Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Awake Space of the Presence of Awareness

Our choices, past present and future, are all within us in this very moment. The future and the past are no more important than the present, but it is the present where we can make an active choice to be fully aware and completely awake.

When we make choices from the awake space of the presence of awareness, we can see more clearly where we've been and where we're going because we know where we are right here and right now.

When we begin seeking to benefit all others we encounter, the vibrant nature and extra-ordinary texture of every moment, every encounter, ever step, every breath and every beat begins to resonate throughout all aspects of our actions.

Our intentional living is beginning to spread. The reverberations echo into the distance wherever we go, and have been all along, that is karma. That is why the negative and destructive waves from before will ultimately be felt by us again . . . and thankfully so . . . so we can absorb what we could not before.

We no longer have to transmit our pain and suffering, our ignorance; onto others as we, our parents, families, our communities, our countries and our species have always done.

We can do something different.

By continuously opening ourselves to all people, especially those that actively attempt to harm us, at least emotionally and mentally, we show that we will not be dissuaded by petty antics of intimidation.

We can be something different.

By returning to that awake space, even after difficulty and adversity of experience, we can realize that we have always been this way.

We are something different. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tackling the Big Problem; To The Farmer's Market

+WonderfulWorld, 16 November 2014
We encounter problems every day. Mostly, these problems are simple choices. However, some problems are more complex or are broader and impact more than just today or just our own life. In these situations, some of us can easily become overwhelmed by the size and scope of what is at stake. In my experience it is the idea of the 'big problem' which must be let go first. The obstacle is our idea of the size of the problem, making it feel insurmountable and impossible to solve.

If it truly is a broad-based issue, the solution must have steps that allow for flexibility and a multifaceted approach, taking the macro-problem and initially breaking it into micro-units that are easier to consider. This can make the first steps less daunting, and once there is some progress or movement on the issue, a broader re-examination can take place. The key is to begin making headway, learning to adapt on-the-spot. Instead of attempting to solve the entire ‘big problem’ all at once, which may only be possible with objectivity, experience and intuitive insight, we’re allowing ourselves to be human.

Whenever we stop reacting to problems and situations, we allow ourselves the opportunity to let our natural presence and awareness to apply itself to the situation. All of our experiences, our intuition and our observations can be critically important in dealing with the ‘big problems’ we encounter. These are all vital when encountering each small choice and daily dilemma as well. Instead of reactivity, we are present and aware enough to begin to learn to know what our intentions are and what actions should be linked to those intentions.

Imagine if we applied ourselves to every step we take, to every human encounter we have, wherever we go and throughout our entire day. Immediately, the entirety of the day becomes a vibrant, workable field that we are actively engaged in with attention and care. We apply physical resources, mental resources, emotional resources and spiritual resources to achieve outcomes we determine are achievable and worthwhile. Imagine that! That is our day. It’s our field, the outcomes of which are the fruits, the vegetables, the crops that we feed ourselves, our families and our communities with each and every day.

Our lives are our farmer’s market. Our ‘big problems’ are our biggest asset. Our choices are what make all the difference. We determine a great deal in our lives and in the lives of others. What is it that we’re really after? Do we wish to help ourselves and others, or to blame ourselves and others?

Let’s start to do something with our day to bring to the human community farmer’s market. It will sustain us, it will sustain others, and it helps to perpetuate what we all want . . . happiness and joy, togetherness and progress.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Age of Death by a Thousand Cuts

Once a person is in the cross-hairs, anything and everything they do can be shredded and parsed. Maintaining objectivity becomes terribly difficult.

I remember in 2004 when George W Bush won re-election. I was freaking out about the future of the nation. I watched every communication out of his Administration and shredded it, pounced on it, outraged upon it. Early into 2005, I realized I had to stop . . . for not only my own well-being, but for the well-being of the country.

I made George W Bush my Patient Zero for generating understanding, patience, and compassion. I stopped doing Death by a Thousand Cuts, as that only served my ego and not for the progress for America. This is the Age of Death by a Thousand Cuts. It’s a painful one. It’s why I was so outraged in 2004, and why nearly everyone is so outraged today.

Instead of us talking and discussing about how to resolve our common problems or how to make progress as a country, a society and a culture, we’re relegated to this blame/scream fest. If you’re in the middle, as I am, it can be disheartening. Many just stay on the sidelines instead of engaging because the fever on both sides is so high and the pitch is so intense.

I maintain my objectivity, mostly, and remain non-reactive, emotionally. This is through years of mental and emotional training. I am out to learn.

I’ve been mistaken my entire life, even up to this very moment. I do wish my words to be as correct as they can be to make my intentions clear.

This is an engaging and energizing process because I’m learning. I appreciate each and every word you all write. Thank you!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Wake Up to Our Natural Ability

I think the reason hurt persists for some is in trying to suppress it instead of understand and really feel it.

