss and gain. The distraction of loss is not as simple as loss of material belongings. This loss could even be loss of loneliness or hopelessness or even loss of happiness or joy. Whenever there is change we are potentially losing something. We could even be losing the absence of something. This loss can be a source of distraction. There could be elation or even euphoria if we’re losing something that we want to lose. We could also experience depression or even sadness. Sometimes, we experience all of these nearly simultaneously.

The distraction of gain is similar to that of loss. It can be the gain of material belongings, but more than that it involves the gain of an idea or even an ideal. This can be a relationship, a living situation, a job, a religion or even a new church. Or, it could be the gain of something far more subtle. It’s similar to the distraction of a new toy for a child. It’s new, it’s shiny; it’s something to play with, not so much to understand. In a new job or a new relationship, it can be that shiny toy aspect we experience, not so much the actual job or relationship we’ve gained. Any relief that is felt may not be actually from the job or the relationship, but from the distraction of gain. At some point, as with the shiny new toy in the hands of a child, the newness wears off.

The difference between genuine exploration and distraction of gain can be subtle. When something is gained in life, there are countless aspects of the object to explore and acquire. These aspects go far beyond the simple physical characteristics but also the mental, emotional and even spiritual elements or meanings of what has been gained. Regardless of our intention, we can get lost in the sheer volume of new data and experiential information.

It can be extremely difficult to maintain presence when new variables are being repeatedly introduced and altered. This is the distraction of distraction. This is the person that goes from object to object, situation to situation nearly seamlessly. There has to be a constant stream of forced or directed change. Watching a channel dedicated to commercials selling goods is the embodiment of the distraction of distraction. The goal here is to constantly have something outside of the self to focus the mind upon, anything to avoid focusing on the mind and the life itself. The internal states of being are almost ignored with this extremely distracted mind. Daily living becomes a constantly revolving door.

In all of these distractive moments, our presence can increase and awareness can open as opposed to become more limited and closed. It can be too easy to become lost in a sea of new information, new experiences and new dynamics. When we orient our mind toward acquiring this information and being open to new experiences and learning about our role in the new dynamics, we take ownership of our life, our living and actualize our personal power in this new environment. We learn to see the role we play in cause and effect in our lives. We are the cause and our daily life is the effect.

We can hold back from making decisions that fundamentally change our lives, hoping to avoid culpability. Or, we can constantly change what we’re doing, never being present or aware enough to see the consequences of those changes. The key is to strike the right balance and to constantly reacquire that balance. We can dramatically change our lives at any time by simply changing the way our minds and bodies interact with our current existence. In fact, by focusing on being more present and more aware, we can discover simple ways to change our lives. Often, we’re missing countless opportunities to better not only our lives but the lives of others. Only by expanding our presence and awareness in the present moment can we more clearly see what we can do, what we should do and what we need to do.

Have a question, comment or concern? Email me at radicaldifference@gmail.com

Other Ridding of Ignorance Articles  About Distraction and Change
Our Mind, the Distracted Runaway
Transforming Home into Healing
Expanding Awareness, From the Source of Hope and Dream

Friday, June 7, 2013

In-between Hysterical Action, the Lax and the Lazy

Hysteria is possible in any moment. Hysterics expend mental, emotional and physical energy. Hysterics are also a distraction from the present moment. Often, hysterics is an extreme version of empty action, or worse, destructive action. There may not even be an objective for all this activity. There is a level of discomfort with the present and with our presence that generates the energy of hysterical action.

It is crucial here to not get caught up in labels. Most of us exhibit some level of hysterical action, and there are so many subtle ways this energy is dissipated. There are countless channels on cable or satellite, multiple updates to social media and our constant contact with our cell phones. There are an infinite array and degrees of hysterical action. There are even physical ways we dissipate this hysterical energy. We remain busy at home, sometimes unaware of what we’re doing or what we’ve already done. Hysterical energy helps us avoid being present.

Laxity and laziness can masquerade as being present as well. Understanding the difference between hysterical activities and laxity or laziness is difficult. Sometimes, we need to be active at home. There are activities that we need to do every day, and it can be easy to not expend any energy in maintaining our daily lives. Laxity and laziness are hallmarks of not being present or aware, just like hysterical action. There is a level of giving up on life when laxity and laziness takeover.

