Transactional or Transformational Living

We all live a transactional life to some degree. But many never go any further; they never explore real transformation.

What exactly is a transactional life? It means, on some level, there is an expectation of getting something in return for our efforts. This is often a conditioned response, and therefore we all experience it to varying degrees. For example, I do a job for you, and I expect to be paid. The example I just gave is part of our everyday work life, but there are other situations where things are not always that clear. They can end up being one-sided, which can lead to problems for anyone that has unmet expectations. For example, I do something nice for you. I then expect to be thanked. If I am not thanked, then I can feel hurt or become upset.

The following are examples of questions you might want to explore. Let them stimulate your own questions. Does the above example warrant my state being disturbed? Can I control my response in any situation where my expectations are not met? Do I have to have expectations in every exchange?

In a transactional life, the world is no bigger than we can see or feel. Living a transactional life is the easy way. It does not require anything extra, only what we are willing to give at any moment to get what we want. However, living this way brings pain and suffering. This is because when we do not get what we are expecting, life seems unfair. We feel cheated by life, and then we can feel that life owes us because we have suffered. Even if our lives do not fall to this level, we can become trapped in a transactional life and still feel that our life is okay, but have a sense that something is missing. That there must be more to life.

I want to speak to anyone who has this calling to something more significant in their life. Perhaps you have just reached a point in your life where something must change; you just cannot take it anymore. Or maybe you feel something that words alone cannot seem to describe, but a deep soulful yearning persists. Perhaps it feels like God is calling you. Maybe you do not know what is calling you, just that something is. We may describe this call differently, yet we know it must be answered when we hear it, or more suffering and melancholy comes.

The calling rises from somewhere deep within; however, it is often overlooked. We become lost in routine and repetition. Others become lost in their pain and caught by thought, making it easy not to hear this calling. Eventually, though, they cannot deny it; however, some will resist until their last breath.

The mind often steps in to offer direction through thought. However, if you pay attention to these thoughts, you will find that they are not as helpful as they seem. Many have traveled the religious or spiritual path for decades, making changes yes, but never reaching their desired destination or expected goal.

If we begin to question our thoughts, we can eventually see what is truthful and false. We can wake up to hearing the mind’s misguiding ways and realize that we do not have to identify with any thought. That this is just a habit, but it can be a choice.

Now, how many of us live a transformational life? A transformational life does not require money, notoriety, or anything the mind may think. It only requires the willing, those that feel a calling for something more to life and can no longer resist that call. A person who lives a transformational life uses their pain and problems for their highest good. With awareness and discernment, they use their thoughts, pain, and problems to awaken to their true nature. Remember when you are curious, you learn, but when you are desperate, you discover. Learning is limited, but discovery, is life-changing.

Therefore, I encourage you to begin to awaken to your true self. Take the time to notice where your life functions as a transactional life and question it. Use the following to get you started. Notice, would you be disappointed if your expectations were not met in any given situation? Is what I am expecting to get reasonable or selfish? Is there a need to have this expectation?

You will never regret beginning to question your thoughts and expectations because a transactional life without awareness will always lead to suffering. A life with awareness and transformation will always lead to more joy. Yes, there will still be transactions, but you will be doing them with awareness, which changes everything.

Right Vision Comes in the Gap

If there is breath in the body, a fresh viewpoint is always available. Right or clear vision happens in the gap. The gap is devoid of beliefs, concepts, judgments, conditioning, and thought. What feeds all of these and our troubles in life is identifying with the endless flow of unsolicited thoughts we have every day.

Experiencing the gap is simple but often misunderstood or thought to be hard, impossible, or only for a few. Which is funny because what causes us to misunderstand or think it is hard, impossible, or only for a few is the very same mind that is causing our problems in the first place. Therefore, experiencing the gap is not the problem. The problem is the thought that says you cannot experience it or that you do not know how to do it. Once you identify with a thought that says you cannot do it, it becomes impossible until that thought is no longer believed. The mind will do what it must to keep you distracted and reinforce the impression that it is impossible. Seeing this becomes very clear in the gap.

We put our complete trust into something that misleads us all the time, our mind. We do this by identifying with whatever arises in it. Once we do, there is no opportunity for discernment or to question the information’s validity. When we slow the mind down, even a little bit, it creates some space to begin to question what it is telling us and to see that most, if not all, is false.