When we are emotionally or even physically hurt or wounded, there's a reason for it. I mention physical wounds for a reason . . . if you don't know where the wound is, say a splinter, it can be difficult to impossible to remove that splinter and to begin to heal.

It's the suppression of our feelings that takes reasonable emotional pain and turns into persistent and chronic psychological conditions, such as depression and anxiety.

Our modern day society has taught us to suppress our feelings not because it is healthy to do so but I would suggest because emotional openness can trigger emotional responses of others through what are called "mirror neurons." These mirror neurons are how human beings feel and relate with not just one another but with animals and even objects.

Our minds are these amazing vessels that are wired to help ourselves and to help others. There are elements within our society that are more scared of the prospect of everyone waking up to that truth because their control of others would end.

When we wake up to our natural ability to benefit the well being of others, anything is possible.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Being Good To All.

"Being nice is an overrated experience to people who don’t deserve it.”
We should never be ‘good’ with the expectation of extracting something for being so. Simply because someone is mean or vicious, does not mean we should be cruel in return. This does not mean we don’t respond, and at appropriate times, with great vigor. However, being cruel or vicious, simply to ‘vent’ our personal frustration, anger or rage, compounds the pain and suffering, not just for the other vicious party, but for ourselves as well. We are watering our own seeds of self-destruction when we act with such disregard for others

Vicious people do not become vicious all on their own. Barring some genetic abnormality that damages the amygdala , for instance, human beings are not born as vicious, angry and without regret creatures. We are taught and trained to behave in that destructive way. People that have the misfortune of leading a life that has led to these destructive acts absolutely deserve both compassion and understanding. There is much that we can do to at least not add to their suffering and to ours simultaneously.

There is much more that we can actively do to help others. Sometimes, it is as simple as saying kind words. Other times, performing thoughtful actions can make a difference. With most in modern day society, the damage is severe and has been ongoing for a sustained period of time. This requires a strategy designed and set in motion over a prolonged and sustained period that is flexible to changing conditions and variables. A person must be willing and able to opt in at an early stage of development of this strategy for this approach to be successful. Others we encounter maybe running on autopilot. It doesn’t matter what we say or do, how we behave or act unless we wake them up. Sometimes, using the mirror approach can be useful to break them out of their automatic state.

If we consider these options after we encounter people that have ‘hurt’ us, it gives us an opportunity to contemplate how to benefit their well-being. Many may bristle at the thought of those that ‘hurt’ us deserving something seemingly worthwhile. Others depict compassion and understanding as pity. People appropriate these dualistic labels (positive, negative) to words that are either not easy to comprehend or to disregard and categorize these as to not be bothered to think. It’s fairly simple to have compassion for someone with an obvious physical injury. Not many people make fun of a one-armed man for having one arm to his face. Internal injuries, however, aren’t obvious at all. These emotional and mental injuries are far less likely to generate compassion or understanding without direct intention and mental effort.

We attempt to generate understanding for people by actively trying to ascertain why and how they behave in the way in which they do. This can be very difficult in the moment, but as we review situations and our reactions to people in those situations, we have increasing opportunities to not simply react to someone’s behavior but be more active to disrupt the negative programming, to disrupt the hatred and hostility of others, to even save ourselves in the midst of a criminal act.

If you have been a ‘victim’ of a crime, this can assist you in understanding the broader context of the crime. Otherwise, the crime is only about you, and you must understand that you are not to blame. We can only reach for a broader context, of course, only after we are out of harm’s way. Certainly, if our welfare or the welfare of others is actively and presently being threatened, we must act accordingly. 

Yes, it is not the perpetrators’ fault what they’ve become. It is not their fault, but it is their responsibility. This is a subtle difference, but it is an important distinction. However, it is their responsibility how they behave and for healing their initial internal damage and the lingering damages from all of their damaging behaviors over all of these years.

(There are some people, though, that are incapable of helping themselves. They are too much a danger to themselves and to others. The pain and suffering is just too great within them and that they have caused others.  Those cases are special, and not something that we can handle on our own. That is why we have hospitals, police and judicial systems. Here, we’re discussing those people that can potentially help themselves.)

We should be good to others because it simply is the best option available to us, not because we get a great Zagat score or pass the state board of health inspection. Allow your mind to refute that statement by answering the question: How would being good to others NOT be the best option for us? Everyone should answer that question. Don’t simply accept that doing ‘good’ to others is the better option, we must believe it. Otherwise, we’re continuing the approach that has fed our ignorance for most of our lives. Challenge your assumptions. Challenge others' assumptions.

By thinking of others, (specifically, how to better relate with them, how to make their lives easier, how  to soothe their pain and ease their suffering) we have to actively engage our mind into not only what we’re doing throughout our day but how and why we’re doing what it is we’re doing. Consider the number of people we simply walk by every day that we don’t even acknowledge, not verbally, but even with any awareness whatsoever.

