Tag Archives: peace

Don’t believe your mind.

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I have been studying present moment awareness and other teachings for becoming more conscious of the true self, for a few years now. And, on most days, most of the time, I seem able to remember the skills of what it takes to be where I want to be. To go toward feeling good. However, over the last two days, I have forgotten that truth, and forgotten the knowing that I possess of my true nature, who I really Am. I have been believing the lies of my mind.

 

In the context of presence, and understanding the nature of our true essence, the mind cannot help itself. It is merely a tool of self-propelling ideas, and it is constantly doing its job, generating thought after thought. However, the danger comes in how deeply we want to hold our thoughts as truth. The real truth is, we cannot believe anything, or at least, the vast majority of things that our mind tells us are true. I can identify with this fully and knowingly, especially when I forget.

 

When I forget to not believe the stories of my mind, I think that I am nothing. I believe that I don’t matter, that I am not enough, that there are parts of me that are broken or not okay. I am defensive, hostile, blaming and accusing, all toward myself. When I do find myself blaming others, it is because my ego feels so bruised, inflated and dramatic, that it needs the intensity to feel like it matters. When I get to these places of pain and self loathing, I feel so low that I fantasize about punching myself, doing all that I can to literally self destruct. That is how deep the lie goes, and that is how far that I get from self love.

 

It never lasts long, but when it is around, it feels terrible. And, the thing is, it will hang around until I say to myself what the real truth is, so that it disappears. When I am feeling this insane, it seems like I will never feel better, and as if the whole dramatic story is true. I don’t remember my inner peace, my light, my ability to drop the story at any moment. Gratefully though, I do eventually remember what the truth is.
The truth is, I am Love.

I am Light.

I deserve beauty, joy, and peace.

I can create anything.

When I am in Love, my true essence, anything that I create can only be a thing of beauty.

When I remember the truth, when I stop believing my monkey mind, I see my true essence as if I had never, ever forgotten it. And, I understand that I have the freedom in any moment, through a breath and a conscious awareness, to come back to my essence, my source, in an instant. I never have to be lost for long.

I Know who I Am. 

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What Love Is.

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For three days, my kitty Joshie, who belonged to my dear Aunt Ruth, went missing. I let him out on a balmy summer evening on Saturday, and he didn’t come back home that night. Or the next night. Or the next. He has stayed out all night once before, but never for three nights in a row. I was frantic. I was sad. I was not ready to never see him again.

 

Of course, I imagined all sorts of terrible things: that he had been hit and killed by a car. That he had been hurt by a wild animal and was wounded and dying in the woods somewhere near our home. That he was ill, and went off to be alone. My mind was wild with stories, and as soon as I would feel a glimmer of hope, that he might just come back home, I would feel a longing for him, and create another tale of worry.

 

Yesterday, I made a commitment to myself: that I would deepen my love and appreciation for him, and all that he brought to my Aunt Ruth’s life, and to our lives in the last eighteen months. What that meant, is that I would be in the present moment, as much as possible, and not focus on the past stories or future predictions that I wanted to create in my head. I wanted to love him, regardless of whether or not he would ever return to us.

 

This morning, as I was walking out of the house for work, he was at the door, as if he had never been gone. He was hungry, dusty, and unscathed. I had no way of knowing where he had been or what had happened, and I didn’t care. But I more deeply understood in those moments after that what love really is to me.

 

Love is letting go- of expectation, of anticipation, of the future and the stories of the past. Love is acceptance, of people and circumstances just as they are, not the way that we want them to be. Love is forgiveness, of ourselves and others, for not being perfect or the way in which we might expect. Love is deep appreciation and gratitude, for all that we have in this very moment. Love is not holding on tightly out of fear or control, and it isn’t meant to be disappointing just if it doesn’t go my way.

 

Love is here, Love is now, Love is available whenever we say yes to it. 

 

It Is that simple. 

 

Teacher/Student, Suffering/Acceptance.

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There has been deep wisdom that I have opened to most recently in my life. Learning that I would no doubt encounter at some point, but the Now is the best time to be learning it. And even though some of the lessons that I am now learning, are in the same form as in the past, the learning is completely transformed at this time. I am finally ready. 

