Stumbling Toward Ecstasy

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Someone recently proclaimed that I ‘sound all Zen and Buddha like’, but in fact, I don’t know Buddha.  I don’t know Zen or Tao.  I barely know what awareness looks and feels like.  I will be the first to admit that I am literally stumbling around in a vast world of information, going from hollow tree to hollow tree, looking for some kind of nugget of truth to allow me to feed my brain and become more authentic.  That is how I might view the real meaning of ecstasy.

learningI think it’s a great trait to always want to learn more about ourselves.  Even heroes learn about themselves in the  Hero’s Journey; I mean that’s what the journey is actually all about!  I may still now know a lot after my journey has ended, but hopefully, I will have inspired some others to start on their path by then.

I realize that all I seek is within me, but it’s hard at times when you are essentially teaching yourself.  I don’t have a master, in the traditional sense and all I know is what feels right in my gut.

My mentor, guide, and fellow spiritual partner is my wonderful, illuminating girlfriend.  She is so compassionate, intelligent, and empathetic that her and I have the best conversations about enlightenment, awareness, gratefulness, and many related topics!  She is my mirror for much of what I do and we call each other on what we might consider an ‘old tape’ behaviour.  We learn so much together.

deep talkI truly believe that if you are interested in learning about ‘self’, in whatever way suits you, exponential gains can be made by simply discussing the topic with a like-minded individual.

Naturally I read many books, attend events, and watch movies and documentaries on other enlightened people, but I often wonder what it might be like to be taught by a master.  Even to be mentored by a teacher in several different disciplines, so that we all find the path that is most suited to our own unique paths.

Wouldn’t it be so powerful to be able to attend a school that allowed you to broaden your sense of individual power, skill, knowledge and connection with the world around us?  It might cultivate the awareness of self, the introduction of our Ego, the gratefulness of life, and the impact we have upon other beings.

As much as I may dream of such a place, in my current life I still fail to remove myself from my ego.  I still judge people immediately after I see them.  I still react emotionally firs, and I still crave money to succeed in life.  I don’t know Zen or Tao or Buddha at all.  But one thing I do have, that I didn’t have a year ago is awareness.

When I start to judge someone I see, I also start looking for why that is.  When I desire acknowledgement, I quell it for the sake of knowing what it feels like, and understand that it would detract from the moment for the sole purpose of my ego.

When I feel emotions, I can discuss them and start to understand that a lot about my past influences my current behaviour.

As far as money goes, I can go without the BMW M Series car and continue to take the bus or bike, but I really want be profitable enough so I can reach a large audience and show people around the world how we can all tap in to our own potential.  I’m working on that, one day, one post, one thought at a time.

I am constantly talking within my head about where my thoughts come from, why that is ‘so’, and if I am behaving selfishly or not.  There is a lot of programming and I still have a hell of a long way to go, but I know that.

That much I do know.

If I sound all Zen and Buddha like, well, it’s only because I try to do a little research in my posts so you can benefit from it.  I want to present all  my thoughts as coherently as possible, and not as they fall out of my head, tumbling and tied up in mental knots as they always feel at first.

I am stumbling toward something that I know is where I want to go.  I know it’s where I need to go, and I know that I will continue to stumble less and less as I make my way toward my goal of encountering my true self.

Many may have heard the poem, but I will repeat it hear again for any new readers, as it is so poignant and relevant to what I seek.  An excerpt from the poem “Little Gidding” by T.S Eliot:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

I want to arrive at the end of all my searching and exploration, while stumbling, crawling, and eventually running, to finally reach the end, and know what I see for the first time.  Even as I say that, I may never reach the end, and in realizing that, isn’t all of life in the journey?  I hope so.

Every moment is priceless because that’s all we have.  Imagine if all humanity was swept off the planet.,  Would the phrase “What time is it?” still be relevant?  Time is a man-made illusion, instrument, and convenience that we spend entirely too much ‘time’ on.  So my journey, even when imperfect, is priceless, no matter if it takes the rest of my life; and I think it should.

We may all stumble, trip, fall, and feel utterly depleted by our own follies in our exploration for something new, something pleasing to our heart.  But we shall not be disheartened.  As a matter of fact we should take all the stumbling, falling, failing moments and decipher them as signposts that tell us to change our course slightly; try a different angle.

Even our failures tell us something…and sometimes monumentally more than many of our successes.  When we fall, perhaps we can just sit there, and meditate, think, ruminate, and ponder the meaning of our perceived failure.  It just might turn in to the best thing we had going for us.

May your path, however rough, awkward, and full of surprises, never snag you, always inform you, and gently lead you forward, so you may at long last be able to lovingly gaze at your own understanding of mind, body, and spirit; self bliss and ecstasy.

By the way, what is a stumble? a misstep? a failure?  I think it might just be our perception of an event, yes?  If we can’t see the future, and I know I can’t, how do we know, until the future comes to us, if that perceived misstep was in fact a step in the wrong direction?  It just might have been the change in our path that we had been asking for all along!

Conquer Your Genetic Code

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If your my age, late Baby Boomer, you will be familiar with the thought that our genetics are predetermined from our parents.  What we get is locked in and completely unchangeable.  Essentially, we just get to wait and see what disease we are going to get.  Is it going to be cancer, heart disease, diabetes, kidney or liver failure, Alzheimer’s, ALS, or what?  Just live your life the way you want and you will get whatever cards were dealt to you.  Healthy people had heart attacks.  Young people died for no apparent reason.  It all seemed to make sense.

This process of deterministic heredity was confirmed, in spirit, if not in actual fact, by the biologist James Watson and physicist Francis Crick when they discovered the keys to the double-helix DNA in 1953.  In 1958 they stated that the DNA essentially determined, through a process, the proteins required in the body.  The proteins did all the work, being the building blocks of all the cells in our body.  This was called the Central Dogma.gene

16554_temin1964nijhoutThis was accepted for a long time until along came a few fellows by the name of Howard Temin, a geneticist in the 1960s [left], and H. Frederik Nijhout, a biologist in 1990 [right].  They were able to illustrate and prove a backward flow of information that essentially said the environment also had an impact on what proteins were created.  [some info]

Well, that was pretty monumental.  Think for a moment…first, we were told we were just along for the ride, with no way to change our bodies, no way to modify our biology.  Then, 30+ years later, it comes out that the interaction of the environment can affect our body’s production of proteins.  Essentially, the environment is talking to the protein builders in our body and the resulting cell create in a response to that.  Whoa!

Okay, you might not yet get the significance of this, but stay with me.  If the environment can effectively change our body’s cells, our biology, then what if there was something else that was under our control that could simulate the effects of the environment?  Do you know of something that can do that?

If you are familiar with the movie The Matrix, you might begin to understand the climactic “aha” moment that is coming.  In this movie, the mentor character, Morpheus, is explaining to the heroic character and protagonist, Neo, about the nature of reality.

