How Get The Most From Your Life!

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Dreaming Into The Life You Want Most

Will Give You The Most

 

discipline

What Do You Want In Your Life?

It might feel a bit uncomfortable to become “conscious”  of what you want the most from life, but Not knowing might land you somewhere else.

Dreaming Into The Life You Want Most Will Give You The Most!

The greater the clarity of your dreams, the more likely you’ll make choices along the way that honor your vision. The following instructions will help you get started.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Where do You want to see yourself in 6 month? … 2 years? … 5 years?  Try to visualize yourself in the future.

Imagine walking into your home five – ten years from now…

Imagine arriving at your home –  where is it located?  Is it a house, an apartment…?…

Walk in the front door. Who lives with you?…

Reflect on your day. What was it like?  If you work, take a moment to dream into it. Or were you doing something else?… were you with friends, family…?

What will you do in the evening? Again, just imagine the perfect situation.

2. What are the necessary qualities you will need to achieve this vision?

If, for example, you see yourself in 5 years with a different career, you may need schooling. If you see yourself as part of a couple, you may need to work on your interpersonal “issues”. If you see yourself as healthy, you may need to give up a bad habits. List a few of the qualities that will help you get there.

See it to become it!

Letting Go Of the Past to Appreciate the Present

Suffering doesn’t make us grow –

But what we do with our feelings could make us grow. ⚡️💡

It’s an interesting saying though. Where did it come from?  Perhaps it’s because anguish and acute awareness sometimes occur near one another, in time and space.dreamstime_m_43975880

For me, however, what makes us grow is understanding our feelings, questioning the thoughts behind them, seeing the cause-and-effect of it all. If we utilize this information the next time these feelings arise (anger, sadness, depression, confusion, fear), we can remember the awareness, aha moment, or insight we discovered before. We can  notice that what we are experiencing in the here and now is separate from the past.

Uncomfortable feelings are nearly always preceded by a stressful thought, and when the feelings come, we can isolate the stressful thought, idea, or assumption and question it thoroughly.contemplation

I find journaling a powerful aid here. Just write your rambling thoughts about a situation that made you uncomfortable (in your mind or in reality – doesn’t matter). Then let it set. You probably will already feel better because the act of writing is cathartic. But for true growth to occur, go back later and read what you wrote. Pretend you are a scientist!  Your job is to (compassionately) dissect your writing to find the threads of connection… Try asking these questions:

 1.  Have I ever felt this way before? Are there any other similarities? 

•   Personal example: going to son’s junior high school to deliver his ADHD medicine – it left me with a racing heart, a sense of urgency to complete the task, and an overall sense of shame. It made no sense in my logical mind.

 Have I ever felt this way before? Are there any other similarities? 

Turns out yes! Junior High was very scary for me. I was picked on by other girls and I was even beaten up a number of times. The threats often occurred when students were moving from one class their next, so I was especially scared when that bell rang!

2.  What were the beliefs/thoughts around the event? 

Thoughts– that caused the racing heart, urgency and intense fear. 

(BTW – I think I ‘should’ be embarrassed to share this, as the discovered back-thoughts seem so clearly absurd and immature… but, I wouldn’t have known these were the thoughts if I hadn’t compassionately listened…)

I might be attacked!.. Did I do something wrong???… If I can become unnoticeable, I might make it…             

Well – pretty obvious right? But my body didn’t know that , so:
junior high = made mistake (let son run out of meds)  = fear….

Let me say, I’m not reactive to junior high’s anymore.

By listening, compassionately, to your own mistaken, innocent mind, you can become free… from this, then that, then…

 

 

 

How To STOP Overthinking Everything

“We all do our best to stay positive, but occasionally we can slip into negative thinking patterns that can wreak havoc on our lives. We might worry about our past mistakes or current stresses, and how these could lead to negative outcomes in the future. We might obsess about or over-analyze regular experiences and interactions, reading into them things that aren’t actually there. We might find that as soon as one bad thing happens, we associate it with all the other bad things that have happened in our lives and begin to feel miserable. We might feel anxious in the present, having a hard time getting out of our own heads as we worry and obsess about the things that could go wrong.”   ~ Thinking Minds

If overthinking interferes with your general sense of wellbeing, here are a few tips to Take Back Control of Your Brain!

1.  Understand “Normal”

The brain is actually hardwired to think out all the possible outcomes of a situation.  Thanks to the decision-making frontal-lobe, we’ve evolved to think about our problems.  But overthinking keeps the brain in an agitated cycle while dumping fight or flight chemicals into our blood system(Research shows that overthinking releases cortisol, the stress hormone, that will get you even more distressed).