 

The areas that I have been learning in the most are around being a teacher, and a student; and around suffering, and surrender. No matter who you are or what your life circumstances are, I believe that all of these areas are Universal lessons for all humans. For the earliest years of my life, I was formally and informally a student. Before I was conscious of learning, when I was a baby and small child, a slow, deliberate process of domestication brought teaching to me, and although I was initially passive in the learning, I retained all that I was given. As I got older, and was able to be aware of the learning more acutely, I would receive lessons that were part of formal schooling, and seek out additional topics and learning opportunities that were more interesting to me. I have always enjoyed being a formal learner, and would joke that my career would be to go to college forever. College was the breeding ground for special learning it seemed, because I got to choose what courses to take and what interested me. It was a marketplace of choices and topics.

But, around that time, interesting shifts in me began to occur. I began to see myself as full of knowledge, and stopped having the desire to learn, and just wanting to teach. When I got my undergraduate degree, I wanted to start working because I believed I knew all that I needed to in order to be a great social worker. I wanted to teach others all that I had learned, so that I could get on with saving the world. And, I put my formal learning on hold, thinking there was not much left to learn about how to help others. 

Eventually, I did resume some formal learning, and saw how much more there was to know in the world. I started seeking spiritual teachers then as well, and was eager to gain as much knowledge as I could, emulating my instructors and thinking that was the way to believe and think. And, then again, wanting to become a teacher in the world, believing I had the best of information that others needed. With that, I would also stop being willing to learn, thinking, this has to be IT, everything that I need to know. 

My other big area of lessons has been in the realm of suffering, and what that means, in terms of my human experiences, and what stories that I tell about it. I used to believe that suffering and difficult experiences were all part of the human condition, that we all have bad things happen in our lives. And, terms of fact and structure, I still hold that to be true. Bad things happen. Yet, the degree to which we suffer over the circumstances and events that happen is directly related to how much we accept life as it is, or don’t. I would often blame the outside world, or my girlfriend, or God, or traffic or other fellow humans for my degree of suffering: it is all their fault. And, if I had a bad experience, and didn’t feel sad or distressed about it, I thought there was something wrong with me; to suffer over my circumstances seemed like a way to pay homage to it. To honor it. 

My current belief is that even a person or circumstance is what leads me into sad, angry, or distressing feelings, I still have the power to choose; to choose what type of story I want to tell myself about it. I also ALWAYS have the power to choose to remember that the present moment, right Now, is all that there ever is. This moment. And, when I am able to be in this present moment, and to accept whatever comes in it, as just being what it Is, the suffering is less. Surrender brings great freedom and deep relief. Choosing surrender and experiencing peace honors the events of our lives in a deeper way, because it means we are in deep acceptance of the fleeting, ephemeral nature of all things. 

These two pairs of experiences and beliefs are actual paradoxes of one another, but ones that are required for the other to occur. That is the part of wisdom that had been lost on me for the first 50 odd years of my physical existence. In order for me to learn how to surrender, there has to be the experience of suffering. And, for me to be able to teach others, I have to always be willing to learn. One does not exist without the other. And yet, even though I resist, I get scared, I don’t want it to be true, I know that it is the only way that I will learn that which are the deepest truths of my life. 

This moment is all there is; and I want to experience it as deeply as possible with no promise of what may come next. 

 

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Presence and Peace.

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The past few days have been deeply shape shifting and mind altering for me. I tend to keep the same routine in how I do my learning about where I want to grow next: I read books, and spend time in the quiet. I remind myself, in the car, at work and at home, multiple times a day about how to come back to the present moment. Some days, I feel really successful in becoming present. However, there are many days in which I feel like I am completely in my head, a lot of the time. 

I don’t have the illusion that I have a capacity for a completely quiet mind; I call that an illusion, because there is always chatter in my head. Even when I am being as present as possible, and not choosing to worry on anything in particular, there are stories galore being hatched in my noggin. That isn’t bad in and of itself, but when I begin to tell myself a whole novel’s worth of tales about that one strand of thought, it becomes somewhat overwhelming and ultimately problematic. So, I do my best to open myself to the thoughts, allow them to float by like clouds, and not take them too seriously.