Morpheus says: What is real? How do you define ‘real’? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.

prefrontal_cortexIf we take that one statement and think about it.  If we close our eyes and remember an experience with sights, sounds, and smells, we can react as if we are really there.  Our brain doesn’t know if we are really there or if our extraordinary pre-frontal cortex (PFC) portion of our brain is simulating that experience.  It is so powerful, this latest evolutionary expansion of our brain, and it simulates so well, that if we create a vision, or remember an experience, they become synonymous.  Experiences and visions can become interchangeable if they are both fleshed out.  Our mind can’t really tell the difference.  Nor can it tell if what we are experiencing in our mind is really happening or not.  Our mind still produces all the same chemical enzymes as if what it is thinking is really happening.  The body can’t tell if it is real or not!

Now follow this logic back: if our brain can not distinguish between what is real (the environment) and what we imagine (our thoughts), then can our mind control the biology in our bodies?  Our mind, by simple virtue of the powerful simulation in the PFC, can stimulate a flow of information to the protein builders in our body, just like the environment does, except there is one major difference: we control what our mind envisions, therefore we can simulate any environment we want!

brain powerWe can literally control the biology of our body simply by experiencing the mind’s vision of our environment.  [see Thoughts Are Real in the above image]

mind-powerThat’s a bit of a mouthful right there.  What do I mean by experiencing the mind’s vision?  It’s a bit more involved than just wishful thinking, or simply desiring a particular environment, say a beach scene where we want to live.  We need to turn our mind up to full power.  We need to make our vision something more powerful, so we can recall it at will.

What types of memories do we recall easily?  Experiences!  We need to make our mental image so detailed that it becomes a full sensory experience.  We need to see all of it.  we need to sense it, feel the wind, smell the earth, hear the wildlife.  Whatever your vision is, you must escape in to that world and experience being there!  Once you create this terrific, wonderful environment where you perceive your body the way you desire, where you live in love, gratefulness, positivity and bliss, you start to interact with your body’s cells in a way that can manifest changes.

hands on headWhen the vision becomes a fully formed experience, then your body starts to believe in it.  Yet, we can even take this one step further.  When we believe that what we desire has already happened, we erase the thought of waiting for it.  We eliminate the anxiety, or want for it to come true, and we can simply witness that it is done.

When we believe that the transformation is already complete, something wonderful happens.  The change that comes surprises us.   It must surprise us, since, for most of us, what we are imagining is kind of different from the life we lead right now.  If change is to happen, it won’t come in any way that we expect, otherwise it would have happened already!

Dr. Joe Dispenza talks about this in his personal research into spontaneous remission.   Biologist Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. discusses this in a number of his books.  There is innumerable research papers on this topic that I encourage you to research if you are interested.

What is really wonderful in this whole topic is that it isn’t just a few people telling you to think great thoughts, and then your life will change.  There is scientific proof that all over the world people are changing their mind and discovering changes in their bodies.  They are changing their habits, their environments, their life, and their body changes with them!

Now, why would any medical company, or pharmaceutical company, that depends on profits, ever want you to know about this?  It likely would not be good business.

marcusSo, our conquest over the genetic code is from within.  When you believe in yourself, when you strip away your limiting belief that we are just puppets on this earth and have no real power, you will be amazed at just what you can do!

I use this technique to manifest not only changes in my body, but changes in my life.  When I wish to manifest something I use the exact same process.  Dr. Dispenza says ‘ don’t get up from this visioning exercise until you feel changed’.  That’s what makes the vision an experience.  Once it is an experience, it is treated as though it is real.  When you mind creates something real, your body reacts as if it is real.

I’ll tell you how I manifested my dream of becoming a teacher after I abruptly left my old job in a future article.  It works!  Although it technically is science, it might just bend your perception about what science is, what is possible, and what is real!

whether-you-think-you-can-or-think-you-cant-you-re-right-119020-400-400

Awareness of the Hero Within

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Inside all of us is a strength that is uncovered typically through trial.  When we are put through a physical or mental strain, it tempered our body, is steels our mind, and we become stronger for it.  This strength is always there for us to call upon at any time we choose.  But more than that, our true self is stronger than we can imagine.  It holds all the answers we seek, and it can do see more than we can imagine.  How can we uncover and harness this powerful energy we all hold inside?  we simply need to become aware of it first.  This is a great start to the personal journey of awareness, or becoming conscious.  Some thought provoking questions around this are:

What is our core or spiritual goal in this life we lead?

To what end are we alive?

What do we want?

Why?

These are great questions to ponder, and there are many more that we can think of and that others have thought of that we can spend eternity striving to understand and contemplate on.  One of the quotes that stand out for me about contemplation and the act as it relates to how we live our life is from the movie The Last Samurai, when the character Katsumoto is talking to Nathan Algren, played by Tom Cruise: 

Katsumoto: The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.

blossomHere he explains that contemplation in Nature is a never ending quest, an always mystifying adventure where we continually learn and examine and question.  There are times however when we need to surrender in order to learn.  Surrender our idea of what is perfect, what is beautiful.  In the Tao Te Ching (I like this particular translation), a text written by Laozi (also Lao Tzu, etc), a philosopher in ancient China, it is written (Chapter 2, first line) that if we label something as beautiful, it can also become ugly.  Just the act of using words to explain what can not be explained is like trying to paint the Mona Lisa with a paint roller.  Our language is barbaric compared to the innate understanding of the mind to just accept what is.  Katsumoto understood this in his final moments of life when he spoke this words:

Katsumoto [With his dying breath]: Perfect… They are all… perfect…

My goal in life is for True Seeing.  I want to see what is real in life, not what my mind perceives based on the millions of layers of perceptions I have created since I was a baby.  I want to see with fresh eyes, listen with new ears, smell with a brand new tongue and l want to understand with no judgement, with no comparison, and simply settle with what is, in every moment.

Life-Journey-Carved-Stone-SIn my journey, it is more about surrendering, more about cutting the strings that I tied so precisely, so fastidiously, to my self from the agreements or beliefs that I made along my life to this point.  Every time I encounter a limiting belief, or an old tape that I play, is an opportunity to examine the validity of it.  When I learn to think critically and ask the meaningful questions about any one of the myriad of beliefs I created in my mind, what I find is that in the end there is no basis for them; and they begin to dissipate and dissolve away.  

antelope-canyon-arizona_usa_fullI liken it to water over stone.  Our beliefs and agreements we made since we were old enough to do so are so solid that they are represented by stone.  Water, being soft and flexible, is the new understanding we create when we become aware of our mind, aware of our thoughts, aware of the fact we are not that voice in our head, but much, much more than that.  If we keep pouring that water of awareness, of consciousness, of present moment on the rock solid agreements we made, the water will erode them.  How fast this happens depends entirely on how much water we pour and how quickly it runs and what kind of rock our beliefs represent.  Are your beliefs marble, or are they sandstone?

matrixSome of the ‘stand out’ moments of my journey to awareness come in the form of entertainment and Nature.  In 1999 I watched the movie The Matrix, where the leading character Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, is a computer programmer by day, computer hacker by night, that has a feeling there is more to life than is presented in front of him.  He senses something called ‘the matrix’ and he spends much of his time trying to find it.  The character Morpheus, played by Lawrence Fishburne, is the leader of the ‘awakened’ characters and he finds Neo, explains the existence of reality beyond the life Neo is experiencing in his day to day life, and welcomes him to see it.  In this line, he expresses a sentiment that we all know if true for every one of our journeys:

Morpheus: I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.

doors-twoLike all of us, we each need to walk through the door of awareness to start our journey.  When we can start to ‘see’ what is real, we can start to unlearn all that we have learned.  When we look at life with a full cup, as the Zen Buddhist saying goes, we have no room for any new information, any new perspectives or thoughts.  How can we appreciate anything that we may not understand if we label it with words, or compare it to other similar or different things?  We might gather information ‘about’ it, but we will never know it.  How can you know a tree?  How can you know a chair?  We can gather information about them, but we can not know anything but ourselves, and this is the biggest assignment of all: to know thyself.

