Wednesday, November 7, 2012
A recent 'injury' threw me through a loop. Now anyone who knows me has probably heard me gripe about it one too many times already. For those of you haven't heard the story, I'll keep it brief.
I workout at a gym doing CrossFit. Maybe six weeks ago, we did some back squats. It wasn't all that heavy. I didn't feel anything unusual. The next day I was walking and a sharp stabbing pain in the back of my thigh brought me to the ground. It pulsed two or three times and was gone. I'd never felt anything like it but managed to forget it in short time.
Several weeks go by and I'm headed to the gym after work. I had to run to get there in time for the class. So I ran the 4.2 kilometers there and I was feeling pretty good. We were stretching our hips in the warm up and I felt something tight between my hip and groin. It hurt to stand up straight but the pain wasn't bad so I pushed through it. I felt fine just a few minutes later. We did some snatches and deadlifts and I was on my way.
The next day I'm sitting down eating and the sharp pain returns. I recognized the sensation immediately. The following night the pain strikes again while I'm sleeping and wakes me up. It's brief and I go back to bed. The day after that I'm standing up at the park across from my work and the pain comes again and I fall to the ground. After work I'm at the bus stop headed to the gym and it happens again. At this point I'm feeling nervous but since it wasn't sore to touch, to stretch, or to use the muscles, I felt assured it was nothing and that it would pass. I was wrong.
I came home from the gym and small jolts of pain shot through my thigh. I was plagued by strange sensations of pressure, tingling and pain. The strange sensations continued as did the spasms. Although less painful than before the spasms were longer and more frequent as time went by.
And thus I descended into complete paranoia. The pain would come sitting, standing, walking and lying down. Never knowing when it would return or what was caused it in the first place had me obsessed. For all that I have meditated, and for all the practice I have in dealing with my emotions, I wasn't prepared to deal with this sort of pain and uncertainty. I haven't had any practice...for which I'm thankful of course. The doctor at the walk-in clinic said "I don't know what that is" and gave me a prescription for Naproxen. An anti-inflammatory. Turns out it wouldn't help me heal and that it's used primarily for pain. Since I wasn't in pain all the time it was pointless. I gave it a try and it brought on a headache and extreme exhaustion. Common side effects it seems. I'd have thought it was my imagination, if it weren't for the fact I'd never read about the side effects.
Now the pain would come at night and I was losing sleep. For whatever reason, it was getting worse. I'd been using it still but not nearly as much as before. But again it didn't hurt to run or stretch or lift. Finally, I went to see an athletic therapist. He said it's myofascial pain. Apparently the fascia around one of my groin muscles has tightened and so the muscle's unable to slide properly. I've seen him four times now and he's been using a technique called myofascial release to relieve some of the tension that has built up in the fascia. I don't fully understand what caused this to happen, or what exactly causes spasms. And from what I've read, spasms aren't well understood to begin with. The pain may go away with treatment but return again in the future. Only time will tell.
Now during all this time I sought out answers in the online world. You know what causes spasms? Cancer, AIDS and MS. It couldn't be a tear of the muscle, tendon or ligaments because I have no pain when using my leg. I gave it some thought and in my paranoid state MS was a real possibility.
The most important fact, which I'd seem to overlook again and again was that it began after a workout which used those muscles. It should have been enough to realize it was some sort of injury and not a neurological disease but I was consumed by fear. Losing sleep was wearing me out and constantly scanning my body was crushing my spirit. I was no longer present. No longer able to enjoy all the moments I wasn't in pain because I was anxious. Constantly anticipating the pain and knowing it may come at any time meant every moment was defined by fear. Nothing in life seemed fulfilling so long as that pain existed and would return. I fantasized a life in which I was no longer able to run, jump, dance or lift weight. The very thought of it had me begging. I was constantly begging my body to put an end to the bullshit. As far as I can tell, there's no real reason for me to be in this state. There's nothing 'wrong' with my leg. Nothing 'damaged' so the therapist says.
There were moments in between the fear (and pain) which left me crying with appreciation. I'd never been more thankful to be without pain. At one point I'd looked down at my leg and cried as I thought of it as someone else's. It filled me with compassion. I'd never treat someone else with the frustration and impatience to which I was treating myself. Everyone who cares for me seemed that much more important. You'd think I was dying or something. I didn't realize how attached I was to a future filled with running, dancing and lifting until it seemed it might all slip away.
So it wasn't brief. Sue me. Maybe you can relate.