Sometimes, people think a lax or lazy person is doing nothing, but this is not the case. We are being lax or lazy when the mind, heart and spirit are not just taking a vacation; instead, the saying “why bother?” applies. The lax and lazy mind has learned a dangerous lesson. The lax and the lazy feel disenfranchised and not empowered. The potential in every moment is lost on those embodying this energy. Being lax and lazy is the absence of presence and having no engagement with the day.

Being lax or lazy has nothing to do with doing nothing. Doing nothing at all is something we should do daily, and we should do nothing with our entire presence and awareness. That is how we avoid laxity and laziness. We must focus our mind, heart and spirit completely on doing nothing if that’s what we’re doing. The act of doing nothing can be a very powerful and transformative experience.

We must also focus our mind, heart and spirit on anything we are doing. This is how we connect cause and effect, action and reaction in our daily lives. This is how we become more effective and efficient. If we’re not focusing our minds, heart and spirit in everything we’re doing, we’re missing countless opportunities for growth and transformation. This is not hysterical action; this is action infused with presence and awareness.

In examining both hysterical actions and laxity-laziness from a great distance, both are two sides of the same coin, “why bother?” buttressed with “nothing substantial going on here.” In anything we do and in doing nothing at all, we need to apply our mind, heart and spirit completely. This is the option of being present and maintaining our awareness. As we learn to apply ourselves completely, our lives grow and transform. As we begin to infuse our day with presence and awareness, we begin making a difference not only in our own lives, but in the lives of all we encounter. 

Have a question, comment or concern? Email me at radicaldifference@gmail.com

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Clouds and Peace Within Us

Oh, the plains of peace and serenity, how great it truly feels. Often, when we sit in the meadow, enjoying the soft grass under our feet, the warm sun on our skin, refreshing water from a fresh spring, we can see clouds in the sky and not think much of them. In these moments we’re in touch with our natural state of basic goodness, nothing can shake us. When those clouds darken and begin to push down from the sky, we have a few options; suffocation from fear & anxiety and wonder at the natural beauty of the coming storm are only two.

This is much like our life. We have all experienced that amazing moment of true peace. It’s like time stops, anything is possible. Then, the storm clouds come into view; these are our troubles, our fears. Fear and peace are possible in any moment. It’s our perspective on the current experience that matters. We don’t ignore the clouds, nor do we become consumed with what the clouds may mean for our plans. We recognize the clouds for what they are, as momentary conditions that will eventually pass.

The clouds were always there. Maybe, the clouds were on the other side of the horizon out of sight. Perhaps, they were so wispy we didn’t even notice. In fact, there are clouds in the grass; there are even clouds in you. Clouds produce rain which falls into the soil, which helps the grass and trees grow and flowers bloom. There are clouds wherever you look in nature. There are clouds in life as well. These clouds are as critical to our survival as they are for the meadow or for the spring.

When we begin to see everything within our life as critical to that life, everything becomes workable. The darkness and the light are dependent upon each other. In fact, they are the same. Yes, there are difficult moments. People suffer, people die. These are essential, like oxygen, water and food are essential for life. Some difficult moments can decimate our lives like a tornado or hurricane, even dislodging our very foundations. If we are blessed enough to survive, we can build a better foundation and a stronger more fulfilling life.

Certainly, we can experience sadness, depression, even anger for the losses, for the painful suffering we’re experiencing. However, we should see that our ignorance of the truth fuels the sadness, fuels the depression, fuels the anger. Ignorance takes a natural feeling and propagates it. It doesn’t allow the storm to rain upon the meadow and keep moving. Instead, ignorance keeps the storm raining down on us and doesn’t allow for the feelings to naturally dissipate. This creates emotional floods; we become consumed with what should be a momentary sensation and allow it to take over our lives.

Anything we’re experiencing, it’s understandable. We shouldn’t try to control it. This would be similar to trying to control the weather. We can, instead, see the difficulties as part of the beauty and certainly not something to fear. Despite not being able to see the sun, we know it is there, even in the darkest of nights. Life is amazing because despite pain, despite suffering, despite even our eventual death and the death of loved ones, all of this is part of what it is to be alive. It means we care at least as much as we hurt. And, within the darkest of moments, the light of awareness will shine once again. 