My journey seems so large at times, so multifaceted, so huge, that it paralyses me into non-action.  It’s like a messy house: where do you start?  Then I tell myself: ‘You can actually start anywhere you like.  It doesn’t matter.’  That’s when I just stand up and walk toward the closest thing, and clear a space.  That’s one way of expressing how this journey of understanding, of enlightenment, makes my mind feel.  It clears mental space in my head to allow me to take in new information, new ways of thinking, and even to create new paradigms, like what is truly important in life.

When I have used my mental scissors of awareness to cut all of the strings attached to my old beliefs and agreements, and I have thrown out all the tapes of past learned behaviours, my cup will be empty.  In that emptiness, I think I might actually begin to see.  I may be able to really smell, listen, and taste the world, for the first time, without any preconceived notions.  That is my goal.

Naturally, as I create space, i am learning, so as the cup empties, I can fill it with new understanding.  As this progress, I am starting to see a new world.  

  • I see a new value in relationships with people
  • I have a greater understanding of my need to connect with Nature
  • I see the importance of listening with an open mind
  • I understand how all negative emotion is made in the mind
  • I acknowledge that we can control our mind by freeing it

Words are sometimes too crude of a medium to relay our feelings and thoughts to one another, and sometimes, they can get in the way of our senses.  I recall meeting a man in a social setting, and I immediate felt an overwhelming dark presence.  I disliked him for absolutely no reason (that I knew of).  As it turned out, he stole a vehicle of my friend and was a dark person.  When we can reconnect with our own senses, start to believe in our own power, we can tap in to what I call the Hero within.

let_it_begin__the_hero_within_by_eberlins-d4pdytrThis Hero, and it really is a hero [gender neutral], is the person we really are.  It is our true self.  In our lifetimes, we take up so many beliefs, and many of them unwittingly, many of them simply by following others in our family, friends, or people we trust.  These beliefs, however, can be limiting.  They can limit our thoughts by suggesting we do not question authority.  They can limit our physical ability, by telling us that the four minute mile is impossible to run.  They can limit our sense of what is important in life by telling us that material wealth is the pursuit of happiness.

The_Hero_Within__by_Pixel_EvoThe Hero within, defies all of these teachings, and believe me, there are many preachers of this type of doctrine around: from television, to newspapers, to entertainment, stories, history books, and so on.  The Hero within each and every one of us is there, waiting to be discovered.  It doesn’t have any limiting beliefs, it knows everything we desire to understand, and it can do anything we want it to.  It is truly a Hero of epic proportions!

When we start with awareness, we begin to see just where we are.  We start to understand what we are thinking and what we believe in at the moment.  A great way to move forward in our journey might be to simply ask our self questions.  

How do I view relationships in my life: with my partner, with my children, with my boss, with my neighbour, with strangers, with foreigners, with Nature, with myself?

Is this where I want to be?

In my journey, I surround myself with many books from enlightened people, I have profound, deep, meaningful conversations with important people in my life, and I continue to ponder, think, ruminate, and meditate, on where I am, where I want to go, and what my next step is.  Each time I step into old habits, or become unconscious while I run old tapes, or speak without thinking, it is an opportunity for examination, which usually leads to “Why the heck did I do that?”  Sometimes it was a role I played in my family, or it was a belief I held since middle school, or it was because that was what I learned in university, or picked up from peers in business.  In most, if not all cases, it turned out to be a belief that held me to a path that was not going where I wanted to go in life, and so I poured more water over it.  Eventually the stony habits of old will be cut down and I will be exposed to the world at my very core.

beach-waves_00405162I already feel it, the sensation of wave after wave washing the pebbles of my old beliefs down to nothing.  How refreshing to know that every day I live, my old beliefs diminish while my new awareness grows.  I don’t get disheartened when my growth seems slow either, like the Chinese Bamboo Tree, when there is no visible above ground growth for four years, only to grow 80 feet in six weeks in the fifth year.  When the focus of growth is in our foundation, our self, we have amazing potential!

hero backgroundMay you discover your own Hero inside.

 

EGO: Hero or Villain?

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Ford-Ac-Cobra-15704062013 New Maserati GranTurismo Sport Coupe and Convertible_3That car growls by me on the road and I stare at it, fantasizing about when I will be able to slip behind the wheel and feel the acceleration, the grip on the pavement as it purrs or growls depending on my mood.  The knowledge that all of the technology and prowess that is inherent in this vehicle is at my command, at any moment, should I wish to use it.  The fact that it may draw similar looks that I gave it when I saw it doesn’t hurt either.  It’s a good feeling, knowing that you have succeeded in today’s society enough to comfort yourself with a little of life’s luxuries.

To some, this is a subtle justification for the efforts we put in, to others, this is a gross misappropriation of funds, spent to mollify, or appease, the burgeoning Ego of the driver.

photo-2But, what is the Ego, and why do many people spend so much time telling us it is bad, bad, bad?  

It seems that the voice in our heads is actually our Ego talking to us.  The history of the word (etymology) suggests it may have been coined in the early 18th century, but it was likely Sigmund Freud’s use of the word in conjunction with the definitions of “Id” and “Super-Ego” that popularized the term.  In this context, the Ego was a go-between relating the impulsive, primal, Id with the self critical, socially conscious, Super-Ego.

What does that mean in plain language?  Simply it is the voice in our heads that decides between impulses and learned behaviour; specifically for the preservation of self.  We make decisions every moment of our life between what we ‘feel’, or our instinctual self, and what is socially proper, given our understanding, our personal agreements, and our beliefs.

This doesn’t sound evil or bad, but it does sound rather administrative.  Maybe that’s why it talks so much!  Let’s keep exploring…

ego+and+soulI feel that the term Ego is decidedly too shallow, or simplistic.  Do other parts of our body talk to us?  Does our heart have a voice to?  Can we stop listening to one over the other?  

There are aspects of the Ego that chose to focus on self preservation in a way that divides us from everyone else.  It wants us to rise above and dominate others.  This aspect of Ego is clearly for self aggrandizement, for the inflating of one’s own sense of entitlement or power over others.  I can clearly see the evil in that, but do we call that Ego too?

