Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Attentive Gardner: Breaking the Reactivity Cycle

We never actually know if we're being manipulated or made to feel pain and suffering by others. Mostly, people aren’t deliberately attempting to harm others; it’s only a byproduct of not being mindful or aware. That doesn't make it any easier though, does it?

The way we respond to these experiences is more important. An option is to understand that most people are simply coping. They are suffering, and they desperately need others to understand their pain directly. Or, they seek out the perceived origins, believing the source of pain and suffering is an external one.

Some people are deeply wounded: wounded by their misperceptions of others, wounded by their misperceptions of reality, wounded by their misperceptions of themselves. This is the human condition. We’re highly mistaken creatures, and we’re surrounded by others with the same mistaken condition. Mostly, we’re reacting to these conditions. We desperately don’t want to hurt.
+Wonderful World

We often actually believe our unhappiness and our suffering is being injected into us. I challenge that belief. 

Feelings don’t come from outside of us; feelings are already within us. Feelings are like seeds. We water seeds within ourselves, we are watered by the people we surround ourselves with throughout each day, and our seeds are watered by our atmosphere.

We can't make another person happy, and they can never make us happy. We can't force someone to be angry, and they can never force us to be angry. However, our actions, our words, our thoughts, and our feelings impact others. We water seeds within others and within ourselves simultaneously. We cannot possibly control another person, but we can determine which seeds are watered within us.
+Wonderful World

When people upset us, or trigger our anger and frustration, we can do something different. We can have compassion for the person that is triggering us instead of reacting with anger.

It has to be excruciating to just damage people so carelessly. Imagine that you're not the only one that has a similar reaction to someone lashing out at others and their surroundings. We don't have to continue this cycle. And, only we can break these cycles for ourselves. We may be unable to control others, but we too often don’t want to control our own internal states either. 

We don’t want to shut down; we need to open up instead.

This is a very narrow path, one in which we must with vigilance continuously check in as to where we are with both our thoughts and with our feelings as well. Our mistakenness can sneak back into controlling us again at any time. The only way we can counteract that mistakenness is to maintain our awareness with our presence.
+Wonderful World

We must do this without becoming the prison warden of our thoughts and feelings. We want to become the caretaker, the attentive gardener, instead. This is not about controlling ourselves. It’s about getting to know ourselves. 

Why are we the way we are? By even attempting to answer this question, we discover so much about others. This path is directly linked to the well-being of others, and that pathway starts here and now.

simply begin making attempts to recognize what's going on inside of us. When people are mad at us, we just go back to knowing that we have no ill intent. We don't intend harm to anyone. That does not mean we haven't done harm, but we absolutely know that we would not harm anyone with intention.

We only want the best for all people. We don’t want them to suffer.
And, people are suffering greatly. They're in so much pain. And, the way they manage can end up damaging others, but more than that, it's most damaging to themselves.
+Wonderful World

Finding understanding for this doesn't take away the bad acts of others. It can, however, give us space: to own our own experiences, to see what they are doing for what it is, to not allow ourselves to once again revert into a mistaken way of thinking and feeling, to go back to the mistaken way we were before.

We are just like them, and they are just like us. If we keep coming back to that truth, we immediately cool down our reactivity, and we immediately begin taking care as opposed to continuing the cycle of pain and suffering, of mistakenness, and of ignorance.

Only we can break this cycle for ourselves. This begins to slowly decrease the damage we create for ourselves and for others. And, moment by mindful moment, we become a beacon in the darkness of ignorance. We can do this, we need only try.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Insecurity Fruit

Insecurity has exactly zero to do with anything or anyone else. Certainly, other people and situations can trigger our insecurities, but those insecurities were already within us. 

Many will disagree, but consider where our thoughts and feelings actually originate. 

Does someone really create our thoughts and our feelings? How does that process actually unfold? Do people thrust these into our minds and hearts then force us to experience both? And, that all comes about nearly simultaneously? Does this make intuitive sense? 

Insecurities are natural. We should not try and shutdown or blame others for what is natural. In fact, exposing these insecurities is a gift and a blessing. When someone or something triggers these, try being grateful instead.