2.   Jot it down

When you notice your thoughts are recycling the same scenarios, taking a few deep breaths will help calm the brain down. Then put your thoughts on paper. By getting it “out of your head” and putting it in black and white on paper, you effectively short-circuit the brains need to remember! And looking at it, instead of thinking about it, you get a new perspective.

3.  Practice mindfulness meditation

When we’re racked with too many thoughts, we feel over-stimulated. Mindfulness meditation can quickly calm you down, making it easier to make sound decisions. Try it now – close your eyes. Focus on the air moving in and out as you breathe. Tune into your tactile sensations: your weight on the seat, the feel of the fabric of your clothes, the warmth of the sun on your skin…. If thoughts arise, notice, and allow them to float on by….

4.  Get moving

Changing your environment, walking, hiking, biking, getting the heart pumping, can loosen the closed-circuit cycle of relentless thinking. You don’t need to try to clear your mind – just let your thoughts roll through your head at their own pace.

5.   Check your beliefs

Underlying all anxiety and all overthinking are a set of beliefs. Have you ever asked yourself where they came from? Or if you actually really believe them? For instance, most people are mortified by the thought of tripping or falling in public. Why??? “People who fall are idiots”. Hmm… I actually do NOT believe that. “People who fall are weak”.  I don’t think that’s true either. But maybe being perceived as weak means you’ll need to be removed from the herd! Well, thanks to the frontal-lobe, I no longer need that instinctual response, so I can choose to dismiss it.

What a relief!

 

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

What Are Your BLIND SPOTS?

There’s this cool diagram called the Johari’s Window:

JOHARIwindow2

People have used it for various purposes, but I like to use it as a tool for living more consciously – More authentic, self-actualized, congruent, non-defensive and trusting. 

Briefly, quadrant 1., OPENess, is the aspects of self that we easily share with others.  Quadrant 3. includes the aspects about self that we keep private (HIDDEN).  Quadrant 2., BLIND SPOTS,  are the things others’ know about us that we aren’t aware of,  and quadrant 4. are the aspects of self that are unconscious, UNKNOWN.

In reality, your internal boxes are not equally divided.  They may change proportions depending on the relationship or your moods.  If the goal is to become a more congruent, authentic person, then we must expand the OPEN area, which requires disclosing more about ourselves, as well as being willing to accept feedback from others about how they perceive us.

For example,  Andy thought he was pretty open towards others.  And he was.  But when he received feedback from his friend, Janet, that he seemed to get defensive when she shared an opinion different from him, he just couldn’t see it. He became even more defensive.

This would be Andy’s BLIND SPOT.  As he thought about what Janet said, he looked into his HIDDEN quadrant for some clues. Had he always been like that, or was it just with her?  Through gentle inquiry, he was able to realize that, when people disagreed with him, he felt like he wasn’t “good enough” –  something he felt frequently growing up in a household with many older siblings.

Andy was willing to disclose his discoveries with Janet, thus expanding his OPEN area.  He was willing to respect her feedback, and as a result, expanded his OPEN area even more.

The more we bring our blind spots to awareness, the more freedom we have –  the more we can live an authentic life.  Instead of automatic responses to factors that present themselves in everyday life,  with self-awareness,  we learn that we can exercise choices in our responses.

Ahhhh! Freedom!

Finding the SELF through Folklore

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“Though fairy tales end after ten pages, our lives do not. We are multi-volume sets. In our lives, even though one episode amounts to a crash and burn, there is always another episode awaiting us and then another. There are always more opportunities to get it right, to fashion our lives in the ways we deserve to have them.” ― Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Clarissa Pinkola Estés wrote the bestseller “Women Who Run With the Wolves” , a collection of folktales interpreted from a woman’s perspective, revealing the archetypal wild woman. With her easy-to-grasp writing style of a storyteller, she appeals to women who want to find more meaning in life. Her interpretations help us find such meaning by getting us in touch forgotten qualities, she says, that have been dangerously tamed by a society that preaches the virtue of being “nice.”

Dr. Estes found the wolf-woman parallel while studying wildlife biology.

“Wolves and women are relational by nature: They are inquiring, possessing great endurance and strength. They are deeply intuitive, intensely concerned with their young, their mate and their pack.” She also writes: “Yet both have been hounded, harassed and falsely imputed to be devouring and devious, overly aggressive, of less value than those who are their detractors.” ~ A Savage Creativity

She defines the wild woman archetype not as uncontrolled behavior but as a kind of savage creativity – the instinctual ability to know what tool to use and when to use it.