When we become aware of the voice in our head, Eckhart Tolle likens this to a reprieve, a sense of relief, when we understand that the voice is not truly who we are, but simply a voice to be contended with.  When we are aware of it, the sense of control that it used to assume dissipates, and accordingly, we are able to make decisions based on more factors than just instinct and social norms as pointed out by Freud.  We can start to appreciate new knowledge of how we are all connected to one another and this planet we live with.  When we see the Ego as simply an autonomous voice, do we still call it Ego?

When we start travelling down the road to self development, enlightenment, self awareness, I would hazard a guess that it is not done within the school classrooms of North America, but more typically after a life crisis and probably later on in life.  In my case it wasn’t until I was in my early forties.  I think I am very typical in this regard.  This is relevant because I believe we have many years of training, of previous reactionary thinking, of complete and utter unconscious behaviour that we need to contend with, and it’s a son-of-a-bitch at times to remain aware, especially if emotions are in play!

crisisIn these moments, the voice in our head tends to vocalize through our mouth, whether we like it or not, and we get ‘caught up’ in an event where we lack all awareness, or sense of the ‘big picture’.  But we can forgive ourselves, after all, we have been shaped that way for many decades!

Attention!!The way I see it, is that the voice in our head is a survival trait.  It has been there, and has obviously survived our evolution through to current year for a reason.  It works!  It gets us to safety when we need it!  Have you ever tripped on the road when a vehicle is coming?  There is a voice inside your head that says “Get UP!”…”NOW!”  And we get up and run to the edge of the safety of the curb just in the nick of time.  This self preservation voice is the primal and good aspect of our mind.  It is meant simply to preserve our life.

There is an aspect of our minds that likes competition, that enjoys winning, that loves positive achievement.  In winning, we see that we become superior to others, and we are more capable of surviving.  The dominance of others can be seen as a positive trait in the survival of the fittest, the Darwinian Theology.

It’s easy to see that depending on your viewpoint, on your perspective, the Ego can be seen as self centred and bad, or self centered and good for survival.  I think what has happened in this latest century is that we are living more and more in a safe environment, to simplify the comparison between now and, say, a few thousand years ago when living meant striving for survival.  In our society today, we don’t need to spend our mental energy on survival so much as striving for acceptance and ‘success’ within the ideology of the local country, or community, we choose to accept and live within.

egomaniac_guy_m-425x258Bearing this in mind, if we are not really aware of our Ego, our voice in our head, and simply react based on past automatic responses to stimuli, we may tend to be protectionist, self centred people.  Can you say “Selfie!” Our tendency is for survival, and these are the subconscious traits inherent from that perspective.  It’s not their fault, or ‘our’ fault (seeing as I was one of those people at one time), since this is also how our government and society like to train us.  We are taught to follow, yet those that forge ahead, or stand out, are sometimes the successful ones.  Those who are smart, tall, lean, have typical good looks, or perhaps speak well,are granted easy passage to the upper ranks of our western cultural community.  The Ego talks us in to either doing what we are told, or forging ahead when we see an advantage for us to do so.  That’s what it was designed to do, and it does it amazingly well.

In this role, the Ego doesn’t see a connection with other people, or the community, or the earth that we live with.  It doesn’t seem to recognize the powerful ability of joint effort, or working for the benefit of others, or for the greater good of the community.  What is this then?  Is this the opposite of Ego; the Alter-Ego? The Polar Ego?  The Ego-Opp?  How about this is the diminishment, the dissolution, or dissolving of the Ego?  It goes away when we think of cooperating, helping others, or doing something because it makes our core being feel nourished.

The word does not seem to have an opposite, which would make me think that it can’t be all bad for us.  I think it has it’s place, when we need to survive, or strive in a competitive environment.  We can, however, become so ingrained in this behaviour that it detracts fro our personality trait, and we become self centred in several aspects.  Awareness of our Ego, of this voice within our mind, is what can start a journey to allow or deny the actions or decisions our Ego suggests for us.  As we become more aware of why we feel a certain way, of why we desire to act in a certain manner automatically, we can start to redefine if that is the way we wish to continue.

we-are-all-connected-neil-de-grasse-tysonOnce awareness if brought in to our life, there is no un-seeing this; there is no un-listening to our voice.  We are firmly in a position to allow the act to take place, or to stop it, though stopping it, or correcting it, as we see fit, may take some time to undo all the programming we have had in our life.

Be grateful that your voice is indeed not all of you.  It’s just a voice, a rationalization of the primal urges with what we have learned is right or wrong.  Now that you can hear the voice, and you can simply watch it talk, you can explore the ‘whys’ and ‘foundations’ for it’s actions.

Get to know your Ego!  It just might be able to tell you a lot about yourself that you took for granted.

Here is a little poem I wrote for your amusement:

Oh the Ego!

You are in me and most other folk,
like a clever ungodly joke.
Oh how it torments me,
under my heavy, burdensome yoke.
Suddenly aware,
it’s nothing more than smoke.

ego

 

Strength in Vulnerability

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vulnerability2Many believe that exposing your vulnerable side is a sign of weakness.  That is simply not true when we look at relationships, which in my view, is the only aspect of life that means anything.  Always showing your strength can become boring, redundant, and one dimensional.  It blocks the flow of information that allows people to get to know you and keeps you isolated from everyone else.

When you are able to share a little bit of your vulnerable side, you open up a stream of knowledge to others that initiates understanding.  Their mind expands with putting the pieces that are ‘you’ together in their head, and often revealing something about you leads to others revealing more about themselves.

If you fear being vulnerable, you might want to ask yourself why?  Was there an event in your past that turned you away from sharing who you are?  There is nothing to fear about revealing who you are, especially if we do it authentically.

When we look at the Third Agreement “Don’t Take Anything Personally” [from The Four Agreements], we can share ourselves without wondering how others react about our feelings or vulnerable side.  It is who we are, and they can see it as precious, or not.  That makes no difference to us.  If they react with indifference or in a manner that is a poor reflection of their understanding of us, it is a reflection upon them, and not us.

When I see a person sharing sensitive information to me, or even showing a caring side to them that is not always visible, I start to see them in a new light.  Their persona starts to take on new dimensions; they become more whole in my eyes.

Someone who can share thoughts and feelings without feeling any less, any smaller, any weaker of a person, is stronger by far than one that shields themselves behind their perceived strength.

strong silent 2strong silentOur society has shown men as the strong silent types.  Not much has changed over the years either.  This is shown over and over again not only in dramatic pop culture movies, but even on the plethora of advertisements many people are subjected to every day.  When you see the typical societal images daily, no matter what you believe, it starts to seep in to your unconscious and it can start to make you feel uncomfortable to act differently from what your brain has perceived as the ‘norm’.

toni20/hdc/people/55/0019A character that I always personified strength of character was Richard Dreyfuss.  This was a man that was not afraid to show his feelings.  He held on to his passion, and he was passionate!  He didn’t care whether you believed in him, he was going to do what he wished, tell you about what he wanted to say, and he walked through life (in his typical characters on screen) not looking back.  That courageousness, that ‘what you see is what you get’ mentality is strength!