How do you begin to slow the mind down? By questioning what arises in it, which guides you into the gap. Can it be that simple? Yes, it can. But it does come with some challenges for many of us. We have developed a robust habit of identifying with our thoughts without question. And now, this habit is anchored in place after many years or decades of reinforcement.

Once we begin to see how incredibly untrue our thoughts can be, it can be unsettling at first. However, do not let this discourage you; it means you are onto something. So instead, let it motivate you and propel you forward. Continue questioning your thoughts as often as you can. Begin to question who you are. Are you the body, your feelings, your thoughts, or your personality? Are you something more significant than just those things? What is your true nature, your true self, do you know? Have you had direct experience with it?

Your true self or true nature refers to the aspect of your being that is entirely aware of its expanded nature no matter what you may be experiencing in your life of personhood. The gap I am speaking about is your expanded nature. It is stable and not bound by time. Our personal lives, the psychological self, on the other hand, is bound by time, and it is the one that experiences problems and suffers.

Now you may find what I just said hard to believe, but of course, that is just a thought. Is it based in fact or an assumption? Notice that thought can be observed.

We have all experienced our real nature or true self. In truth, everyone has experienced timelessness. Think of an experience where you lost track of time. Perhaps you were watching a sunset or enjoying the company of a friend; I am sure you can remember an experience like this where time ceased to exist or flew by. You were not distracted by thought during this time, but instead, you experienced oneness or presence.

Please verify what I am saying for yourself by beginning to watch your thoughts. See them slow down and notice how this affects your state of being. Perhaps you will feel more peace or joy, pay attention, and see what is different. As you practice, you will find at some point that you have dropped into the gap. The mind is no longer your master but has become your slave. Now it can be used when needed and no longer has the power to interfere with your life in the same way. It can only disturb you when you give it the ability to do so by identifying with what it has presented to you through your thoughts without question.

Self-Punishment and the Grace of Awareness

Many years ago, I had a severe back injury. I was diagnosed with bulges on four of my five lumbar discs. To make a long story short, after suffering for many years, I was eventually told by my doctor, a neurologist, that I would live in pain for the rest of my life. I was informed that there were no other options except to learn to live with it and manage the pain.

At the time, I could not explain what happened next except to say that I heard a voice. Yes, a voice as clear as if someone was standing next to me that said, do not listen to him, you will find something that will help you. Now I know that that was my first mystical experience.

I left the doctor’s office bewildered, not knowing what the voice was, where it came from, or what it meant, but from that moment forward, I knew I was going to get better. I did not know how, but with a strong belief and unbending intention, divine guidance, and desire to heal, I live practically pain-free, and the journey continues. I have gained so much more than freedom from pain; this healing journey has changed my life forever, and in more ways than I ever thought possible.

In December of 2018, I started having nerve pain in both elbows at the same time. The exact cause is unknown, but I believe it occurred using improper form weightlifting. And once again recently, I was told by a medical professional that the pain I have in my elbows would probably never go away. When I heard him say this, without hesitation, my first thought was, that is not the truth. This time I did not need any encouragement from that voice. Not only did I think it, but I immediately heard the words come out of my mouth, telling the practitioner I understood his thinking, but that I was choosing not to believe it and that my elbows will heal.

What I am pointing to in these stories is an essential lesson for healing and living a life that is aware and awake. Once we identify with and believe what we are told, it becomes our truth. Our life then becomes a living expression of this belief. It does not matter if a medical professional tells you that you will live in pain for the rest of your life, or someone else tells you that you are not worthy.

I am not saying that we should ignore medical advice, far from it. I am saying that we must question what we are told before we accept it as truth. A thought is no different; unsolicited thoughts appear in our minds all the time. If we identify with them without question, then we become the living expression of these thoughts. Our problems begin here and end with the manifestation of anxiety, emotional pain, worry, stress, and suffering.

At some point in your life, you have experienced someone saying something about you that was not true. It was only their perception about you, and if you believed it, it formed how you interacted with others after that point in time, or at least until you were able to rise above their comments. Sometimes when we hear these things, they have no impact all or only for a short time, and then some words or judgments can influence our lives until the day we die.

