Obstacles (Part 2)

I wrote in part 1 yesterday how searching for an obstacle-free life will cause you to suffer more. Social conditioning can cause many us to look for perfection in our life. What does that mean anyway, a life without pain or obstacles? As I said in part 1, this is not possible; furthermore, even a blessing can turn into an obstacle.

The following line is from Richard Bach’s book “ONE” which says, “There is no disaster that can’t become a blessing, and no blessing that can’t become a disaster.”

This is very profound and when we recognize that all things have the potential to be good and bad, right and wrong, we begin to see life from a different perspective.

Obstacles are not something that you can avoid, resist or ignore, but something that must be acknowledged and seen. When we bring obstacles out of the darkness and into the light, they can no longer hide in the shadows and cause suffering. Therefore, the next time you are faced with an obstacle, remember you have a choice in how to be with it. Try something different, look for the possibilities hidden inside, and see what happens.

Obstacles (Part 1)

Once you begin awakening, you will realize that obstacles are part of your journey. Living a peaceful life is not about avoiding obstacles, because the perfect life, your life, will not happen without them. This is simply not possible.

Moreover, if you continue searching for an obstacle-free life you will suffer even more. Once you recognize this, the obstacle can become your greatest gift for transformation. When we see our problems become possibilities, the perfection we seek unfolds before our eyes, because we are no longer resisting what is, but embracing the truth of our life. Within this truth is the power to let go, to heal and to be at peace, even in the midst of an obstacle.

Part 2, which will be posted tomorrow, is about seeing blessings and obstacles from a different perspective.

Real Freedom

My grandson who is 15 mentioned to me the other day that when he gets older he would have more freedom than he has now. This is an illusion of our thinking mind. I can remember thinking the same thing at his age, however, is that true?

Anyone can feel like he or she has more or less freedom depending on his or her perspective. Unfortunately, we often compare and judge our lives to others to feel a sense of freedom. We have it better than they do, so we are freer. We look at many things like voting, having a lot of money, being able to travel as freedoms and they are, but these types of freedoms can be taken away at any time.

Real freedom does not come from acquiring things, having rights or being a certain age. It comes from within and knowing that you are free. No one can take this kind of freedom away and it means that no matter what is happening to you or around you, you know you are going to be okay.  A person in an actual prison can feel freer than a person who is not in prison. When we have this type of freedom, we feel empowered and capable of handling anything.

What is your definition of freedom? Does real freedom come from external things or from where you live? I am grateful to live in the country that I do, and that I am able to enjoy the many freedoms that others do not have in many places around the world.

While I can enjoy these freedoms and would fight to keep them, I know that with real freedom I can survive and even thrive without them. Real freedom does not come from social conditioning or external circumstances. Anyone anywhere, no matter his or her circumstances can experience this kind of freedom. Now that is real freedom!

In Times of Uncertainty (Part 2)

In yesterday’s post, part 1, I talked about how we can be upset emotionally and physically by what someone else does. I mentioned taking a different perspective on that person and their actions. Now I will share some steps to take to stay peaceful in times of uncertainty.

In order to get some clarity, we need to stop blaming the other person for how we feel, and then we have the opportunity to look at how our incessant thoughts contribute to our unbalance. Yes, their actions caused us to feel uncomfortable, but the emotional intensity and the effects on the body are unique to each one of us depending on our perceptions, beliefs and past experiences. Noticing that we have unique experiences in similar situations, shows that the person we are blaming does not cause us to continue suffering long after the incident, we do that on our own. Otherwise, everyone would experience his or her feelings in the same way and for the same length of time and we know this is not what happens.

This shows us how important it is to start looking at why we are reacting the way we are. This is done through awareness, attention, and self-inquiry. It gives us the opportunity to shift from a reactive state into having a response that does not throw us out of balance.

Begin to pay attention to your thoughts and question them. Are you aware of any beliefs that come up because of what this person has done? Here are some examples of questions. What is the belief? Does it still hold true? Is your response right for what the other person has done or does it feel out of proportion or out of control? If it is, you will be out of balance and may experience discomfort in your emotional state or body. Are your thoughts supportive of your well-being or are they causing agitation? Thoughts will not cause agitation unless we have attached to them or ruminate on them.