Other Ridding of Ignorance Articles Using Imagery

Have a question, comment or concern? Email me at radicaldifference@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Anger Within

We all become upset and frustrated. When we do, the mind wants to act out this frustration. Instead of compassion for ourselves, we create a target. This can be an external target or the target can also be our self; destructive or self-destructive potentials co-exist. Instead of being patient, we become uptight and lash out. Or, we use every frustration as a way to demean ourselves or others. Instead of attempting understanding, the mind jumps from being present to auto-pilot, often instantaneously.

If we’re constantly losing it and then lashing out at ourselves or our environment, we need to interrupt this cycle. There are simple things we can do to achieve this interruption and return us to being present. First, we should explore this feeling called anger.

What is present in every instance that we’ve ever been angry? We are. It is understandable to disagree with this, and if we do disagree, we should challenge ourselves to find one instance where we weren’t present when we were angry. Certainly, conditions are constantly in flux as are the people living within those conditions. However, we are the only common thread in every instance of anger.

When we realize that this anger is part of us, we gain some ownership and care over it. This is not easy to do, especially in the hot heat of anger. Consistently, we would much rather someone else to be the source or cause of our anger. It is true that an external person’s actions may water the seed of anger within us, but this can only happen when we don’t have adequate compassion for ourselves and others.

If we experience the truth directly about any situation, it makes it immediately manageable. There is anger within us. It’s ours to take care of, and we cannot exile it from our lives. When we experience anger, we should take care of it instead. When someone is watering the seed of anger within us, we need to apply understanding and compassion: understanding that the anger is ours, not theirs; compassion that the watering originates from a place of pain, suffering and ignorance.

It is, after all, our own ignorance that believes that others make us angry. They only expose the anger that’s already with us. We must also be aware that the anger we’ve not adequately taken care of in the past has watered the seed of anger in others. As we begin to care for our anger, we will eventually let it loose on others once again. When we do water the seed of anger in others, we must understand this can be redirected in our direction and can infect our environment. In these aftermath moments when our anger is being watered as a direct result of what we’ve said or done, it is difficult to not react similarly, perpetuating the cycle.

We can break this cycle. And, we are the only ones that can. Our anger is truly our own. We must not only have an intellectual understanding that this is true, but we must also learn to believe it at an ever deepening emotional level. As we begin to see the reality of our anger more clearly, our anger won’t be watered so often. We’ll begin to take care of our anger instead of conditions and others controlling us. With ever diminishing frequency, we won’t water the seed of anger in others. We will see anger for what it actually is, just a seed within us that needs care and attention.

Other Ridding of Ignorance Articles on Anger
Making Room for Anger
Your Role in Your State of Mind
The Power from the Seat of Frustration

Have a question, comment or concern? Email me at radicaldifference@gmail.com

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Vigilant Presence in a Hostile World

We will become all that we are in everything that we do.
When we live constantly under stressful or hostile conditions, we must become most vigilant at maintaining our presence as we cannot control what people do or how they are. Our mental and emotional states, on the other hand, are our own. We either get carried away by the winds and the currents of others, or we become the prevailing force in our lives and in the lives of others.

It is easy to continue the cycle of reactivity. By doing so we don’t adequately take care of our own mental and emotional states. Our conditions, instead, take control over these internal states, leaving us to be carried away by anything and everyone. This is why we must constantly exercise our authority over those states of mind and heart. It is only with continued vigilance over this ownership that we become that bit of peace in every storm. Slowly, we become more comfortable with that ownership.

This can be very difficult, as stressful conditions can include threats of violence or even acts of violence. We see these threats and acts across the planet. As we are all connected, even the most distant of threats affects us, even if we’re unaware that it does. Yet, our lives continue, seemingly unabated. It simply becomes more obvious when these are in our communities and even our own households. If we’ve ever experienced a moment of peace in our presence, it was something we were touching from within, not without. That place of presence is always with us, even in the worst of situations.

