No matter how much you think you love, appreciate and respect the world we live in, you can always love, appreciate and respect it a little bit more. How do you do that? By increasing your awareness and noticing that you have an addictive nature towards consumption. By the way, we all have this addiction to varying degrees. You can see it if you look closely enough at your life. Many of you have at least one area of your life that you are already aware of but cannot change because you think you must stop completely. You may have already tried more than once.
This is a false assumption on your part. You only need to take small manageable steps toward showing your love, appreciation, and respect for Mother Earth, yourself, and the generations to come by noticing your habits and making new choices. Choices that you feel comfortable making. You do not have to sacrifice your joy for something or your life to impact the world positively.
For example, do not eat meat for one meal a week. You may not think this will help, but it will. What if one billion people chose not to eat meat for one meal a week? This would significantly impact our lives and the planet. Or perhaps you buy a water filter system like a Berkey water system instead of using bottled water all the time. You can do so many things that will not change your life that much, but that would ultimately have a massive impact if we do it together. Thinking you cannot do anything about the challenges we face, ignoring them, or believing they do not exist, solves nothing. Do not make these false assumptions because you have not taken the time to bring greater awareness into your life. Show yourself just how much love you have to give to those around you and the world.
When faced with something in your life that you do not like, rather than immediately resisting, take pause and rest assured that whatever is happening is happening for you and not against you. I understand that you may feel that it is wrong and that it should not be happening. However, you may not have taken time to see or feel anything other than your egos dislike for it and immediately rebelled. When we sit in resistance to the present moment, it is impossible to stand in awareness, and without awareness, it is impossible to see the truth.
You may have already experienced this in your life, perhaps many times. Where you resisted an experience, and then one day after the fact, you looked through the eyes awareness and saw the positive effect it had on you. However, at the time, this was not possible because you were too busy battling with what was taking place.
The level of awareness required to see the truth was there all along but not available until you let go of your resistance. Once you did, you fell back into peace again, or a more comfortable space, albeit for some, this is very short-lived, lasting only until the next event.
Pause, find connection and choose peace rather than harm when you feel overwhelmed in the crashing ocean of life. – Cuong Lu
The harm we cause can be towards others or ourselves and levied through thought and deed. Unfortunately, most of the time, this harm is toward ourselves. However, it is always due to a lack of awareness.
If we are aware, we can notice it in the moment, and if not, we may still be fortunate enough to see it after some time passes. However, on too many occasions, it goes unnoticed, which can cause problems for us, either emotionally, physically, or both. Not to mention the consequences it can have on our relationships with others.
The impact on our personal lives can happen immediately, or multiple events can build on each other, leading to a very uncomfortable body, illness, sleep problems, emotional issues, or other disorders. For example, have you ever been upset with someone and gotten a headache or became sick to your stomach? Maybe you think this is no big deal, or you believe that this is just how you are because it has been happening for years. If it happens repeatedly, it could be missed as the underlying cause of your health issue or emotional state since it seems normal to you.
There are many ways to deepen your awareness. Therefore, I will not go to great lengths in this post. However, like a muscle, regular use will make it stronger. A good starting point is to pay closer attention to your thoughts and your actions. Are they unkind at times? Are you easily distracted when you try to pay attention to your thoughts? What does your mind say to you when you try to pay attention? How does your body feel when you are upset or try to pay closer attention to your thoughts? Have you ever noticed? Or is it hard to do anything else but feel your body during these experiences?
Please keep it simple to start with and allow grace to guide you. Do not solely rely on your intellect and knowledge for this guidance because for many, it keeps them stuck in mind. Know that intention gives awareness direction and is the spark. Therefore, make a clear and unbending intention to deepen your awareness, and you cannot fail. Failure is impossible unless you begin to believe what the mind is telling you without awareness. And remember to reach out for support if you need it. That is not a sign of weakness but a higher level of awareness.
“The truth resides in the heart of the soul, not the desires of the ego. Therefore, there will always be dissenting opinions and conspiracy theories because of this mistaken identification with the ego’s desires.”