As you continue the process of paying attention and bringing awareness to your thoughts and beliefs, you will start to notice what is not serving you. Over time, you will be able to let them go. Often it only takes the awareness of the thought to let it go and other times you will have to repeat the process until it shifts for you.

This is important to remember, the very thoughts that are not serving you will distract you from your intention. Each time this happens, gently bring yourself back to paying attention. You will find this easier to do with practice and over time, it will be harder for your thoughts to distract you.

There are times when working with your thoughts may feel impossible. In these times, working with the body is a more grounded process. Please refer to Body Scanning part 1 and part 2. These two short posts will give you direction in the body scanning process.

Do the best you can and remember to be kind to yourself, this is not about perfection. No matter where you are in life, you can have more balance and peace, you only have to look for them. They lie behind your thoughts, in the innermost recesses of your own being. Finding them anywhere else will only be temporary.

 

 

In Times of Uncertainty (Part 1)

It is easy to be upset by someone who is doing things that we do not agree with and many of us could probably name someone like that now. They make us feel out of balance emotionally, physically or both. For instance, emotionally we might worry, feel angry, frustrated or fearful. Physically we might get a headache, feel nauseous, become ill or even experience pain in the body. Each one of us experiences these imbalances in different ways. Have you ever noticed or thought about how you experience an imbalance in your life?

It is important to recognize that when this happens it is not what the other person is doing that causes us to be this way. It is how we are reacting to what that person is doing. Our reaction is formed from our experiences in the past and other factors that influence how we experience and operate in this life.

If we are not aware and awake to these feeling and sensations, we will feel like we do not have control over them. Please remember that being aware and awake to them is very different from just experiencing them or being absorbed in them. We all have the right to feel our feelings. However, being awake and aware of them means that you able to be with them, not overwhelmed or controlled by them. You must come to a higher understanding of what you are experiencing for this to happen.

A different perspective is to know that no matter what someone is doing, that person is doing the best that he or she can do in that moment. That does not mean that what they are doing is okay or right. It just means that they do not know any better. In life, when we know better, we do better.

Look at your own life. Most of us have done something that we regretted or that was wrong. Once we finally realized it, then we made every effort not to do it again. If someone is still doing terrible things it is because he or she cannot see or does not understand what they are doing is wrong. In their minds, it is perfectly OK and they feel they do not have a choice, even though others see it differently.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and is about learning how to stop reacting and how to start responding so that you can take proper action when needed and stay more peaceful in times of uncertainty.

 

 

Stop, Pay Attention and Let Go

As long as you hold onto the thought(s) that is holding you back it does not matter what you do to change your behavior, you will always find another way of reverting back to that same behavior. The only way to stop the behavior is to let go of the thought and to do that, you must become aware of it.

How do you become aware of it? By gently by paying attention to your thoughts. This is not always easy because the very thoughts you are paying attention to will distract you from your intention. When this happens, you simply bring yourself back to the moment and start watching your thoughts again.

Finding Lasting Happiness

We live in a world where many bad things happen daily. Moreover, let us be honest, sometimes life just does not go our way. With so many things happening that we do not like, how can we be happy? First, you must ask yourself a question. Where do I look for my happiness? Honestly ask and answer this question before continuing on.

Many people think that getting the right job, having lots of money or being in the perfect relationship will finally make them happy. Only to find out later that you cannot buy something and find lasting happiness. You will not find it by taking a vacation. It will not suddenly show up because you fall in love or see the perfect sunset. Happiness is not something that needs to be found because it is already a part of you. This is why it cannot come from anything that can be taken away from you and no one can give it to you.

The only person who can take away your happiness is you and the only way to find it again is to begin exploring who you really are. No one can make you want to do this and only those who feel a strong calling will begin this exploration. However, to those that do, I can assure you that you will not regret the many gifts that come from such an exploration.

If you are reading this, you are ready or you have already started. Please explore my blog or ask for help with this exploration and know that you cannot fail or make a wrong turn. Remember in every failure is the seed of success and in every problem is the seed of opportunity.