These ‘open wounds’ require our attention. And, not the negative attention of shame, guilt, or punishment. Exploring and ultimately understanding our natural insecurities will allow us to eventually let them be and to let go. Then, the dualistic nature we’ve applied to them begins to fall apart.
+Wonderful World

What does ‘dualistic nature’ actually mean? By labeling ourselves as more insecure or less secure . . . by believing others somehow make us more or less secure . . . we are living in an internal world governed by a false view of ourselves and of reality. “This is good. That is bad.” 

It is this dualistic nature that we apply to ourselves, others, and reality that creates much of our pain and our suffering. Our insecurities are just an outgrowth of that applied dualism. 

If we were to end the finger-pointing and scapegoating — instead we own how we are as we are — we would be left with no escape. We would have to transform the way we relate to ourselves, our thoughts, and our feelings . . . whatever those might be. 

+Wonderful World
What is it that alleviates the most pain and suffering for ourselves and for others? What is our role in that process of pain and suffering? What can we actually do about it?

Once we separate out the fruit from the roots, it is obvious that the two are connected, yet both appear strikingly different. How each of us grow and develop determines what fruits we grow — this in turn determines the fields of trees that will grow the fruits of our future. 

What we do about our insecurities today actually matters. We can do nothing, we can take care of them, we can blame others, we can even blame ourselves or our experiences. 

What we do is our choice — our fruit. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Focus on What We Can Do, Not What We Can Divide

+Wonderful World
Tragic stuff seems to happen all the time. 20+ dead at an Orlando gay nightclub. I just don't know what to say.
These tragedies seem to occur almost daily. Some of them hit closer to home then others.
We just find ourselves too divided. Some of us think others are just too wrong. So wrong, apparently, that those people must die.
We have to be better human beings. To one another, but above all to ourselves. It starts in how we really think and feel about ourselves and relate that in how we think and feel about others.
Who could brutalize others knowing they feel and think, suffer and experience pain in the same exact ways that they do?
Let's not focus on what divides us. Let's focus on what we can do together.
Otherwise, we're all going to suffer and die without making the most of our lives.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Weapon of Being Upset: Revisited

People can easily and understandably become upset or frustrated. Sometimes, life doesn’t unfold the way we plan. Sometimes, people do not react the way we think they will react. However, people can use the idea of being upset or angry as a weapon to control others.

This is not about the reason for being upset; it’s about being upset with the purpose to get others to back down or shut down or to control a situation or people. This is the same reasoning children have a tantrum. Their parents don’t want their children to be upset, and so immediately react to rectify the situation. The child has become the one with the power.

Who wants someone else to be upset? Not many are malicious, wishing ill on others. Mostly, people don’t want to see someone upset, which is where the source of power of this weapon lives. Someone that is upset tends to shake things up a bit. The mind wants to preserve the status quo. It wants to remain static in an ever changing world. It prefers to be lazy as opposed to adapt, evolve or even just to listen. When someone becomes upset, all of these habits are jeopardized.

The way in which we react in these moments is crucial. We, of course, have the option of backing down from what we’re saying or doing. Often, this is the wisest course because mostly it’s not worth a confrontation or engagement with someone. However, this option teaches others that if they simply get upset or appear angry they eventually get their way. This lesson can be difficult to break once it becomes routine.
+Amazing World 

This dynamic can be highly destructive in families and small communities. We can see this same dynamic within groups of animals within nature. The loudest, most bombastic creature doesn’t rule purely by physical prowess, but more by intimidation and fear. If the pack leader had to prove his prowess to everyone within the pack, he would probably weaken and become defeated. This is a tactic.

We can also be very mindful in moments where people use this weapon of being upset. This is not easy. We must first know our thoughts and our feelings. These can easily be inflamed in these situations. Then, our reaction to the person who is being upset becomes the focus of attention in the engagement. This is a deflection and is highly common as it is very instinctual.