Think of a time when your mind attacked you. A time when something happened, and you could not stop thinking about it. Even though you wanted to, let it go. You know what this is like, the sleepless nights and the relentless pounding of thought, sometimes for days or weeks, mulling over something that does not deserve this attention.
Know that as real as that attack feels, it is only in your mind. Even if a problem exists in your life or the world, that does not mean your state must change.
What about when you hear a thought that says what you just did was stupid, you look fat, or some other negative or unpleasant thought? Are these kinds of thoughts one-hundred percent true, or are they often misleading or outright lies? Do you identify with them without question, even when there is corroborating evidence to the contrary? Do you continue to have an ongoing conversation with your mind that leads back to the inevitable conclusion that the mind was right in the first place? How does this make you feel? Even if the mind is right, do you need to feel bad, frustrated, worried, or upset?
Now I am not talking about ignoring problems, feelings, or thoughts that need your attention. I want you to see that you do not have to identify with every thought and feeling that arises. Accepting them without question can lead to trouble. You do not have to allow any thought or feeling to disturb your state. If it does, it is because you allowed whatever arose in your mind, accurate or not, to control or influence your state. Should your mind be able to do this without your awareness? Of course, not!
What can you do about it? First, let me say that since you found this post, I know you were guided here by grace, and you are ready even if it does not feel that way to you right now. Therefore, do not let your mind talk you out of it.
Second, the fact that you read this far down tells me that you relate with these words.
Finally, the mind is cunning so pay attention to what it is saying to you. Let observing and questioning your thoughts become a part of your life like breathing, automatic. Doing this will make it harder for the mind to distract you through frustration or convince you that you cannot do it. You must be willing not to give up. I can assure you that it will repeatedly try to get you to stop. You must be vigilant and patient. After years of habitually accepting what you hear from the mind, it will not always be easy, even if the process is simple to do. It is essential not to let the mind pressure you. Do not put a time limit, conditions, or any other signal that you are making progress or not making progress.
Do not believe any unsolicited thought from the mind. Remember to observe and question your thoughts as best you can; when you can. When you forget, then begin again, without judgment, without self-punishment.
Pay attention to what you are saying to yourself? Are these thoughts making you feel better or worse? Do they help you resolve the issue or perpetuate your uncomfortable feelings? It will only be through this careful observation that you can awaken to this silent opposition. Over time, you will be able to let go of its false guidance. Pay attention and trust that this will unfold naturally without any unique practice or event needed to happen. Just observe, keep it simple and relax. We tend to forget that what we are seeking is already here. A mind attack cannot be successful without your full participation. If you do not link to or identify with a thought or feeling, they have no power. Therefore, have some fun with this and try it. Discover for yourself the power in observing your thoughts and feelings. Let me know what happens or any questions you might have.
Life functions in harmony because of its ability to adapt to changing conditions. Therefore, our true nature is always in harmony; it is our natural rhythm. If you are not in harmony with life, it is not because of anything external. Of course, the mind will lay the blame there, but this is just a lie, a distraction from the truth.
Harmony is the natural state of our true nature. This is unlike the life of personhood, where our conditioning, what we perceive, our ideas, concepts, beliefs, etc. often cause us trouble. However, the mind places the blame for our suffering toward outside sources. It is their fault. I would be just fine if I had more money, the job, or the relationship I want. I will be happy if my candidate wins or if only my party could rule the country, everything would be perfect. What in your life would be perfect if, fill in the blank? Would it? Can you say that with one-hundred percent certainty? Haven’t you already tried to find happiness through this method? It may work temporarily, but it never lasts.
Throughout the day, we find ourselves caught in conversation with our minds. These conversations can lead us right back to suffering again. A story is constructed through this conversation that creates fear, stress, worry, anxiety, and other unsettling feelings for us. At least the us that we perceive ourselves to be.
On the other hand, our true nature, the field of creation, from which all things in life manifest, is not disturbed by anything. It is when things become personal that our harmony is disturbed. By personal, I mean that we identify with things; we link to them or become attached. The question is, do things always have to become personal? Do we have to remain attached to everything in our lives to appreciate and experience them fully?