Only through the grace of awareness can we free ourselves from this self-punishment. Awareness is one of the greatest gifts in our life of personhood because it gives us the ability to observe what is taking place. The mind will always want to blame someone or something else outside of ourselves for our problems. You may have noticed this in your life but have certainly seen it at playout in someone else’s life.

Freedom comes through awareness, not by watching or blaming others, but by observing our behavior and paying attention to our thoughts. We can watch our unsolicited thoughts arise with awareness, hear the conversations that we have in our minds, and wake up to see that what the mind tells us is nonsense and usually, if not always, untrue. The mind is needed and useful. However, there is a big difference in using it and allowing it to use you.

Can you ever recall having conversations with yourself about what might happen if things did not go a certain way? Then, fear arose, and a conversation continued, maybe even a whole story was created around this thought about what was going to happen. Your fear grew, worry and anxiety came, but the story that you created never happened, and in the end, all your worry and stress was for nothing. And because of this, you missed the present moment; you lived in an imaginary future.

A single thought that you believed in misled you down a path of suffering for no real reason. This happens to everyone more than once and continues to happen to us until we notice it occurs through awareness.

Therefore, I encourage you to take the first step, and that is to notice and question just a few thoughts you have each day. Notice when you get pulled into a story about something that is not real. Notice if you find yourself thinking about what somebody said to you that made you mad or upset. Catch yourself having a conversation with your mind about something that is not important or true. Just notice, it is that simple.

Now it may start to become uncomfortable because you might be surprised how often this is occurring. Let this be another opportunity to notice how the mind operates. Notice that it has an opinion about this process and wants you to stop or tries to distract you somehow. Notice if your body is uncomfortable in some way. The uncomfortableness is a clue that you are caught again by your thoughts. Find the signals that alert you to wake up to these thoughts.

Know that this becomes easier as you break down your old habits of identifying with thoughts and building a new habit of using your awareness to catch them before they catch you. This is not about being perfect, so do not beat yourself up if you forget or get distracted by the mind. The mind can be very subtle, even tricky, in its efforts to mislead you. Respect its cunningness but remember you oversee the mind, not the other way around, even though it may feel that way as you begin to bring more awareness into your daily life.

Finding Purpose

If you regularly read my blog, you will notice this post is slightly different from how I usually write. However, I hope you will find it enlightening. As with all my posts in recent times, they point you toward your true nature and awaken you to the conditioned-self, if you only begin to do a little self-inquiry.

Over the years, I have heard many clients say they need to find their purpose or wonder what their purpose is in life. Many of us will ask this question eventually during our lifetime. Most of us have had a clear purpose at some point, maybe even experiencing more than one as life progressed for us. In other words, our sense of purpose may have changed from time to time. Some people feel they cannot find their purpose. And others who never thought about it much or felt they needed one.

I could say a lot about purpose, as you can probably tell from the paragraph above. Or I could say our purpose is about survival and leave it at that. For this post, I will not expand on all that could be said, but ask that you contemplate the following questions.

  • Does the idea that you must have a purpose feel like an instinct, intuition, or does society condition us to believe that we must have a purpose?
  • Could the desire for a purpose or the search for one hinder your enjoyment of life?
  • Could the idea that you should have a purpose cause problems with your state of being?
  • Do you need a purpose to live life fully?

I hope that you took some time to ponder these questions rather than skimming them. Because if we do not delve deeper into who we are and what we believe, we will remain trapped by our thoughts and conditioning. Notice that our intellect and knowledge can become a problem because we can think we already have all the answers.

Here are a few thoughts and observations on the questions. Again, take your time and contemplate what I put forth here. Do not just identify with it or throw it away without spending some time questioning it. Do not let your mind and conditioning give you the answer. Experience it for yourself from a new place; verify it for yourself, do not just agree with your first thoughts.

  1. When our purpose comes from intuition, it is heartfelt, and passion arises; it comes from deep within our soul, we have a sense of knowing that we must follow through even though there may be some resistance or obstacles in the way. There is no question. We must move forward.
  • When we feel a need to find purpose, it is often coming from the conditioned-self. We will face struggle, experience worry and anxiety because we think that if we do not have a purpose, our lives will have no meaning, that we are not contributing. These thoughts are not based in fact, and this kind of thinking causes problems for us. Not having a purpose will never cause you to suffer; only your thinking about not having one will.
  • An intense desire to have or find a purpose can be very distracting from living life fully. Purpose can show up at any moment once we are free to receive what life is offering. Living life freely and with joy can be our purpose. It can be a positive force and potent energy for everyone you encounter, do not overlook this fact. Do not think that just because your mind tells you that you do not have a purpose that you are already not living it. So, live your life as if you already had a purpose.