When we start to become aware of our feelings and thoughts and actions, however, we can become choosy in our acceptance of what we see, of what we tolerate, and what we decide to allow in to our lives.  We can appreciate the thoughts and feelings of others, and when we see it come forward from a stranger, their persona and character is emboldened with feeling and understanding, which can over time develop in to caring and trust.

quote-it-is-not-necessary-to-be-strong-in-every-place-if-in-the-place-you-are-vulnerable-you-are-loved-robert-brault-288623Above is a quote I found about Strength and Vulnerability, but I would go even further than this one to say that if we love ourselves, we can be vulnerable in every place, at any time.  We understand this type of person so much more than the characterization of what strength is in the media.

When I reveal how I feel, what I think, and share my passion with you, I am letting you in to my world a little more.  I don’t measure myself in how you take that information; that is yours to do with what you want.  But if you choose to understand me more holistically, as a person, then you will see my strengths and weaknesses together.

When you can appreciate me as a human being, with my own set of strengths and my own set of weaknesses, then you can see the dynamic range of my actions and thoughts.  You can start to appreciate me for who I am, and how I choose to interact with others, openly and honestly.  You will see that it takes a lot more strength, conviction and courage to be vulnerable than it does to remain shielded.

I wholeheartedly believe the world can become stronger by far if we all showed even a small part of our own vulnerability.  Won’t you help our society by showing some of your vulnerable side and not taking anyone’s reaction personally.  Just be you, it’s the best way to show your strength!

vulnerabilityShow me your vulnerability, and I will see your strength.

 

When the Child is the Hero

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dont-drive-drunkThis is what I KNOW I did right as a father.  I taught my son that no matter where he was, and no matter what time it was, I would ALWAYS come to get him if he has had anything to drink.  No questions, just a ride home.

Believe me, I have driven many miles out to the sticks, the woods, back country, and no man’s land, to get him.  It may be late, early, an unGodly time, or whenever, but I would go, or his Nan would go…someone would always pick him up.  He never went without, in that respect.  And he never took a ride from his friends.

The one time he did, it cost him.  They were driving too fast, and he wasn’t wearing a seat belt because he was sitting in between the two seats with seat belts.  As the small truck tried to negotiate a left turn at high speed, it hit a curb and flipped on the driver’s side, sliding toward oncoming traffic at about 100km/h.  My son was thrown down across the driver and as the driver’s door window shattered against the pavement, he threw his forearm down to brace himself.  His arm was torn with the sharp shards of glass, fused with sparks.  He was one lucky kid and his arm has the scars that will stay with him for life.  The driver and passenger were both fine, saved by seat belts.

That was a lesson of what could be.  Even though they weren’t drinking, they were all teenagers and they were cocky.

I don’t know if every teenager has a brush with death.  I bet they all do.  I did.  I drove too fast.  I slid many cars, some with entirely too much power, through intersections and around corners.  I drove so fast I probably doubled the travelling speeds of other vehicles and passed then in the right turn lanes along our highways.  I was the lucky one that never caused, nor was in, a collision, but I most certainly turned heads, had a few fingers tossed my way and disturbed the thoughts of many.  I was no hero then, I was the villain behind that wheel.

When I was young, years ago mind you, it was “NBD”, no big deal, to drive after drinking.  Everyone seemed to be doing it.  I recall being the most sober one driving me and my friends home.  We pulled over blocks from home to we could talk about our night, before we all forgot about it the next morning.  Then I drove the car home, to find a nightmare standing in the driveway, waiting for us to make it home.  

What’s the worst thing possible that a son could see standing at the top of the driveway when he’s done something wrong…and knows it?  His Dad.  No question.  Bring me the cops any time…just don’t make me face my Dad.  He said, as we walked inside with our heads down “You’re getting up when I am getting up, and I’ll be talking to your parents in the morning” as he faced each of us in turn.  

We were awake at 6am, sitting up straight on the couch, blankets folded.  He talked to us about what we did wrong and told us in no uncertain terms that…he would always be our ride.  Huh?  What was this?  He wasn’t getting all mad, we was giving us his services?  This made me think.  Was this a trick?  Nope, he was doing what was needed.  

He knew what he was talking about, too.  He had been a highway patrol RCMP member and had seen his share of highway deaths.  ‘The drunks always seem to be thrown from their cars and end up pretty fine’ he would say, ‘they never tensed up at the collision and sometimes were found far away from their vehicles.’  The sober ones were no so lucky, especially if a drunk driver caused the collision.  As mad as he was with us, he knew what he could offer as a parent.  He would offer us his services from that point forward.  I was too scared to refuse him, but after calling him from the drunk tank for a ride home at 2:00am, I realised that he cared for me, a lot.  There were no questions, so I had no explaining to do.  We just got home safe.

Dont-Drink-And-Drive-Sign-K-8676After that I always called him.  He or my mom would come and get me and I knew I had it good.  I didn’t have to worry any more about hitch-hiking home, or catching a lift with anyone, I had a built-in free taxi, and I used it.  My parent’s saved my life, and the lives of anyone I might of ran in to.  I’m sure of it.  My parents were my heroes, though I was too young to see the full spectrum of the service they gave me.

I sure see it now, as I am doing the same thing for my son.  

There is a sense of guilt that I drove so recklessly in my youth, not all the time mind you, but at times.  Adrenaline was a friend of mine, like it is to so many kids out there.  I understand, but there is no excuse.

I may have been a stupid teen myself, but I feel I have made some amends by teaching my son the value of giving someone a call when he is out, having a wobbly pop or two.

He has never made it home without calling someone, and we, as a team (Mom, Nan, Dad) have always risen to the occasion to get him.

That’s responsibility.  That’s what a hero sound like: asking for a ride home.  I’m a proud Dad right now as I just got home from picking him up, driving him and his friend home and coming back to my bed.  It may be 3:00am, but in my heart, it’s the best time in the world knowing he is safe and he never stops calling.  He may be 22 now, but he still calls, and that’s okay by me.

I love my son, and I know he listened to at least one thing I said.

Does Our Language Limit our Understanding?

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ovid1717-5Heroic though many poets and authors may be with our language, and the historic language of Shakespeare and Chaucer, it has it’s limitations.  I’m not speaking specifically about English, but all cultural languages.  These are sounds expressed by our mouths that form words and phrases that we have attached meaning to.  How can a single word, or thousands of words even ever convey the meaning of what the simplest object is?  We may be able to describe some aspects about the object, but to know it is ultimately impossible.  Do you know that flower?  Do you understand how it arrives at it’s pattern?  How it lives, The energy it gives off? It’s purpose on this earth?  How it is connected to Nature and everything else on this planet?

How then could you ever hope to convey the essence that is you to anyone else?  Our language is so primitive, it can only give us glimpses of lightness, shards of knowing, like the tip of a sewing needle.

094-limiting-wordsThe English language has just a few sounds, five vowels and 21 other consonants.  Even if you knew every word within the dictionary, could you ever hope to speak about who you are to another person?  If we can’t ultimately know anything about any object or person because of their divine connection to the field of creation, whatever that may be, then does the way we think limit us?