How do we remain vigilant in these most hostile of conditions? We can become so exhausted maintaining a defensive posture with our bodies and our minds. At moments we may succumb to these conditions, striking out or shutting down are only two potential options. There are consequences for all options. Instead of constantly being on the defensive, there are tangible alternatives that can help maintain a vigilant presence.

One of the keys to maintaining vigilance in hostile terrain is generating compassion. This compassion can be directed internally for our own pain and suffering as well as externally for those perpetrating the hostility. This may seem like an impossible task, but if we explore the situation of the lives of our perpetrators we understand there are events that have led to what they are perpetrating. This may not lessen the physical damage, but it can alleviate some of the mental and emotional repercussions of hostility.

When we generate compassion for those who act against us or who we feel are acting against us, we’re untethering our internal condition from external conditions. This brings back ownership over our internal states; once again we’re at the helm of the vessel of our life, as opposed to everything and everyone else governing how we think, how we feel and how we respond.

We don’t have to take all that happens so deeply personally. In the throes of something happening to us, this can be difficult to believe. We want to fall back into the old patterns. Instead of claiming ownership over our role, we would much rather suffer, using others and conditions to do so. The old patterns are familiar and asking questions of engagement are difficult, tough and requires mental and emotional resources we’ve become unfamiliar with using. It’s far easier to view ourselves as the victim then to disrupt this cycle.

When we stop taking everything as a personal attack, each full of malice and intent, it loosens us up just a bit. It makes us feel less under attack, less the target. If we constantly view what others do and say as being directed toward us, it magnifies everything about those actions and those words make us think and feel.

We have to understand that magnification is our role in expanding hostility in our lives. Certainly, people can be abrasive even hurtful, but we don’t have to contribute to the damage being waged. We can, instead, see that the actions and words of others say much more about them than it does about our own experience. We can also act to magnify all the storylines we repeat to ourselves about how we’re not good enough, about how awful we are and how we don’t deserve goodness. We do this without even realizing it. The way in which we think and feel about our own self colors and shades everything we hear and experience.

When we stop magnifying our own hostility as well as the hostility of others, we immediately begin expanding our presence. We’re not getting as caught up in our own storylines or in the story others are telling about us. It can be very difficult to catch ourselves and disrupt this process of magnification. When we dissect this process, it really exposes how we think and feel about ourselves. That’s the presence we’re trying to strengthen. What others do to us or say about us can only affect us if we already think and feel similarly.

When harm or even perceived harm is our reality, we need to engage and challenge the situation with our awareness. Difficulty is always an opportunity to expand awareness, not shut that awareness down. What rational human being wants to harm anyone? This is like poisoning a field or a well that not just yourself but others use for food or water. This is what hostility does; it poisons the human community; it perpetuates the cycle of violence. And, we drink from the same well; we eat from the same field that we’re poisoning.

When we expand our awareness of any situation, it is never a wasted endeavor. We can begin to see more clearly what is being done and what we are doing to alleviate or worsen every situation. If we think something is being done to us, it fundamentally changes the way our minds and hearts experience what is happening. We need to challenge that belief, not feed into it. By expanding our awareness, we’re pumping fresh oxygen, fresh energy into the situation. The alternative is to accept the situation with no hope of changing it. If we actively engage a situation with our mind and our heart, we can see it more clearly from multiple perspectives. This lessens the devastation and broadens our role in the present.

Clearly seeing the links of cause and effect helps in remaining vigilant. When we become caught up in these reactivity cycles, we’re only adding to the toxicity problem. We may not be able to remove all the poison from the fields and wells, but we don’t have to continue adding poison into every situation and every person we encounter. To do something different, to stop or even lessen our reactivity requires so much strength, so much vigilance.

Sometimes, the perpetrators in our life are those that are in our family or in our household. In this scenario it becomes even more difficult to remain vigilant, to find compassion. And, the poisoning can be very subtle. It’s more of a drip drip drip over time as opposed to an obvious, tangible and damaging oil spill. Subtle toxicity has a long lasting impact; the deepest parts of the soil become tainted. It can become impossible to discern the difference between the good from the tainted. In fact, there is no separating the two.

Just as we cannot separate the good from the tainted, when we play our familiar role within the reactivity cycle, we are playing both the victim and the perpetrator simultaneously. Our role within the reactivity of a household is often well-established. Whenever we attempt to break out of those well-established roles, the entire household can become even more reactive in response. We must be vigilant to return to being present when we undoubtedly revert to playing out these roles.