How can these things not be personal? I am me; I am this person, aren’t I. Could there be more to me than I am remembering? Have you ever questioned this? Have you ever questioned who you are? Many people do not, yet there is a deep knowing that there is more to me than just what I see in the mirror.
We believe that I am only this body, feelings, sensations, etc., but is this the whole truth? Or could it be that we are conditioned only to see ourselves as the body? Even as you read this, isn’t there something that knows there is more to it than that? More to you than just the body? Something stable that does not come and go as all things do in this life of personhood? This is what I am calling your real or true nature.
Passages point to our oneness in all spiritual writing, no matter the religion. For example, this passage from Romans 12:5, so we, being many, are one body in Christ; and every one member one of another. There are many passages in the bible and other spiritual texts saying the same thing in different ways.
Your true nature, as I said before, is always in harmony. This is not a place you go to or that you must find. You cannot lose it either—no more than you can lose the blue sky. Yes, the blue sky can become clouded over, but is it gone? No, of course not. Anyone who has flown on a plane and experienced taking off on a cloudy day has flown above the clouds to see the blue sky again. Like clouds, your thoughts can only hide your true nature. It is always there like the blue sky. It does not come and go as everything else in personhood does.
If you are not feeling in harmony with life, it is because the mind catches you. You think or believe something that makes you feel disconnected from your true nature, but this is not valid.
We have such a strong identification with personhood that we become impacted by other people, things, and experiences in the world that do not support our highest good. But this does not have to happen. Identification is a choice, and you can build the choice muscle up by observing your thoughts and recognizing that many, if not all, of your unsolicited thoughts are not valid. We can trust that life will unfold the way it needs to. Without judgment, we can remain present with our true nature and rest in the harmony of life.
Before you learn to drive a car, you take driving lessons. You learn the car’s ins and outs, and you practice driving. You do this before you go and take the test to get your license. But there is no course on how the mind works in our everyday life. When I went to high school, we had a driver’s ed class, but there was no class on how the mind impacts our daily life, no mind ed class. Yes, we might have learned the science of how it works, but not the practical ways it impacts our everyday life. A class like that would have helped me immensely and would have been life-changing. I would imagine it would help everyone to some degree, and for others like me, it would be life-changing.
How many of you have learned to drive your mind? What do I mean by drive your mind? I mean, how many of you have taken the time to learn the ins and outs of your mind, like you did that first car?
Are you driving the mind, or is it driving you?
How much attention do you pay to your thoughts and what they say to you throughout the day? Do you just get picked up by one and then driven to a destination that takes you out of your way? This happens to most people multiple times a day; we are driven around by our minds. It takes us where it wants to go, which may not be where we want to go. Do you know it is possible to get back in the driver’s seat to control where you always go and not get lost again?
It may seem impossible to some of you, I know, because I have been chauffeured around by my mind too. Even after you start driving yourself again, in the beginning, it can be easy to get distracted by the mind and then end up being chauffeured around again. It is much easier to be chauffeured because it takes focused attention to drive yourself. Have you ever been driving your car and driven past your exit or turn because the mind took over? Or have you ever arrived home and not remembered the drive along the way because you were lost in unnecessary thought?
Well, you do not have to be in a car for this to happen. No single person is reading this right now that has not experienced being caught by unwanted thoughts. We have spent years, maybe decades identifying with unsolicited thoughts and being chauffeured around and distracted by these pointless thoughts.
I am here to tell you that you have a choice, but it will only change if you want it to, and that is entirely up to you. You can have greater freedom, or you can continue to suffer.
It begins by using your awareness to wake up to how the mind works. We can watch and pay attention to what it says to us. Please make no mistake; it is sending you unsolicited thoughts, distracting you, disturbing your peace all the time. Maybe even right now, while you are trying to read this, it might be telling you something that is not true. As you begin to pay attention to this, you will be astonished at how misleading it is. . Naturally, this can feel uncomfortable, and of course, the mind will be right there to support this idea so that you stop.
Make the correct choice not to listen to it and get back in the driver seat. You can do it!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.