Real Freedom and Hope for a Better Future

With an attentive nature to our thoughts and beliefs, we will begin to awaken to how others have influenced the direction and choices of our lives. Hope lies in the action we take. We do not feel hope when we let life pass us by; it does not come through resistance, only pain and suffering happen when we make these choices; life becomes dull and there is an inability to live life to its fullest.

How much of your life has been influenced by the conditioning of family, society and the people around you? You will never know unless you start being attentive to your thoughts and beliefs. Your freedom lies in the exploration of your inner world, it will never come by blaming anyone or anything out in the world.

Do the Right Thing

Remember no two snowflakes are alike. This is true for human beings as well. It is easy to see the beauty in snowflakes, how about looking for the beauty of each person you see today and the common thread that binds us all together. It is always there, you only have to look with an open heart. Instead, we choose to judge without knowing and to hate without understanding. It is living in this way without ever questioning our thoughts or beliefs that we perpetuate the suffering in this world and its destruction. To think that we do not have to take care of each other no matter who we are, what we believe or where we are from and this planet is a recipe for disaster and one that will ultimately destroy us all. I am not speaking metaphorically, I mean literally.

Social Media Syndrome

Social media syndrome has several symptoms, however today I am only writing about one symptom, not listening.

When it comes to politics and other societal issues, social media has become a platform to champion our views. Unfortunately, many no longer listen to what others have to say and only use the platform to express their beliefs in hopes of convincing others that their views are right.

Many times these opinions are based on long-held beliefs that no longer hold true, were acquired out of social conditioning, or they are based on false information. We will also often disseminate false information without verifying or questioning the information because it falls into alignment with our beliefs. We make comments out of anger and frustration only because someone else does not have the same beliefs. It is our way of saying that what I believe is right and what you believe is wrong.

This kind of thinking only leads to greater divides in our country, which is very evident today. This is how tribal (like-minded) thinking works: if you do not agree with the tribe then you are ostracized from your tribe. It has nothing to do with being right or wrong most of the time; it is about whether your views agree with the majority views of your tribe. If they do not, then you are wrong.

We can look back through history and find many examples of this happening in the world. For example, anyone who disagreed with the world not being flat was considered crazy, as were the scientists and explorers who went against conventional thinking in their time. Approximately 77,000 German citizens were killed for not being part of Hitler’s tribe. In today’s society, we have Global warming: which tribe are you a part of on this subject?

If we ever want to reach a consensus, we must be willing to listen to one another. We can no longer just espouse our views and expect to find our way to peace. We can no longer just repeat the reported facts because they fall into alignment with those beliefs. We must ask questions, investigate and find the facts for ourselves, and we must we must call into question the truth or validity of our own beliefs, instead. Where did they come from anyway? Do you know? Do they still hold true? This is not only true for social media, we must become the listener in everyday life as well, which means at home, work and in our relationships.

The cure for social media syndrome requires each one of us to have the willingness to look at our beliefs and question them, to question what we hear as fact and to become a listener first. Have you ever noticed that you are practicing what you are going to say in rebuttal as soon as the other person starts talking, without even hearing their complete thought? This is not listening, it is an unconscious way of living, we continually repeat the same things and ideas without any thought, and it becomes automatic.

The next time you get the urge to post something on social media, be sure to fact check what you are posting. Do not share it just because it falls in alignment with your beliefs. Monitor your own thoughts about why you are posting or commenting about something. Notice how you are feeling: Are you posting out of anger or frustration? Is what you are about to say or write bringing people closer together, or does it create a greater divide? Does it lift someone up or are you trying to tear him or her down? Is it kind or unthoughtful?

Remember that when we respond out of anger or fear we are not listening, we are ignoring the symptoms of social media syndrome. Remember to fact check your own thoughts, question them and take a breath before posting or commenting out of anger, fear or the idea that you are right and the other person is wrong, stupid or ignorant. Saying nothing in these situations is more self-empowering than speaking out from the wrong state of mind. Holding onto a position to make yourself feel powerful or to make YOU FEEL RIGHT will only lead to sickness in the mind, body, and world. If you look at the world today with an open heart, you will see that this is true.