Let me clearly say that if you are struggling with finding your purpose in life, I encourage you to let that struggle go. Your struggle could be keeping you from seeing your purpose. How would you feel if you never found a purpose? Would you go through life sulking every day, or would you step up and live life to the fullest? If you feel that you would be depressed, disappointed, or some other unfulfilling feeling, then is this desire for purpose in your highest good? Is this how you want to live your life? The choice is yours, so I leave it for you. Just remember, if you are alone and miserable, you are in bad company, and it is now time to look for better companionship. And the only way to that is to change the thoughts that led you to be in this lousy company in the first place.

The One Truth That Never Changes

There are so many people on social media today that know the truth. They become frustrated, even reaching states of anger, anxiety, and depression, why because they know they are right, and the other person is wrong. And these truths that each believes are opposites from one another. Who is right, you ask yourself, and you say why I am, of course!

We find and post articles and studies that support our beliefs. We post videos of others who say what we believe, and therefore, that makes us right, and that rightness becomes even more locked into our psyche. We see ourselves as our beliefs, and we lose connection with our true nature, our heart, our soul. You may think I am exaggerating here, but anger, anxiety, and depression do not arise from our true nature, heart, or soul, it arises from who we believe ourselves to be.

You cannot see clearly if your mind already knows the truth. You hold onto those beliefs so tightly that nothing else can be seen or heard. Nothing else can get past the wall of beliefs you have built. You will fight to the end to make your point because YOU are right.

Any parent has experienced this with their child at some point. The five-year-old wants what they want, and they know they are right. The teenager has done the research; they know what is right, and no one can tell them otherwise. Our age does not matter. Perhaps you can remember being that way as a teenager. Are you still that way, or have you become that way?

Has everything from your past that you thought to be true still valid today? Can you find examples throughout history and the world where someone’s truth caused death and destruction? Have wars started from believing that something is right, and then it turns out not to be true?

Have you ever thought about this? Probably not much, most people don’t. We quickly move on to the next thing that keeps us distracted from being present and staying connected to our hearts. We spend all our time in the mind following its guidance without awareness of where it is leading us.

The mind works this way, jumping from one thing to the next all day long, all lifelong. Without awareness, we identify with the thoughts, and then we create beliefs, concepts, and stories around them, and then we become right, and everyone else that does not believe the way we do, is wrong.

Is there a truth that never changes? Yes, we can find them but are they valid for everyone or just for those who believe them. The one truth that never changes is that many things condition us. If you can see this truth or feel it in your heart, you are waking up. Continue to question your thoughts. Are they true, or are they a distraction from truth? Observe them as they arise entirely unsolicited. Only the unconditioned-self can answer truthfully; your mind will only find a way to convince you otherwise; to mislead you and distract you from living an honest, authentic life.

Going Home

I had a dream the other night that I was teaching people how to go home. No, not the physical place where we live, but a more profound place. A place that we all have experienced.

Going home has a particular meaning in the Christian faith and perhaps for others too, where after we die, we go to be with God and our loved ones who have passed away. I do not want to speak about a belief or the afterlife. I want to talk with you about the here and now.

We have all experienced the loss of time, deep joy, or a feeling of happiness that was so strong that the rest of the world disappeared. At least it seemed that way. Perhaps it happened while watching a sunset or spending time with your family or a lover. Maybe it happened during meditation, prayer, or just taking a walk. You may notice it can happen any time while doing anything or nothing at all. These experiences happen when we are immersed in oneness; when we let go of our identity with personhood and the ego is no longer in charge.

I called it an experience, but in truth, it is not an experience, it just seems that way. What you think of as having experience is the recognition or remembering of your authentic nature. We have identified so strongly with the life of personhood that we no longer feel, see, or remember our oneness. It is still there, always, and forever. However, the mind says that it requires effort to get back to it, that it may not be possible in this life, that it is separate from us or some other story that keeps us searching instead of being. And we have been so conditioned to believe what the mind tells us, that we follow its direction without question.