“All options are available to women,” she said, and adds, “Everything from quiescence to camouflaging to pulling back the ears, baring the teeth and lunging for the throat.”

Women who have always been taught to be nice do not realize they have these options. She said, “When someone tells them to stay in their place, they sit and stay quiet. But when somebody is cornering you, then the only way out is to come out kicking.”

Yet everything about nature is essentially wild, too.

“We need to see and understand that whatever stands behind nature is what God is. Nature is the manifestation. We see things about nature that are beautiful, like the blue sky, and it fills us with almost a prayerful excitement. When I look at it, I feel still. I have seen this sky every day of my life and I am still in awed by it. That is what the wild is – this intense medicinal beauty. To look at it makes you feel whole. To hear it, if it is ocean or water running in a stream, is to feel made whole again. To see a thunderstorm or a lightning storm is to somehow be energized by it. Even tornadoes and earthquakes– to be rocked to your very foundations by the power made in all these things. This wildness is in every human being, so a man or a woman would essentially be no different from one another at the very elemental core.”

Being in touch with the wild woman archetype is also about getting in touch with one’s soul. Dr. Estes says,

“The soul – just as it is – is complete. It is never doubted, it is never lost. The ego may become injured. The spirit may also become injured, but the soul remains, always. I think the soul is incredibly ineffable and you cannot really talk about it. We make pictures and tell stories, but in reality, we are reaching into a dark bag and trying to describe it in a poetic way – because we can never describe, in common words, what it is that we feel and see.

Little Red Riding Hood by Gustave Doré

Little Red Riding Hood by Gustave Doré

Yet we must have the ability, like all poets, to move through different images as we develop an idea to express the soul. And we also could move away from and develop a new idea, the more clarity we have. Jung did it all the time. If you read Jung’s works you will see him constantly contradicting himself because he is developing as he goes along. So whatever metaphors we use, it will be very interesting to see if we still believe them, or if we have not found better ones, in 10 or 20 years.”

We describe life in metaphors. Find more meaning in your life through folklore!

Stay tuned for YOUR next episode!

Article sources: http://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/28/weekinreview/conversations-clarissa-pinkola-estes-message-for-all-women-run-free-wild-like.html and http://www.menweb.org/estesiv.htm

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The Transience of Life and Happiness – A Buddhist’s View

Worth reading – From off the Web!

An excellently articulated discussion about Being of the World… while freeing the self from participating in (what is optional) suffering. Profound!

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“Seeing all things as naked, clear and free from obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realize. The nature of phenomena appears naturally and is naturally present in time-transcending awareness. Everything is naturally perfect just as it is. All phenomena appear in their uniqueness as part of the continually changing pattern. These patterns are vibrant with meaning and significance at every moment; yet there is no significance to attach to beyond themselves.” ~ Khyentse Rinpoche, Tibetan Master

How does the Buddhist’s philosophy of the twofold Emptiness lead to the full understanding of the transience of life and happiness?

Experiential insight.

A method many Buddhist Masters employ to help students understand the transience of happiness is to tear away any lingering remnants of support – no comforting religious consolation or conceptual crutch to cling to – leaving the disciple with nothing to fall back on. The purpose is to fully plunge them into the Unknown, beyond philosophies and partial realizations, and into the direct realization of the two-fold emptiness of self and phenomena.

There is no path, nor any such thing as progress. Reality is not some sort of achievement that occurs by a progression from state to state. There is no final, triumphant union to be attained, because there never was any separation. There is simply the unfathomable expanse of spontaneous presence, pure unborn awareness, regardless of any intermittent mental content which might appear in that sphere of being. Recognizing the empty nature of both the dreaming as well as the dreamer is considered by the sages to be liberation, although paradoxically, there is no body being freed or bound. There is simply awakening to that which has always been the case, even as we daydreamed.

This challenging realization forces the aspirant to let go of all gaining ideas, along with all the interpretive dualities of the intellect that represent fixation, reification, and solidification of perception, thus opening them to direct and immediate re-cognition of the prior freedom of the Real.

And what is “the Real”?

Of course, such appealing notions as inherent perfection are easy for beginners and casual practitioners to misconstrue, especially when they hear that there is nothing that needs to be done, and no effort is necessary, because “enlightenment” is always already the case. However, if we do not want to fall into that trap, all we need do is take a good honest look in the mirror at our own character. Are we free, for example, from greed, envy, hatred, ignorance, and pride? Do we always live a life characterized by integrity and loving kindness? If not, then there is still work to do, even though, paradoxically, it is also true that there is nothing to be done.