We think in our language, at least I do.  Perhaps you know many languages, and think in several at the same time, but those are just shades of the same idea.  Ultimately, I believe if we think in the language that was developed thousands of years ago, we are limited in our ability to understand the nature and essential qualities of every object we encounter, whether a stone or a person.

Think about it, if our consciousness is only about thought, and we think in the language that was developed thousands of years ago, with only minor changes to the present day, then how can we ever hope to gain real comprehension of our universe? Our surroundings? Our neighbour? One another?

One way, is to accept ‘what is’, knowing that we are limited in our ability to  understand, and that there is so much more that we just can not grasp mentally.  But we can feel!  We can grasp how an object feels to us, we can get a sense of the energy that it may be projecting toward us.  You know this when you meet a person and you get an immediate sense of either a ‘bad’ feeling or a ‘wonderful’ feeling toward them.  Something may draw you closer, or ward you away.  That is the energy field of their mind interacting with yours.

Heroes in movies will often be drawn to a certain place or a particular person, and they may not immediately comprehend why this is so, but they feel compelled to follow this desire.  This is an example of ‘knowingness’ that has no language attached.  There are no words to explain it, it is just a feeling.

shutterstock_147479798-415x260We have learned to leave the body and trust in the language, all through school and university, and business, but those of us that can sense, or that can open up to the idea of feeling, through all of the other sensory inputs we have in our body, have a greater understanding of the world we live in.

This is an idea that entered my mind just yesterday.  I simply thought, how can I describe something using such an old tool as language?  How can I hope to understand something so complex as the connectedness of all things, if I am still using the equivalent of a hammer and chisel to carve on tablets of stone, when the reality is sensations delivered by the universe?  There is just no comparison.

I would be interested in your insights.  Do you feel, or get sensations from those people in your life?  Are you drawn to locations, people, events?  How much do you rely on language to get across what you ultimately mean?

The reality is that we need to use language to communicate with most people, but there may be subtle ways that we can learn to communicate without language that we simply have not yet explored.  If we are so stuck on language as the ‘end all, be all’, then why would we ever look beyond that?

I am suggesting that it may be worth a look.  Some investigation.  Stop talking and start feeling.  What happens then?  I’m not really sure, but I’m going to give it a shot.  I’m going to start using my senses more to gain what I can from my environment, which includes the people I may interact with.  Can you sense the mood of your partner before they speak?  I sometimes feel I have a deep sense of connectedness with mine.  Sometimes I even feel it at my apartment while she is at hers, and either can sense joy or unhappiness when I wake up for no apparent reason.

Nothing may happen for some time, since, let’s face it, we haven’t even entertained the idea before!  Give it some development time and see what happens.  I would be very interested if any of you that are reading this have any progress.

I will enjoy the idea of using all of our senses, whatever they may manifest in you and I, along with our languages, in order to communicate how we feel to other people.  May your relationships grow in depth and understanding, for that is what makes our lives rich and our tapestry of experiences colourful.  I am excited to see what happens!

We Are Responsible

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article_angryWe’ve all experienced a bad or negative thought, emotion, or feeling and we often attribute it to an outside influence, like the guy who cut us off in traffic, the person who nudged your elbow to spill your coffee, or the rain outside that changed your good mood in to a somber one.  What we don’t often realize is that absolutely every negative thought that we entertain in our mind and the associated chemistry that it produces to spark emotions that give us feelings are entirely self manifested.

That’s right, we create all of our own issues.  All of them.

From as simple as the weather, to as serious as being a victim in a collision, we are responsible for all of the negative thoughts we produce in our mind.  We have expectations for the weekend to be nice weather, so we can do all the things we desire, but when it rains we feel let down.  It didn’t match our expectations, as if the weather gods decided to stop listening to you, or that there are weather gods, or that there is any kind of mechanism that takes your specific thoughts and desires in to account and gives you alone what you desire.

We expect everyone to be as aware as we are when we drive on the road, but when inattention or foolish driving by some other party causes a collision with us, we get upset.  Our desire for our own future expectations and the lack of the fulfillment of that path creates our suffering.

Whatever-the-present-moment-containsBut, what if we did not put so much effort into thinking about the future, the future vision for ourselves?  What if we were able to think only about the now, the present moment, and give up our expectations for all the things we have absolutely no control over?  Would we still cringe at the rain, or would we instead notice that it is raining?  Perhaps we could even start to think about how much the earth requires rain in order for it to continue the cycle of life; how necessary it is for our own life to continue.  Would we be so dour then?

If we were driving in our own car and were hit by a vehicle that ran a red light, would we be instantly angry still?  Perhaps the other person had a heart attack and passed out before they could control their vehicle, maybe their brakes failed, or they simply got caught, like we all do at some point, missing the signal because we had so much on the brain.  We are fallible beings and are not perfect.  To expect perfection with thousands of other vehicles passing by us, sometimes just inches away, as we walk, cycle, or drive, is simply not realistic.  A collision is just a matter of time; ask any insurance statistician.

wakeupcalligraphy-300x231Do you have expectations for your children to perform like you would in their life choices?  Maybe they are even adult siblings by now and you continue to set goals for them.  Can we let this attachment go?  Can we enjoy every moment we have with them now, right now, before we leave this world?  Is it morbid to think of death when we have no idea when it may come, or is it better to think about it and realize we ultimately have no control over any life but our own.  Life is inherently unstable, and we do our best to control many aspects of it.  Sometimes we get so good at it that we are used to everything going according to our own plan.  But, when the time comes, we don’t really have any control, over the weather, other drivers, our children’s behaviour, or even our time to depart this earth.

Why then do we suffer over so many of these things we have no control over?

Let’s think about the commercials we see on TV.  Got weeds?  Control them with this weed killer.  Got insects, kill them with this product.  Kids doing poorly in school, try this service.  Feeling bad these days, try this pill.  Do you have some sort of ‘lack’, then let me fill that sense of lacking with an item, a service, a product that I will give you at such a bargain price!  Television advertisements are creations from professionals that understand the psyche of the mind well, and will create thousands of stories of lack to make you feel insecure.

present-moment-wonderful-momentWe grow up in a culture of insecurity.  The news channel tells us about all the killings, drugs, natural disasters and war efforts going on all over the world, but what about your neighbourhood?  How has your neighbourhood changed over the past five years?  Is the corner grocer still there?  Are your neighbours still around for the most part?  Have you gotten to know them by name?  Is there a war in your community, or starvation, or a disaster to be aware of.  If there is, you would know and deal with it as we all would, but what does knowing about every disaster in our country and the world do for our feeling toward our neighbour?  Does it make you feel suspicious of them?  Do you tend to keep to yourself?  Do you stock up on canned goods and feel the need to be prepared for all natural disasters?