Therefore, whether you believe it is possible, takes effort, can happen instantly, or could take a long time, first, realize these are all just thoughts. Start by asking yourself this question. Do I know with one-hundred percent certainty that this thought is true? This question will bring clarity if answered honestly. Therefore, ask yourself this question around any thought that pops up. You will find it useful anytime, but especially so when you perceive the thought to be negative.

Simple right? Yes, of course, it is, but beware, when you go up against the cunning mind, it can be challenging. However, if you are willing, pay attention, and remember to ask the question, you will immediately begin to see benefits.

What Have You Traded Love For?

Our society has traded…

LOVE for indifference

LOVE for hate

LOVE for anger

LOVE for resentment

LOVE for _____________

Without LOVE, COMPASSION, KINDNESS, and EMPATHY, we become a society of unconscious beings who put their wants and needs first. Living life this way leaves us feeling lonely, empty, and sad. We look to get more material things, wealth, and power to gain a false sense of security. We struggle with everyday life, feeling there has to be more to life, never realizing that what we seek cannot be found externally.

For those who have the courage, the willingness, and an unbending intention, a more profound journey takes place, one that will bring more balance between our external and internal worlds. We cannot find this balance by just seeking more knowledge or using our intellect alone. It cannot be found by going to church, the synagogue, mosque, or other worship places, without continuing to do the work after leaving these hallowed halls.

Once again, we must connect with the tenderness of the heart, just think of small children, how open and joyous they live. How quickly they let go of their upset. The brash and hard exteriors we have falsely created to protect ourselves only leads to conflict, hurt, and suffering. You only have to look around to see this, feel it, and hear it everywhere across the planet.

You have a simple choice that, for many, will be hard to make. However, at some point, whether now, on your deathbed or somewhere in between, a choice will be made. Just remember that not making a decision now is a choice.

When enough people begin to go inward and explore self-inquiry, everything will change for everyone. Will you be one of the courageous beings who steps towards your True-Self? Or will you continue to hold tight onto who you have become?

Time to Understand and Know

We hate before we understand or know.
We do not take the time to understand or know.
We express anger before we understand or know.
We make judgments before we understand or know.
We make assumptions before we understand or know.
We stand in righteousness before we understand or know.
We disdainfully look at others before we understand or know.
We sit on the seat of white privilege before we understand or know.

Do we have to understand or know before we show compassion, empathy, kindness, or love?

What can you really understand or know? The truth of someone else’s experience cannot be known if we have not shared the experience. We cannot know someone else’s suffering if we have not carried their burdens. It can only be imagined, and that is not the truth, that is not reality. It is more comfortable to sit in judgment than to understand or know.

Human beings are souls of the Divine creator, no matter their religious beliefs, skin color, country of origin, or any other difference your mind points to, or says this person is not like me. Does everyone have to be like you to be accepted by you? Does everyone have to look like you, walk like you, talk like you to be approved by you?

When fear arises in you because of these differences, what do you do with that fear? I know the fear feels real to you, but do you need to be afraid? What if your fear was an indicator to take the time to get to understand and know, to see this person, their religion, or country on a deeper level, what would you find out? Would you find that perhaps at the core of their being, they are no different from you? Would you find that they want the same things for their children you want for yours? Would you find that they practice their religion for the same reason that you do? Would you find that many teachings in their faith are the same as yours? How would you figure this out unless you take the time to understand and know?

Sharing and feeling the burden and pain of others is genuine compassion.

It is time that our differences are no longer seen through our conditioning. We cannot allow our senses to be the guiding force of our reactions; we must respond appropriately from a place of understanding and knowing.

We must wake up and reach deeper to connect with our oneness, our sameness, and not just our differences. We must take time to understand and know what others are going through before we react from a place that does not reflect the truth of their experience. What would we find if we make this effort? Are we willing to try, or is it too hard? Would the world change if we did? Would we finally understand and know.

Finding Freedom from Worry, Stress, and Anxiety a FREE Online Event

Time: May 3, 2020, 4:00 – 5:00 PM PST

During this and future events, we will explore the emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of life. This is important because when we bring more awareness into our lives, we can begin to discover who we have become through social conditioning, our perceptions, and beliefs. Knowing this allows us to address the things that get in the way of experiencing life fully and connecting with our True-Self.