Whenever we expose this weapon in others or ourselves, we must be unshakable, yet remain open and aware. This can require so much effort if we’re not confident in our presence and actions. To remain still while still open and aware is something we must continuously reinforce within ourselves. As we face more intense situations, gradually our confidence will improve. We’ll be able to practice in the heat of someone being upset, or someone projecting their pain and suffering onto us.
+Amazing World

Once the mind acquires a target, all the senses focus on that target and all the defensive mechanisms begin preparing to fire. The mind is very good at dismantling something or someone, determining the weaknesses of the target. This skill can either work for us & others or against us & others. Again, these are deeply ingrained, nearly instinctual responses. By understanding the weaknesses of others, we can work through these weaknesses or we can exploit them.
In these most difficult moments, we must return to patience, compassion and understanding. These help stabilize the mind, diminishing the chance of becoming inflamed as defensive arrows begin flying in our direction. The arrows are designed to pierce the stability of our presence, to shake us up and expose our own defensive mechanisms. Often, these arrows keep being fired until the desired effect is reached. We can even back down or retreat, and this can make the situation worse. The mind can go into auto-pilot, firing all of the arrows until the quiver is empty.
+Amazing World

When dealing with someone in the throes of being upset, we have to become the true spiritual warrior. Our quiver is filled with patience, compassion and understanding. It is so easy to set up the person that is attacking us as our own target. Certainly, it is easy to do, considering the amount of pain and suffering that is being spread. However, by setting up the target, we’re setting ourselves up for continuing the cycle of pain and suffering. We keep these alive whenever we retaliate, whenever we don’t see what’s actually happening.

We can apply patience, compassion and understanding for not just the person that is being upset, but for ourselves simultaneously. This is how we respond. We break the cycle, not continue it. We open up, not shut down. We don’t let someone gain control over our hearts and minds. We become the light of our presence and awareness. We can do this.
+Amazing World

When the weapon of being upset is being used, we must retain our presence and awareness and apply patience, compassion and understanding. These arrows, these painful words don’t have to damage us. We can remain constant; we can weather this storm. This situation is impermanent; the arrows are mostly words masquerading as actions. These arrows are covered in sorrow, fired with pain and burning with suffering.

We can be the peace and calm that is desperately needed. And, only we can supply this. The quiver of peace and calm is infinite, whereas the quiver of anger and retaliation is always limited. 

We can do this.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Chaos, Make it Your Ladder

This life affords us many opportunities. It is up to us to be aware enough within each moment to see the chaos for what it is or to see our way through the distractions that often surround us in order to achieve what we can. Each moment is truly an opportunity for greater awareness.

Too often, we may enter into situations with attachments and expectations in how we desire the shape and feel of the resulting outcomes to be. This leads some to anger, disappointment, even despondency when our big plans don’t work out the way we want. What benefit do any of these reactions have or gain us, or anyone, either in the moment or especially in the long term?

Aren’t we punishing not only ourselves but also others for making the best choices that we could at the time when we think in this limited fashion? Why would we do that to ourselves or anyone else? Would it not be better to be open to any results in order to best learn from our experiences?

Of course, it is natural when we are attached and the object of that attachment is missing, taken away, or never materializes to have a negative reaction or response. This is why training the mind to analyze those attachment dynamics is crucial when we enter into any endeavor, especially those endeavors that we have specific intent to do benefit for and with others. 

If our intentions are clean and clear of attachments, it allows us to seize on every opportunity presented to us by the natural chaotic factors present in modern life and from the natural effects from all of the causes we create from our actions. 
‘Okay, This path is done. Thank you for the lesson. Bless you. Now, up that chaos ladder to a more beneficial-for-others dynamic, thank you very much! Not after I deal with the anger and loss, but right now.’
+Wonderful World 

If there is no attachment, there is a freedom to be an intentional person. Every misstep, obstacle, obstruction, and absolutely every breath becomes but steps and stones on this ladder we’ve been climbing . . . to where . . . it does not matter because we have intentions connected to every action and every word. When we add, accumulate, and hold onto our attachments, it weighs those intentions down as well as our potential. 

More importantly, it obscures awareness. How does it do this? When faced with new information, experiences, or results that directly or indirectly contradict those intentions, we are immediately capable of absorbing this new data and adjust our actions as we breathe our very next breath.