What You See…

Is What You Are …

“What you meet in
another being
is the
projection of your own evolution.” ~ Ram Dass

Projection is a term used in psychology – usually referring to aspects in the self which are undesirable – yet we react strongly and very judgmentally when we see them in someone else.

But Ram Dass isn’t only agreeing with that – What about the aspects of self that we do not recognize in ourselves, yet we admire in others? 

Can those aspects be about us, too?

Absolutely. 

When I read a statement like, “See the best in others, then you can start seeing the best in yourself.”, I flinch. I disagree. 

I think that the only way that could work is if you understood “projective identification”. Otherwise, we tend to compare ourselves with others and judge ourselves as coming up short. We actually feel worse about ourselves.

On a more positive note ->

What if – when you admire a trait in someone else – you KNEW it meant that you,too, held that exact trait? Perhaps the trait was suppressed for some reason, but it is your nature anyway – Your birthright!

My beautiful cousin, Catherine, is a good example. Her mother, also very physically attractive, shamed Catherine when she caught her admiring herself in the mirror.  She called it “vanity”, and the way she scorned her left no doubt that such an act  (looking at herself) was a very “bad” thing.  Catherine never allowed herself to feel pride in her physical beauty… i n fact, she learned to abhor this God-given gift,  causing her to slump her shoulders, and shying away from any attention.

Yet, privately, and from afar,  she admired women who shared their beauty unabashedly – “Mary Poppins”,  Catherine Hepburn,  “Charlie’s Angels“… she felt a longing to be free from the fear of drawing attention to herself!

When I see a loving being…  I now know that I,  too,  am a loving being!  When I see an assertive female,  I know that I,  too,  can stand up for myself!

Namasté – …

The   (beautiful, smart, loving, assertive)  spirit in me…   recognizes  and  honors  the Spirit in You”

How IT All Began….

img_0914How to eliminate war for one human being: You!

Worth reading – from Off the Web! (edited for readability)

“Hurt feelings or discomfort of any kind cannot be caused by another person. No one outside me can hurt me. That’s not a possibility.”

Someone asked Katie:

  • What’s the best way for someone who has suffered – such as a child who was beaten or a person who was raped – to make sense of this philosophy?

Katie: Identify and question what they were believing in that cruel situation as it was happening.

When children (or adults, for that matter) believe the thoughts they are thinking during and after a painful event, they suffer. It is not the painful event that causes their suffering once the event is over; it is their thoughts about the event.  This is hard for some people to hear, but if you take a closer look, it is obvious. The event is in the past; the thoughts are in the present – thoughts of shame, anger, humiliation, depression, unworthiness, resentment, and so on – and it is only in the present that we live.

Children have no way to question these thoughts, so they can’t help but suffer over them. It’s not their fault that they suffer. They just don’t know that suffering comes from believing our painful thoughts. This is why without inquiry, it’s so difficult to overcome a trauma during and after the fact.

The things that upset us will stay with us as long as we still believe what we were believing in that situation.  Whether in childhood, or yesterday – time doesn’t matter. Inquiry can break the spell.
The Work is not a philosophy. It’s a way that will let you discover that all suffering has been a misunderstanding.

  • Should a person ignore or glide over such things?

I was never able to do that. The way I became free was by not ignoring or gliding over such things. I had to face them, to look back on those terrible and seemingly unjust situations that I suffered as a child, and as an adult, to write them down and question the thoughts I had at the time. I had to travel back and to see in my mind’s eye that situation, no matter how terrible it was, and to fill in a ‘Judge-Your-Neighbor’ Worksheet. I had to fill out one Worksheet for each situation. I do this by remembering as much as possible of what I was seeing, feeling, thinking, and believing in those moments. I used to suffer when those images would arise in my mind, and now I don’t. In fact, all those old memories bring a sense of compassion, freedom and gratitude, and never suffering.

Of course you should suffer when you remember your those situations –  since you are believing your thoughts.
Our children learn fearful and angry beliefs from us, and they, like us, have no choice but to live what they believe. What are we teaching through our own negative, fearful beliefs?

My job is to end the injustice in my world, the war inside me, and that has made the world a better place, since there is one less violent, angry person in the world now.

If I am at war with reality, I’m continuing in myself the very thing that I want to end in the world. A sane mind doesn’t suffer. Through inquiry, you can begin to eliminate war for one human being: you.

For more information on The Work of Byron Katie, go to TheWork.com

If you wrote it Autobiography, What Would the Chapter Titles Be?

What links your life together?

Start with ten.  (This is one of the assignments I frequently give my clients.)