We must have patience for ourselves in maintaining vigilant presence. We must learn to catch ourselves before we revert to our old roles. We can even learn to catch ourselves in the midst of acting out. And, despite all of this effort to do other than, we can find ourselves on the other side, having already completed our familiar role in this reactive climate.  We’ve lost our presence yet again.

Undoubtedly, we will reprise these roles again and again and again, and it’s okay; it’s understandable. In the seemingly endless string of sequels, we have to learn to be okay with losing our presence and coming back to it. This is the only way. The only way to maintain the vigilance of presence is to lose that presence. Our conditions, both internal and external, urge us to go backward, to return to what feels so familiar and normal.

When we lose our presence once again, we must celebrate it by having patience for it. It’s a blessing. What we have left to work through has been exposed to us once again. Our presence will grow in strength, and when we lose it or realize we have already lost it, we just simply acknowledge it. As we learn how to be present again, patience is vital. Without it, we will never be able to clear out all the reactivity within us. And, without losing it, we could never truly find our vigilant presence.

Our vigilance of presence starts with having compassion for ourselves and others and in not taking anything personally.  We begin to stop magnifying the storylines we’ve grown to believe about ourselves. We then realize how cause and effect unfold in our lives. We continue forward challenging our minds to really engage our lives and our difficulties. Through all of this, we must always generate patience for ourselves.

It is difficult to disrupt the multitude of prevailing winds and currents that distract us, to disrupt and break our presence. The multitude of disruptions originates from not only our conditions but from ourselves as well. However, we can do this. We can continue to work toward being present in all that we do. Over time, our presence will become our new default. Over time, we will become the prevailing wind and current that others seek out as shelter in their storms. We will become all that we are in everything that we do. That’s what vigilance of presence becomes. We can do this. We can begin today.

Have a question, comment or concern? Email me at radicaldifference@gmail.com

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Daily Exercise for The Mind

Close your eyes. Open your mind.

Focus your mind on itself.

Is there any tightness? any grasping pain?

If there is, with your mind loosen that grip. Continue loosening the grip.

Let your mind open itself up.

Any ideas that come up about anything, simply notice your mind has strayed as it does so often and return focus back to the mind.

Once you've calmed the mind's distractions and loosened the mind's attachments

Open your eyes. See a brighter world. See a beautiful world.

A world that is dependent upon you, and you dependent upon it.

This is how I begin and end every day.

This day is wonderful. You are part of this day. You are wonderful.

Other Related Ridding of Ignorance Articles
Surviving vs. Thriving: An Internal Battle
Navigating the Foreign Lands of Self
The Breakthrough: Emotions as a Sense

Have a question, comment or concern? Email me at radicaldifference@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

True Partners on the Path

There are so many obstacles and obstructions as we transform our lives. All of these obscurations to transformation actually help expose within us a rich terrain, full of attachments, aversions and couldn’t care less moments. For this, we should genuinely thank every obstacle and obstruction we encounter as well as when we realize we’re not engaging our day thoroughly and thoughtfully in those couldn’t care less moments. Each is a blessing, a spotlight that exposes what we still have to work with within ourselves.

Finding true partners on the path of life transformation, on the other hand, can provide inspiration, support and feedback with every step, every breath we take. These partners act to multiply our efforts, intentions and aspirations exponentially. When we are surrounded and supported by those in our daily lives, the more cumbersome aspects of transformation can be made more workable. In fact, these partners on the path help us in every step we take, and we help them in every step they take. We take steps together.

There are at least six aspects embodied in the true partner on our path. These six aspects help us be the best partner as well as understand and appreciate the true partners we already have.

With our presence
Our presence is truly the best gift we can give those in our life. What does it mean to give those our presence? This means that we are not thinking about the past or the future. We’re actually right here and right now. We aren’t being caught up in our own mental activities or in our reactivity to conditions. The true partner is completely, wholly here for you. This presence is the best gift we can give anyone.

“I’m here for you.”