There is a degree of preparedness that is helpful and beneficial for all of us to take note, like emergency preparedness, knowing who to call, perhaps 9-1-1 in your neighbourhood, and fire escapes out of buildings we work in, but the mental pounding our minds receive by watching television broadcasts like the news or advertisements will eventually find a way to create a sense of lack in you.

here2For the most part, aside from natural growth and fairly simple events like fires and collisions, my community is the same community I grew up in.  We are all experiencing the same intellectual growth as a community and with technology, but it essentially has very similar laws, freedoms (perhaps even more) and available services and food as it did when I was born here.  You might even be able to say there is more available to the average person now than before; naturally there are trade-offs like in most cities, but I am talking broad stroke comparisons all else being equal.

Does it fulfill your life somehow by knowing the many negative events of the world?  Can you get the same local information from being more involved in your local community?

There are steps we can all take to make our minds cultivate a more balanced perspective of the environment in which we interact daily.  That’s what really matters to most of us, and the relationships we have.  I don’t know if you could call that being heroic in character or not, but I tell you, I want to live in a community where people know my name and say hello, where we all tend to the garbage on the sidewalk, where my neighbour asks for some help, where community events inspire activism by all the residents, where people don’t judge everyone, where people live in the present moment and reduce their own suffering.  Sharing a smile while walking down a path or sidewalk is a great way to inspire positive thoughts and social networks of positive attitudes.

present-moment-gregory-smithUltimately, when the hooded scythe bearing menace comes for our bodies, what will you wish you had done or said?

Do or say it now.

My Year With Meditation

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Wow.  It’s been a whole year already!

gift-of-meditationWhen I met my current girlfriend just over a year ago, we soon found out that we were both deep thinkers of life.  One of the best gifts she ever gave me was the gift of meditation.  She shared with me several guided meditations that featured Deepak Chopra and Oprah targeting Perfect Health about this time last year.  I remember walking on my breaks listening to them through my phone.  I loved how they started with a message of what to focus on, gave some Sanskrit words and a mantra to repeat, then spent about ten minutes with beautiful background music.  While I was walking, I came to see the plants and trees and wonderful landscape where I live with a certain awe, while trying to repeat the mantra over and over.  I recall that the first few times I listened and  tears flowed from my eyes.  I was witnessing beautiful, beautiful moments!

if-you-kiss-hermindAfter she shared a number of these meditations with me, we would listen to them together when we had some down time.  We both listened to them in the morning and during the work day as well.  I would text her thoughts that they conjured up for me and we would discuss the deeper meanings they had in our own lives.  This brought us closer together and it was the start of my mental transformation.

There are a few things that meditation brought in to my life.  First, was that it made my relationship stronger; second, it gave me time to reflect on my own life, whatever the focus of that particular meditation may be. Third, it started my mind thinking about other aspects of my life that I could improve.  It prepared me to become more aware internally of my thoughts and how these thoughts were manifesting my future and my state of being. Fourth, it gave me a way to cope with difficult times that were about to occur.

Mediation was the building block for my journey to self awareness.  It was where I started.  It stimulated discussions in my mind that brought about thoughts of ‘self’, of enjoyment, of what I was doing in my career, or my personal relationships.  It also made me slow down and digest the thoughts I was having throughout the day.  I like the term to digest your thoughts.  I feel we need time to digest some of the issues, complaints, problems, and even the good things that come in to our life, just like food.  If we don’t give our stomach time to digest, we soon  find out that there are consequences.  The same is true for our personal life, though we rarely connect the two.

I’m going to tell you a little about where I was mentally and physically a year ago when I started meditation, then a little about the issues that happened through the year, and how I used meditation to handle the situations, and finally I will tell you about where I am now.  I will leave you with ways you can start on a similar path if you wanted to explore it, for free, just like I did.

21DMC_MBO_out.inddThe first thing that comes to mind for me about how much I have transformed is my body.  Normally one wouldn’t think that meditation wouldn’t have anything to do with body transformation, but as I said earlier, it is the foundation of my entire self care routine.  It is one of the key components of my healthy living practice that I have designed through the year, and enjoy today.  I am six feet tall and I used to weigh in at around 255 pounds (116kg).  That’s about 40 pounds over a good weight for me, since I have some good size muscles nestled under all that fat.  A year ago I sat at a desk all day long and felt unchallenged at the work I was doing.  I had been in the same position for many years and my brain needed something to work on that would make me think.  None of this was good for my health.  I’ll spare you the image of my fat belly.  You can all picture it.  It is all around us when we walk in a mall…

WalkingThe first thing that meditation did was get me out walking on my breaks.  I looked forward to listening to this blissful message each time, and combining it with an activity that made associative memories for me.  I enjoyed walking and listening to them so much that I did it several times a day, usually listening to one meditation several times through the day, not advancing to the next one until the next day.  Each day I would think about the message, and how it compared to how I thought in my own life.  It gave my mind the stimulation it needed to work on my self.  I was truly starting to feel wonderful, challenged, and a sense of adventure or journey started to take hold.  This time the journey and meaning was all internal; it was all for me.  I was excited!

This excitement self development drew me closer to this wonderful person that became my girlfriend, the person that I have loved more deeply than any other person in my life.  Naturally she was a person very in shape, so that also motivated me to get my butt in motion and get fit!  Meditation, however, helped me focus on what I wanted, made me keep my vision of who I wanted to be and helped me get close to my goal.  I look much better than I did last year with just a small belly to contend with.  I will get my high school six pack back soon!

u can get through thisMeditation also helped me deal with rough times in having a new relationship.  You see, I had dated but had not been with a woman for more than a few months for many years.  This was not only a test for me, but also for “J”, whom I will call my girlfriend.  Neither of us had dealt with being in a relationship for some time and we started getting a bit caught up in thoughts of the future and “What do I do now?”.  The best advice we ever gave ourself was to stay in the present moment.  No matter what happened between us, we would enjoy our time together.  That sentiment alone saved us from our self!  Meditation helped us stay in the present moment by quieting our minds, allowing us to digest the issues of the day and process thoughts.

J had a family trauma within a few months of us dating and I knew that I needed to give her room to process this event.  Listening to the meditations allowed me the time to process what my role was in this event.  It was to be a solid source of quiet strength, to give her room, and to always be available to listen.  That got us though and allowed us to move forward.

platoThe next event happened to me.  I found myself leaving my job over a disagreement with management.  I knew I didn’t like it anymore, but neither of us (J or I) anticipated it coming to a climax so soon.  It took me by surprise, and her too.  I needed to find my way through this sudden change of events and find my inner strength.  I wavered and fell in to some old habits of separating myself from people while I went through my own internal struggle, and it was hard for her to cope with my old strategy too.  However, I came out of it wiser for it, seeing that my old habits served nobody, especially others who cared for me.  Meditation waned during this time and I truly missed it!

We went away to Mexico together where we were both able to enjoy the surroundings, but we both had unfinished business that needed to be dealt with.  I helped her stay in the moment and reflect positively, and she shared excellent advice with me.  We grew deeper by asking ourselves deep questions about our relationship.  Meditation, although not a big part of our moments together then, was a big part of picking up the pieces when we returned.