I will apply a fluid, interactive style to address your specific issues. Therefore, participants will be encouraged to share if they feel comfortable doing so; this way, we can address real-life challenges that are important to you. Participants will take away new insights, perspectives, and clarity about living life and their place in the world.

Join us on Zoom for this free event. First, join our Meetup Group then RSVP for tomorrow’s meeting. After you RSVP, you will receive the Zoom meeting ID.

If you have never used Zoom, it is straightforward. Find the appropriate app or plugin here Zoom Download. Just open the app or plugin, at the designated time open the app or plugin and add the meeting ID. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

The Snake and YOU

The snake is not the problem. The problem is the one troubled by the snake.

What does that mean? Please follow along to see if it becomes clear. The following is an essential step to start the process of integrating the body, mind, and spirit.

The mind, our thoughts, and feelings are not the problems. They only appear to be; the real problem is the one who is troubled by them. Who is this one, do you know?

Once we identify with what the mind says, true or not, we believe in it. Once accepted, it then can influence our life and state of being. Without identification and belief, a thought or feeling cannot change anything in our life or body.

Feelings that arise from identification like anxiety, worry, and fear will be softened or not disrupt your life at all if you do not identify with them. Of course, we can always choose to explore them if we want. However, how many times has your life been turned upside down by something someone did or said only to be gone the next day, without leaving any known lasting impact on your life? What if you had a way to go through these events without feeling upset, stressed, or anxious at that moment, would this interest you? Well, you can if you desire it, so keep reading.

You can use awareness to see this playing out. Do not take my word for it, look, and have direct experience for yourself. You have observed this phenomenon many times in your life. Do you pay attention to this remarkable ability? I hope so because this is such a powerful tool for changing your life, waking up and not continually falling victim to the myriad of meaningless thoughts and feelings that flow throughout your mind and life each day.

Besides, in those times, when you need to explore your feelings or thoughts to gain more clarity about your life, you can do it with a greater understanding—knowing that you are not your emotions or thoughts. Knowing they are a temporary phenomenon, and when you explore them from a more stable place, there is access to a keener intuition and greater clarity.

Remember that whatever form suffering takes in your life, it is observed through awareness. All things, all phenomenons’ that take place in personhood, can be found and seen to come and go. Notice that personhood is not stable. If you do not already recognize this, you only need to look with awareness to see it is true.

This does not mean that you should ignore your pain or not feel it; however, can you feel the freedom that comes from just knowing that you are not your suffering. There is a big difference between feeling your suffering and being your suffering. One feels that it is passing through you, and the other, as if you are stuck in it; it feels hopeless.

When we make a judgment about our pain, and we say, it is not acceptable, or not welcome in our lives, we have identified with it. We are saying it should not be happening and we are resisting what we are experiencing. In that instant, it morphs into suffering. What if we made the opposite decision and said it was okay or welcome, in which case our suffering would end, instantly. Nothing has changed; we still feel the pain, but our experience is altered, and everything feels different.

This is also something that you have had direct experience with before. It is where your perception changed about something or someone, and like magic, your experience changed. You were flying high and crashed, or feeling low, depressed, or sad, and you were lifted higher than you ever thought was possible.

Our actions, feelings, and lives are informed by our ideas, perceptions, and beliefs created through a lifetime of conditioning. When we see this, the opportunity to transcend any challenge in life is possible. Therefore, use the gift of awareness, notice that whatever arises in your life is a way to connect with the truth of who you are, instead of thinking that whatever occurs is who you are, see it for what it is, something temporary. Take your power back from that which has no power to begin with, and live your life with more balance and peace.

Know that through awareness, you can step into the space of the observer and see things more clearly. As you practice this, your life will naturally begin to shift. For many people, this will be a process and will require repetition to break the habit of always believing in what your thoughts tell you. One day you will recognize that this is not a space you step into, that there is nothing to find and nowhere to go.

You can believe this to be true or not, which will keep you stuck where you are, the only way out is through direct experience. I leave it up to you to make your choice. Perhaps you feel intuitively that there has to be something more to life. Or maybe you feel uncomfortable in life sometimes, or all the time, then I encourage you to explore what I have shared here. I urge you to open the door to meeting your True-Self and let go of who you have become, who you THiNK you are.