With our awareness
Our presence doesn’t always come with awareness. Awareness is about openness to anything and to nothing at the same time. This is when all of our senses and our mind are open to what’s happening. Awareness can be directed externally as well as internally. Really, the awareness here has aspects of both. The true partner has complete awareness of themselves, others, causes and effects, and conditions. This is definitely aspirational. We must strive to be completely aware, but when we’re a partner for someone, our awareness is focused for their benefit.

 “I’m aware for you.”

With our openness
Our openness is our honesty, our sincerity. The people in our lives deserve that level of respect. We have this wealth of experience that we can offer to others. We also have this amazing capacity for empathy with someone. Sometimes, we need to be able to touch those gut-wrenching emotions. Show them we not just hear what they say, but we deeply feel as well. Other times, we can talk about our own experiences that parallel others. The true partner is one who can expose both thoughts and feelings openly. This exposure must be guided and focused about the present.

“I’m open for you.”

Without judgment
Judgment is different from discernment. We must create an atmosphere around us where we don’t judge others. Anything someone has done or said, thought or felt is understandable. That doesn’t mean it was the best action, the best words. We have to understand that no one gets to what they’re doing all on their own. Countless and compounding lessons based on ignorance were learned over time.

We must also be careful to not judge the projections of others. This is difficult. Sometimes, people are desperate to project their thoughts and feelings onto anyone in their vicinity. We have to be strong in these moments, understanding the reality of our own internal world, differentiating it from the projections of others. It is understandable that people project onto others because so many do this daily. It’s a defensive mechanism, and, therefore, is understandable.

The true partner never judges us, even when we judge them in the throes of our emotional and mental pain and suffering. Their consistency and vigilance during all of the storms of life, both real and projected, will become a beacon we learn to trust.

“I won’t judge you.”

Without reservation
We must do all of this without reservation. We can’t second guess ourselves or others. This is being honest, sincere and genuine. We have to allow ourselves and others to be mistaken. When we hold back with those closest to us, we’re not being honest. We should tell them what we think and feel about what they’re experiencing. We have to do this without thinking about how we are perceived. We will learn about their perceptions through our vigilance of presence and expanding awareness.

We cannot do this with everyone. Sometimes, people have so much near instinctual reactivity, that they cannot handle this sincerity of heart and mind. Understanding this doesn’t make it easy to hold back with those we love. In fact, it can be deeply painful to come to this understanding about those close to us. True partners on the path can handle us being mistaken, just as we can handle their mistakenness.

The true partner never holds back. Never holding back doesn’t mean we lose our presence or diminish our awareness. This is a constant balancing act. True partners are not perfect. It is only through not holding back that our mistakenness is slowly ventilated.

“I won’t hold back with you.”

Without regret
As with not holding back, we must also not regret. Missteps are part of being a true partner. We must allow ourselves and others to be mistaken. Regret is filled with guilt and shame, and there can be none of this between true partners. We may realize our mistakenness, and that is a blessing. We may see ourselves more completely, and that is a blessing. We acknowledge our mistakes, learn from them and then we continue moving forward on our path.

The true partner never regrets being honest and sincere. The true partner tries to always be present, aware and open, without regret. The true partner is relentless, without regret for the mental, emotional, physical or spiritual resources used in progressing forward.

“I won’t regret.”

Being a true partner is not something we just check boxes on some scorecard with or about someone. Being a true partner is about all of these aspects. It is not what we do; it’s how we do it. It’s about our intentions as well as our actions. In fact, in a true partnership you cannot see daylight between intention and action, these become synonymous.

These aspects are not simply aspirational. Each is tangible and truly matters to those on this path called life and living. We may make mistakes, we may not always be the perfect partner, but together we strive for being our very best. When we find true partners on the path, we are truly blessed and we are a blessing simultaneously. Partners on the path work to bring the best out of each other while working with anything that presents itself as obscurations to transformation.

When these path partners shine the light of presence, awareness and openness upon us, we can feel completely exposed and vulnerable. This exposure and vulnerability is allowed to be ventilated in a relationship free from judgment, reservation and regret. Finally, we have someone by our side, on our side. Finally, we help each other move forward, one step, one breath at a time.

Dear Partner,
I'm here for you. I'm aware for you. I'm open for you.
I won't judge you. I won't hold back with you. I won't regret.