If we rely on the verbal, conceptual mind to make sense of that seeming contradiction, we will just end up going this way one day, and that way the next, while getting nowhere in the process. That is why we practice, to go beyond conditional second-hand reason and logic programs, and recognize the truth that is always right here, staring us in the face. In that conscious process, we don’t need to point some accusatory finger at ourselves, or wring our hands in self-concern, but simply wise up to exactly who “that one” is that we have taken to be “me”. Who is this character believed to be either perfect, or in need of some serious adjustments?

Another good example of the paradox being considered here is the common phrase: “We must forgive ourselves first, and then forgive everyone else.” Of course, in this human drama, forgiveness is not only appropriate, but critically necessary for our relationships and personal happiness. If we carry around unresolved traumas, wounds, regrets, and resentments, we will always be fueling an internal conflict, and never achieve psychological healing and mature adaptation to the stage of balanced and un-contracted emotional adulthood.

On the other hand, from the point of view of the higher wisdoms, there is actually nothing and nobody that needs to be forgiven, since at the absolute level, all is indeed perfect just as it is, and without qualification. Even conceiving the existence of a self, some solid and enduring character that requires fixing or forgiving, can be an impediment to fully awakening to the truth of our prior nature, which has never required modification or remedial attention.

Another contemporary Dzogchen Master, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, puts it this way:

“From the very beginning everything, whatever appears and exits, has never been anything other than pure perfection. There has never been a single day, a single moment when everything was not complete purity, pure perfection. It’s not that everything has to be brought to a state of purity at some point, but rather that it always was and is.”

offering

Indeed, the paradox of our prior freedom and inherent perfection is that, “You are all perfect the way you are, and you could use a little improvement.”  (Zen Master Suzuki Roshi).   If we examine our own life and relations, including our thoughts and behaviors, most of us might readily acknowledge that “a little improvement” would probably be a good idea.

How then to explain this paradox? A good start would be to understand that we are both human animals, with all the positive as well as negative attributes the word animal implies, and yet we are also immortal spirit, forever free, awake, and unconditionally loving. Our souls chose to inhabit human life in order to experience the kinds of adventures and challenges characteristic of the human species. By testing ourselves to see “what we are really made of”, we enhance our levels of self-awareness in our soul evolution.

As humans, we enter into the virtual reality of this 3-D realm in the same way one might engage a video game. The trick, however, is to recognize that we generally assume a kind of amnesia about our true nature for the duration of the game, in order to get the full impact of the experience. In doing so, we take the human identity to represent who and what we really are, and this mistaken identity is rarely questioned in the midst of the adventure. By fusing with the human bio-vehicle, we thus become subject to its complications, which include less than perfect qualities.

There is more to this story, however. Ultimately, we are not only not the human animal, but we are not even the soul being. In reality, we are dream characters in the Mind of Source, being lived by Source in a drama of unfathomable love. It is unfathomable, because it is beyond the human capacity to comprehend, and so is typically misunderstood and misrepresented by the religions that humans have created to provide explanations for the Mystery.

Source wants to explore Itself, in much the same way we want to explore our own breadth and depth by incarnating as humans, for example, among the countless possibilities we may and do choose. Thus, in our role as immortal souls, we afford Source the perfect vehicles for such exploration, and as such, we are in a sense co-creators of a movie entitled “Infinity”.

In any case, as dream characters, there is nothing in need of forgiveness or improvement. Just as we are, with all our seeming faults and foibles, we are perfectly fulfilling Source’s desire to know Itself, in all the possible permutations of Itself which It can manifest. Source does not need to improve or forgive us, any more than we need to enter back into last night’s dream to improve or forgive our own dream characters, once we have awoken. It was, after all, a dream. There is no judgment, no blame or punishment — only a thirst for experience, in whatever way it might happen to present itself, or in whatever form it might happen to manifest, as we enter into the compelling illusion of time and space as shards of Source’s own divine light, playing our parts perfectly.

Original post:

https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/the-paradox-of-inherent-perfection/   (edited for readability).

“Do we always live a life characterized by integrity and loving kindness? If not, then there is still work to do, even though, paradoxically, it is also true that there is nothing to be done. ”

I think this really sums it up. We can recognize those human qualities that argue with – and so separate us from – our oneness/nirvana/enlightened states. The skill of observing ego as well as the body sensations that tell us we are not in reality, are cues to re-center. Once you have the skill-set, I think you have the flowing choice.

What are your thoughts?

 

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