You can choose life events, demographics, influential people you’ve known, talents, even “aHa” moments.

Mine might be:

  1. Born female, in the USA, to a progressive, liberal mother.
  2. “Abandoned” at four years old (for a year).
  3. Abused by my stepfather, resulting in their divorce.
  4. Moved, age 10, from a middle-class neighborhood to poverty neighborhood. I was suddenly a “minority”.
  5. My mother worked 18 hours a day, so my siblings and I raised ourselves.
  6. Growing Up in the 70’s.
  7. Studied spiritual philosophies, finding an affinity with Christian, Buddhist, and Taoist ideas.
  8. Became a mother of twin boys.
  9. Started my own business as a psychotherapist.
  10. Killed a person in a car accident.

(Wow! I just did that off the cuff! Very powerful!).

Next, you fill in the chapters. What about (That) affected you? What characteristics were created because of ________? You might ask yourself:

  • How did ____ influence you?
  • What did you discover about yourself?
  • What did you have to learn to overcome?
  • How did ______ wound you? Strengthen you?
  • Define your gratitude for these occurrences/events

Using one of mine as an example:

Yes, I killed a person in a car accident.

  • I discovered that life can change – drastically- in an instant. And in THAT particular instant, I didn’t even know it. For a long time, I’d have terrible dreams, I’d have flashes of people appearing in the road before I could do anything about it… I struggled with my connection to God (I’d like to have made it through my life without killing someone).
  • I discovered that I loved and understood myself, even if society didn’t. I confirmed my value of always telling the truth, as I knew it, and that I continue to do what I think is right – even if others disagreed (I wrote to his family against the advice of my attorney, who thought such an act would be misinterpreted as guilt).
  • I had to learn to live with knowing most people would make up stories about me that weren’t true (“she must have known!”, “She must have been drinking!”).  I had to overcome needing people to understand me.
  • I will always have this heavy burden in my soul.
  • I am grateful for the people in my life that tried to help me. I’m grateful to learn that other peoples  opinions of me no longer affects what I think of me.

 What have been the greatest influences in your life? What ties your life all together?

 

How to Live IGNITED!

rob-sonja-_3-1-001

“Your beliefs about people – that’s who you believe them to be.

That’s what’s meant by “no one exists”.

Because who you believe them to be isn’t who they are. That’s why they don’t exist.

Instead, you are getting a glimpse of your own ego. And when you meet the power of that, and when the power of that moves to another polarity…you can drop the word power. 

It’s like living ignited.

And it’s nothing more than being aware of your internal life, and knowing what’s true, and what’s not. What that leaves is the great surprise. And all you can know about it is its nature, so you begin to live a fearless existence. “

– Byron Katie, TheWork.com

“Good To Be Alive Today” 

Amazing video… Click the link, then read the lyrics HERE

It’s Good To Be Alive Today!

“Everyday I wake up and turn my phone on. I  read the news of the day, just as it’s coming down.  I do my best not to let it get me down.  I try to keep my head up, but it’s  Babylon.  This world’s in crisis, we try to fight it, this changing climate.  The scientists and politicians divided by it.  So many ways we could solve it but they would never sign it.   This mountains tumbling down, but still we try to climb it. 

It’s in the Torah, Quran and in the Bible:   

Love is the message. 

It’s come to people always picking up their rifles.   Another school getting shot up – it’s homicidal. 

Some people trying to fly, some people trying to get high. Some people losing their mind, some people trying to get by.   And when you look in my eyes, you see the sign of the times.   We’re all looking for the same thing. 

But what if this song’s number one… Would it mean that love had won? Would it mean that the world was saved?   And no guns are being drawn today?

What if everybody had a job?

And nobody had to break a law?

What if everyone could say…

“That it’s good to be alive today
Oh, Is it good to be alive today…    Oh… Is it good to be alive today.

People used to feel safer when they would hear a siren.   Like help is on its way but now they only think of violence. Another youth in the streets and police are in a conflict.   And now they hear the guns click.Ebola crisis and ISIS is taking heads off.     A drone is bombing a village and now the kids all signing up to be soldiers, all willing now to do the killing now, now are you willing now?

Some politicians out there making up some problems,   and trying to tell the people that they can solve them. 

With TV shows and soundbites and quotes.  But everybody knows that it’s all about the cash flow. 

They telling you and me, they’re making progress.   But tell it to the millions of jobless. 

It’s like a players club with billions of dollars.  to get the votes you got to make it rain in congress. 