This is truly a transformative effort to embark upon if we’re serious about this endeavour. We must be careful to be serious but to take that seriousness very lightly. Lightly is in how we enforce the application of that seriousness. That may seem contradictory, but it is not. Seriousness implies intent. We take this seriousness lightly because we do not want to be abusive toward ourselves or apply punishment or reward for any of our outcomes. We want to break away from the notion of expectations, which set others and ourselves up for failure. If we’re serious, we’ll keep at it regardless of our mistakes and missteps as well as our rewards and accolades. This doesn’t negate our outcomes, but it negates abusing ourselves for those outcomes or resting in the laurels and the medals. We learn and grow, not abuse and cower.

We’ll be keeping track of our successes, our ideas and hypotheses, make bold attempts or minor experiments to see what happens. If we’re so focused on what we want out of all that we do, we open ourselves to skewing the results, losing our objectivity and ultimately spreading our own ignorant views back into every aspect of our own daily lives. This is what we’re trying to be rid of after all.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Screw Doubt, the Status Quo and Suffering

There can be no doubt while being present and aware. Doubt is an internal process that obstructs our awareness. We can only hope to open up to our innate awareness when we’re completely present. And, it is our presence and awareness that frees us from the shackles of our ignorance

We have to be okay with being mistaken, as it is the only pathway to being rid of it. Truth isn’t something we can ever learn; it is something we already are. What we must learn is to trust in our innate awareness once again.

Despite the potential for mistakes, which will absolutely happen, we have to let go of being right as much as we have to let go of others being wrong. It is our unwillingness to broaden our understanding and being curious of alternative perspectives that strengthens division and derision, first with ourselves but with others as well.

We can only ask to do more with each and every moment. This begins with ourselves and extends to our surroundings, ultimately spreading to others. Reverberations and reactions should be expected as part of the cause and effect nature of reality. However, if we maintain our presence and awareness, we will be able to learn, adapt and broaden our understanding in these aftereffect moments.

Removing doubt with the intention of expanding awareness and ridding ignorance is a very empowering and potentially transformative endeavor. We take this as lightly as we do seriously. None of what we do is to abuse ourselves or others. Our intensity and passion are wonderful and powerful motivating forces. Use this as momentum when the world becomes static or resistant.

The world is often a mirror of our self. If the reaction we’re experiencing from the world is creating unbelievable frustration and anger within us, this is usually a sign that we’ve become static and resistant. When this inevitably happens, “they just don’t get it!” seems to apply and anger begins to boil, this is the time to remember we take this as lightly as we do seriously.

Challenging our own status quo is very difficult. When we do that, we’re also challenging the status quo of everyone that is in our life. We must have patience for ourselves and for everyone else during such upheaval. When we do, it’s ok. When others do, that’s ok too.

If we continue to make the most of each moment, we will encounter difficulty. If we don’t, we will encounter difficulty as well. The only difference is our effort and willingness to adapt and learn. If we’re attempting to broaden our understanding, we at least have an opportunity to decrease our suffering moving forward. That seems worth the effort.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Out of Wasted Time

"When you think time is something that can be wasted, you'll always be out of it."

We just put our best mental and emotional 'feet' forward in all our interactions with everyone in every day. Screw thinking what we will get out of it. If everything we do is always about what we ultimately get out of it, doesn't that set up the worst dynamic between us and everyone else?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Wanting More Every Day

Want more from yourself each day, not the best.

Often, people want the best out of themselves, never quite living up to such impossible expectations. Expectations are a major source of self-imposed pain and suffering, an important topic of merit. However, here, I wish to transform our mental perspective of ourselves and what we’re capable of accomplishing on the spot.

We start with the aspiration of wanting more from ourselves each day. Aspirations are a great place to begin this transformational process. Aspirations are meaningless without intention. Intention is really an internal moment that consists of an emotional or mental choice of a desired outcome. “I really feel like or think I want to do more today.” Intention is very simple and direct. There’s nothing before or after. It is only an emotional or mental moment in time.

Intention only begins to make an impact when we bring that intention consistently into mind. We can see how intention can easily slip away. We really want (aspiration) a cup of tea. We have every intention of steeping some tea. We even pour the water into the teapot. We even put the teapot on the stove. The water eventually boils, and we pour the boiling water over the dried tea leaves. If we lose our original intention of wanting a cup of tea, we may lose track of that cup of steeping tea. Intention only matters if we consistently keep that intention in the focus of our mind. We may do all the work necessary but never enjoy the fruits of our labor, that cup of intentional tea.