But something much deeper and intimate happened to me this week. I decided to begin “formally” meditating. Typically, I sit quietly, on the couch or in a chair, every morning before I get ready to begin the scheduled portions of my day. I also listen to books on CD in my car often, or ride without any sound at all, to extend that feeling of quiet and peace. I have not done an actual meditation practice in several years. After a series of stories a few days ago about me and others around me, I wanted to make a more concentrated effort to quiet them down. I began meditating for 10 minutes in the morning, sitting quietly and allowing my thoughts to float by. 

I don’t know if it is the actual meditation, the readiness within myself that I felt to do it, or the readiness of learning this particular lesson myself, but I broke loose of some really old mind and heart patterns. No matter how humble I like to think that I am, I still have periods of entrenched arrogance, telling myself that I have learned all that I need to, and that others just need to “catch up” with where I am at. It is gross at the same time that it is so comically egoic and human. Catching that arrogance this week was like doing a cleanse, and feeling this sense of emptiness and clarity all at the same time. 

I decided to meditate this morning, by concentrating on two words which I wanted to carry with me through the day. For every in breath, I would think Presence, and for every out breath, I would think Peace. Both are necessary and craved in my current world. After clearing out some old patterns and thoughts this week, I understood how critical both are in my world. And, how I can still find places in me that need smoothing to be more in synch with both. 

I love being a teacher, a leader, and a light for others. But, I know I need to be first and foremost, a student. 

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Sea of Change.

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My life has been a series of deep changes in the last few months. In the areas of my work, my play, my family, and my home, changes have been everywhere. And, for most of my life, I have made a determination in my mind and my heart of whether a change was good, or bad. Hardly ever have I encountered a change about which I felt completely neutral.

 

There are many reasons of why I feel a sense of judgment about change occurring in my world. One reason is that I believe that if things change, then what I previously believed about a relationship was an illusion or a lie; that if that person no longer speaks to me or is in my life, that maybe all along they didn’t really care about me. If the circumstances of my job change, I immediately feel like maybe this isn’t the right position for me, or I feel betrayed in some way that change has occurred. If a change happens that I label as positive, it is always because things have turned out the way that I wanted in some form. 

 

The main reason that I would ever feel upset or concerned about a change that happens in my life is simply fear:  being afraid for a new circumstance to come in. Afraid of what is going to occur next. Fear of the unknown. When I am coming from fear, it almost certainly means that I am resisting what will come whether I embrace it or not. I want things to stay the same, because in sameness, it seems like there is safety, security, familiarity.  I want my world to stay as it is in those moments.

 

However, whether I want it to occur or not, changes do come in my world, on a daily basis. I am in my little vessel on the ocean of life, floating along, and the ocean doesn’t stay constant. If you spend any time on the coast, the only thing certain about the waves and sea is that it is constantly changing. The tides, the size of the waves, and color and texture of the ocean, is always in motion. It never stops. 

 

When I live my life in the past, through memory, regret or sentimental feeling, then any new circumstance or information that comes in that challenges that feels threatening to me. When I live in the future, in anticipation of what I want to happen, or am planning in my mind, when those plans get changed, I feel threatened and unappreciated or unheard. It may all sound very dramatic, but this is what occurs when I am not living presently, and I judge what happens around me as either good, or bad. 

 

The truth is, I will always be riding the ocean of life, always navigating my way through a sea of constant change. Life is ever changing; that cannot be disputed. How those changes impact me, or don’t, is always my choice, my intent. If I live my life as fully in the present moment as possible, watching life as if it were a movie, and understanding that change occurs whether I want it to or not, then I can be neutral about change. I can embrace that life, in all of its wonder and unique manifestations, can just be something that I watch unfold, and see the opportunities for learning and growth with every change in the waves. I can choose gratitude for every experience, no matter what comes my way.

 

Change comes to each one of us. We can enjoy the ride or curse the tide. I want to secure as much joy and peace as possible while I am on this voyage, so I choose this moment, as often as I can remember. 

 

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