I knew I needed a new career path and resolved to move away and look for work in other cities.  In doing so I felt I had a direction in my life and starting cycling, exercising, and performing lots of self care, with meditation returning big time.  I needed the path of self development in my life, and I wanted to share the self development journey with others and especially with J.  She also wanted that, and although our relationship stumbled a few times, the very fact that we were each able to pick our self up, dust ourselves off, and seek positivity and health over old patterns impressed both of us. We had a renewed vigor in our shared journey.

vancouver_jog(2)By this time it was late Spring 2014 and I was well on my way to feeling fantastic, and learning about how powerful my mind was.  One of my biggest influences was meeting Dr. Joe Dispenza in person at the “I Can Do It Vancouver 2014″ conference put on by the publishing company Hay House.  After doing some research, watching a lecture he did, seeing the movie “What the Bleep do we Know” a few times, and reading his book “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”, I felt pretty close to his method of changing your mindset to bring in more of what you desire, and less of what the old patterns create in your life.  Meditation was a big part of that.

Dr. Dispenza would remark, before getting out of bed every day, spend time envisioning what the very best version of yourself could be that day, and don’t get up out of bed until you believe that whatever that vision is, truly is you’

I would do this.  He even suggested that you can manifest your destiny by meditating on a desired outcome until you think, and create within your mind, the fine details of whatever it is that you want in your life.  For me, I needed a job.  While I was working hard trying to find a job in my traditional are of expertise, a local college inquired if I would consider teaching. I had several interviews that I thought were good jobs, but this was one position I thought was perfect: teaching.  I took his methods to heart and every day I would picture myself as a professor, talking to my students, taking pictures of the faces of my graduates, and having a ‘wall of graduates, in my home to look upon and be proud of.  I thought of every aspect of my day until I felt I was living it in my head…it became an experience.

After using these meditative techniques I was soon offered a position with a local college.  This was a dream come true that I truly manifested, believed in, and achieved, by creating the mental environment that paralleled that life path.  When you picture it so clearly, it starts to become an experience, this is an upgrade to just thoughts.  Having your mind experience it, creates emotions and feelings as if it already happened.  In doing so, it attracts more of the same.  Thus, my position came to me; really it did, I didn’t even have to seek it out!

When I started university in the 1980’s, I had a strong desire to be a P.E. and Geography teacher.  I took geography, but not teaching, not really sure of exactly where I wanted to go.  Now, my dreams are being realised and I feel so connected to every small event in my life, and meditation, mental imagery, and processing thoughts in my clear mind has changed who I am as a person.

I am happy every day to look outside and realise I live in paradise.  It seems the sun is always shining and I hear the chirping of the birds, see the vast forest we live in from the hilltops, love and cherish every moment with J to the utmost ability.  We share a deep and loving relationship that is no longer fearful, but shares many deep qualities that we keep defining, and learning from.  We keep sharing our joint lessons and love to see the other person succeed in whatever we may desire for ourselves.

2014-07-28 11.40.25-1This life would not be possible without starting my journey to self awareness through meditation.  That allowed me to gradually understand what my thoughts were doing.  Made me see how to understand the issues I created for myself.  Helped my slow down and see the truth of matters, and stop listening to my stories of what might be happening.  I could simply observe what I was thinking, separating myself from the mind that was doing the thinking, and then I would evaluate it, like a teacher listening to a student.  Eventually it became a natural process of being.

The gift of meditation can also be yours.  This gift, that I was given, can be enjoyed by you, for free.  All it takes is your time.  If you simply want to grow closer to yourself, which is a great place to start, then it is a perfect way to learn about what you think about, and offers new perspectives on many topics.  Here are two immediate ways where you can start your journey:

  1. The Global Meditation For Peace event, August 8th, 2014.  They are hoping to create a Guinness world record for the most people meditation at one time.  Join this event for free and become part of it!
  2. Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21-day free meditation experience.  This one is themed Expanding Your Happiness.  This was the same 21-day meditation that started it all for me, though mine was themed Perfect Health at that time.

Come and start your own journey.  I challenge you to learn more about your self.  It can take you on the adventure of your life!  Can you imagine what being around like minded souls would be like?  No more personal suffering, no more unrealistic expectations, much, much more joy, and peace, and happiness being transferred among so many people!

It’s also a great thing if you can find a person to share your thoughts with.  It doesn’t have to be your spouse or loved one if they are not yet ready to start their journey.  Ask around, find a friend you can share your thoughts with.  Ultimately, if you can share the journey with your life partner, I feel that it can have the power of creating bonds of lasting strength.

This is not unrealistic.  If you want to change the world, you CAN…simply by shifting YOUR perspective, and meditation is a wonderful way to take your first step.

~Namaste

What Do You Do?

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What-do-you-doThis is a typical line asked my so many people when someone is introduced to a new person. Or it may even be shorter “What do you do for a living?” But why do we ask it?  It seems that whenever I am introduced to someone new, that’s the first thing they ask me.  But what I do has very little to do with who I am, even if I actually loved my work (which I do).

Are we looking for something in common with that person, so we can start to talk about what we may perceive as shared experiences or interests?  If we are, why doesn’t the conversation drill down to that level after we answer it?  Are we looking for some people that we might both know?  Do we want to categorize that person, so we can feel some sense of comfort.  Labelling someone eases the mystery because they are now in a category; defined and sorted.

Do we want to find out if they make a lot of money?  Have a better job than we do?  I don’t think most people are really conscious about why they ask it, it’s just a very easy question to answer.  But what if they don’t work?  Are we putting them on the spot, or making them feel bad for not conforming, or by being in a situation where they are our of work?  What if they choose not to work, or can afford to stay home and take care of their children?

WhatDoYouDo2What does it matter anyway?  We are trying to get to know someone new, right?  So why do we ask what they do, as if that somehow defines who they might be?  How many people are in jobs they despise?  Many.  How many people would like to change jobs, if they could?  So many.

A recent news article in The Guardian indicated that 75% of people in their 20s and 30s did not use work as a descriptor when asked ‘Who they were’.  Instead they would emphasize narratives on personal growth.  That’s a shift in how populations in North America have defined themselves.

Hmm, so why don’t we ask a more revealing question?

I propose several alternatives.

“Do you have a life passion?”

“What are some of your interests?”

“What might you be defined by?”

“How would you introduce yourself to a stranger?”

“What is your 30 second description of self?”

“Have you ever tried meditation?”

“What is your favourite colour?”

“If you could do what your heart desires, what would that be?”

Or we could trying sharing a bit about who we are before the big question, like” Hi, my name is Paul, I am an unpublished author, self improvement junkie, avid hiker and cyclist, and deep thinker about life.  Who might you be?”

you-are-more-than-what-you-doI am just trying to find some different ways of saying something easy that will both stimulate a response and tell me more about who the person is.  What do you ask people when you first meet them?  What would you like to know about someone right away that is widely appreciated and acceptable to ask?  What would you wish people asked you?

How you might answer that question probably say more about how you might frame the story that is your life more than the person asking it.  Perhaps you could pause, and when the attention is on you, you could calmly and with sincere intention, give them the version of who you really are and what is meaningful to you.  I’m sure this might give them pause, or be more than they really intended, but they will get a more truthful answer to their question!

Something to think about the next time you are introduced to someone.  What will you say?

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