Some people trying to fly, some people trying to get high

Some people losing their mind, some people trying to get by

And when you look in my eyes, you see the sign of the times

We’re all looking for the same thing…

But what if this song’s number one

Would it mean that love had won?

Would it mean that the world was saved?

And no guns are being drawn today?

What if everybody had a job?

And nobody had to break a law?

What if everyone could say

That it’s good to be alive today

Oh… Is it good to be alive today.

And we all say: One day, we all will say
That it’s good to be alive today

One day, one day

One day, one day

One day, we all will say

That it’s good to be alive today”

https://vimeo.com/168031157

One Trick to Learn To Relax

inhaledreamstime_14582420
Here’s a  visualization I use in relaxation meditation exercises:

Inhale … as the ocean  rushes out to sea…

Exhale … as the water topples over, creating a wave…

See the regular rise … and fall … of the ocean’s water.

This beautiful rhythm reminds me of the breath of Life.

Can you feel it?

Mindlessness Versus Mindfulness

Ellen Langer and mindfulness

Ellen Langer studies the Science of Mindlessness and Mindfulness. She asserts that the idea of being in the moment doesn’t feel very instructional because when we are not in the moment we don’t notice. Same with the idea of being present.

Instead, Ellen suggests “noticing.”

As children we have a very instinctual, natural way of noticing things and people. Then they begin to teach us that these things are called names and then they give us their opinions about them which we take as being the facts, or the truth.

Our Experience of Everything is Formed by the Words and Ideas We Attach to Them

Dr. Langer’s take on mindfulness has never involved contemplation or meditation or yoga. It comes straight out of her provocative, unconventional studies, which have been suggesting for decades what neuroscience is pointing at now: our experience of everything is formed by the words and ideas we attach to them. What makes a vacation a vacation is not only a change of scenery — but the fact that we let go of the mindless everyday illusion that we are we need to be in control. Ellen Langer has shown it’s possible to become physiologically younger through a changed frame of mind; and to find joy in what was experienced as drudgery by renaming it as play.

But if you go home tonight and pretend you don’t know anything, no words, no concepts, you will experience a new level of being alive! My husband and I did this for fun the other day. We looked at our houseplants with as few concepts as we could muster. Suddenly the various colors (of green) became vivid. The textures were also alive.  The light danced on the leaves, revealing various twists and bends, shine and mute-tones. It was amazing.

As we evolve, we eventually have the wisdom that there are different ways of looking at things yet our personal way of looking at things remains somewhat constant. When we become aware that there are different ways of looking at things, she calls it “awareness of uncertainty.”

Awareness of Uncertainty

Ellen suggests that we look at uncertainty in two ways – there is personal uncertainty and universal uncertainty.  

Personal uncertainty is “I don’t know – maybe you know” or “I don’t know and I’m gonna pretend I know.”  These are ways of organizing and stabilizing the universe.

Universal uncertainty is “I don’t know you and you don’t know me. In fact in some ways we can’t ever know.” 

From a place of universal uncertainty the conversation proceeds very differently. For example if you do something and I look at it in a kind of a mindless way I’m going to resort to my personal uncertainty and I’m going to think that I know your motives and make all kinds of conclusions about why you did what you did and whether not it meets my approval.

From the universal perspective I can’t know what you did or why you did it, but I can know that, for you, given your life, it makes sense for you, from your perspective. From here ask yourself “why would a reasonable, logical person do such a thing?”

Ellen Langer is a social psychologist who some have dubbed “the mother of mindfulness.” But she defines mindfulness with counterintuitive simplicity: the simple act of actively noticing things — with a result of increased health, competence, and happiness. Her take on mindfulness has never involved contemplation or meditation or yoga. It comes straight out of her provocative, unconventional studies, which have been suggesting for decades what neuroscience is pointing at now: our experience of everything is formed by the words and ideas we attach to them. What makes a vacation a vacation is not only a change of scenery — but the fact that we let go of the mindless everyday illusion that we are we need to be in control. Ellen Langer has shown it’s possible to become physiologically younger through a changed frame of mind; and to find joy in what was experienced as drudgery by renaming it as play.

DR. LANGER: I don’t think you can make a decision that I’m going to be present. What does that mean? People who tell you to meditate assume that over time,  you will become “present”.

But if you’re actively noticing things, you’re going to go home tonight and if you live with somebody, notice five new things about that person. Be very specific. What will happen is the person will start to come alive for you again. And that will improve the relationship.

Article Sources:

Mindlessness and Mindfulness – On Being with Ellen Langer

Ellen Langer and Mindfulness -Harvard

Books by Ellen Langer