 Throughout the day, we must consistently reacquire the intention of wanting more from ourselves. It can be so easy to let that intention evacuate the building where we work, wonder off while we eat lunch, become lost to and from everywhere we go . . . the list of what we do can be extremely long or very short, but we can all do more with what little we do or how much we do. We might be doing too much, or we could better manage our time. If we can name one activity that cannot be improved upon, why do we even do anything?

We can all want more from ourselves without asking more from others or objects. That’s the key here. We don’t want to increase our dependence. We want to empower ourselves, to see that we are still these amazingly capable creatures that can do more than we ever give ourselves credit of doing. We need only to try. By asking ourselves to be the best, we’re setting ourselves up to be better than every other being on the planet. What are the odds in that? That’s self-abuse on the highest order.

By wanting more from ourselves today, we’re saying, “let’s do this, let’s get started, because  we  know we can!”

Monday, September 15, 2014

Untying the Knots of an Unintentional Mind

We are the only way, and we are in the way.
The mind loves to runaway with just about any thought or any feeling, sometimes one after another after another. Our mind is designed to think, to consider, to feel, to contemplate, to play, to lounge, to relax, to stress, to fight, to flight. Some of what we think is real or possible; most of it is just 'la la la bang bang bang smurf berry realness'.
These thoughts and feelings can be made in a concerted effort or made randomly and disconnectedly. When applied with intention, we can actually accomplish nearly anything we apply our mind toward achieving. It is possible to train our minds to not work against our intentions. We can train our minds as gymnasts train their bodies and minds to achieve remarkable feats.  

Some of these mental gymnastics can be quite productive and useful. We can build and grow things, feed ourselves and others, bring people together. We can also deconstruct reality in ways that can yield new opportunities for understanding ourselves, others and our environment, learning how to better maximize and utilize all that is available to us. Other times, these mental gymnastics can become an obstacle to achieving anything substantial or useful. We can even harm ourselves, others and our immediate environment in ways that are damaging and even irreparable.

We have the superior role in redirecting these mental misadventures. It can be quite difficult to halt or even slow these completely natural functions of mind. When our mind seems to set off on one of these misadventures, attempt to focus your mind on watching your body breathe. Our mind will want to return to its galloping, and that’s not only predictable, it’s natural. When this happens, acknowledge it for what it really is, 'thinking,' and go back to focusing on the breathing again. Try this out.  Sometimes this method can work quite quickly and easily.
Make certain to have fun with how the mind wants to gallop off into the mental wilderness of thought and feeling. Absolutely do not be mean to the mind. Training our mind happens gradually and naturally, but it does take intention. We’re not trying to beat the life out of ourselves. What we do with our mind is so important. If we train our mind to abuse ourselves or others, we’ve missed not only the point but this opportunity. We are not trying to rid ourselves of our true nature, but to redirect that nature with our intention infused with patience, understanding and compassion.

When I struggle with this, I often don’t even realize that I’ve become lost. That’s why at the end of every day I try to just sit and take note of the current state of my mental well being. On those difficult days, especially the days I haven’t realized I’ve become lost in the mental wilderness, I find my mind is all tied up in knots. I can literally feel the tension of attachment and desperate grasping, of what, I really don’t know and couldn’t tell you.
To tackle this requires a bit more than just focusing on breathing. When our minds are knotted up, we have to visualize loosening that mental grip. This can take some real concerted mental effort. Often, when we find our mind in this condition, we’ve become completely exhausted and are possibly in a great deal of pain. However exhausted or in pain we might feel, it’s important to loosen these strangleholds if we can.

Allow the mind to wholly embrace these knots . . . to become one with these knots. This may seem counter-intuitive, but these knots are actually parts of our minds. We ignored them throughout the day, or even longer. We need to bring them closer to our awareness, not to push them away or suppress them. As we embrace these painful knots with awareness, we can visualize the knots loosening. Just like an actual knot in a shoe lace or a rope, you sometimes have to work at it for awhile before you’re able to make some progress. If you begin to struggle with the knot, it often makes it much worse.

The idea is never to struggle against our nature, but to understand and work with it instead. We’re not trying to break our spirit. We want to do something with this mind, with this life. We don’t want to beat our minds into submission; we want to free our minds into action and exploration. We want to use our nature as an asset and not as an adversary.
It can be so easy to fall back into old familiar patterns, unaware we’re tying ourselves up into mental knots once again. When we catch ourselves returning to these mental misadventures, simply call it for what it is, ‘thinking,’ and let it go once again. As we become more accustomed to being gentle with ourselves in these moments, we begin to transform our lives with our intentions on the spot.

These knots may be comprised of aspects of our mind, but these knots aren’t the natural state of our mind. That is why it requires so much concerted effort and intention to heal. These exercises can be used wherever and whenever we find ourselves. We are the only ones that can do the work. It starts with the intention, and then we have to apply the action.

When are we going to do something about our life? Where do we start?

We are the only way, and we are in the way. It can begin right now, and it starts with intention.

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