I haven't had a spasm today. I've gone all day and not felt worried. How easy it is in the absence of pain.
But I knew some good would come of this.
Appreciate your health (it won't last forever).
Pain commands attention but it doesn't need to consume you. You're still able to breath. To feel what is soft, cool, or warm. You can see, hear and smell. Focus on what feels good even when you're not in pain. Appreciate your senses and through them the world.
Thinking changes nothing but your mood. No amount of hope, fear or forethought alone will change what is happening in the world around you. Take any necessary action. Remain present. The energy you need to heal and to grow is with you now, if you can only be aware of the world around you.
Most thoughts have little value. Salvation lies in the present. In the absence of thought and in the fullness of being. Peace comes first with acceptance.
Take your mind where you want it to go. When you can't keep it clear, deliberately think of something pleasant. Most thoughts aren't inherently 'real' or important. The way you think is a habit. Work on forming habits which serve to benefit you.
It's your responsibility to do everything you can to be happy. First with your mind. Then in the world around you.
Treat yourself with the same compassion and patience as you'd treat someone else. When pain or frustration have you begging for release just look take a look at yourself and relax. Relax your eyes. Raise your eyebrows slightly and gaze fondly at yourself and the world. Sad, and beautiful. Relax and do not resist. Watch it carefully as if from above.
I realize it's not easy. I know it's not easy. I struggled and will likely continue to struggle. There's no other choice. If you want peace you have to do what you can with your mind.
You have less power over the physical world than you're willing to believe. You have far more power over yourself than you realize.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Is love not acceptance? But do we know what that means. Do you even think it's possible to accept someone completely. To love them as they are. To want nothing more than what reality can give. To appreciate each moment and be grateful, and never grasp for more. Allowing yourself and your loved ones to be freed. Free to pursue what makes them happy. To love another without thinking we need them. To love someone without wanting them to change.
This love is timeless and mature. It's not based on the role those people play in our lives. Not based on what they can give us. It's the only way to see them clearly, without projecting our hopes and fears on them. We can certainly say "he/she makes me happy", but we must know that happiness comes from within. We are enjoying the experience, but there's no sense of 'need' to ruin it. You can hold them without fear of letting go, you can look them in the eye and feel connected, knowing it may one day come to an end and it doesn't lessen the experience.
You can know that there is no betrayal if we follow our hearts. If we're honest with ourselves and each other. No one has to fulfill their promises, spoken or unspoken. That might be upsetting but it's hard to deny. No one owes us affection, no one owes us devotion, no one owes us love or attention. We are responsible for our own feelings. When we take care of ourselves the best that we can by letting go of attachments, we begin to cherish what we have. We become less self absorbed, less selfish, and more satisfied by 'simpler' things. If there's any way to make love last, it's to stop wanting or expecting it to last.
There is a way but no one's saying it's easy. It's the only way to live with less fear and more freedom. Love may last forever but it doesn't need to. Love can last forever but it happens one day at a time. No special words or ceremonies can guarantee our future.
Think about the people you love. Friends, partners, family. Think about your expectations, even simple ones. Do you expect them to ask how you are when they see you? It's not right or wrong. If we want to be happy, it's about what's effective. Think of what you want from them, expect of them. Consider for a moment how your desires affect the way you perceive them, how your desires shape your opinion of what they do and who they are. Doing so may help you realize, how wanting more than they can give has altered how you think they feel about you. Do what you can to 'trust' them. Take them at their word, accept them as they are. Want less and love more. Find happiness within and let it guide you forward, together or alone.
Don't make someone else responsible for how your every mood by giving them your heart. Don't make someone else responsible for the direction of your life. It's a burden. To be responsible for someone else's moods is a burden. Don't put that weight on the people you love. Love freely without expectation and your heart can't be broken. Be responsible for yourself and recognize that no one can break your heart unless you depend on them for happiness. Don't. The only happiness that lasts is that which comes from within and that comes with freedom. It comes with accepting that you can't fault other people for loving or not loving you. You can't fault them for what makes them happy. Do what you need to do to be happy. Accept that they should too.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Come to me oh strength. Come to me oh power there. From the Earth and from the Air. Fires burn and Waters flow, deep deep down, to and fro. Before me does the river flow and with it do my worries go. Around the bend and back in time, the past is washed away with rhyme.
No moment but this moment, the river carries me. Seeing life for what it is, I choose to let it be. The Wind sweeps through, erasing me, freeing me of doubt and care. Opinion-less and open now, freedom found within the Air.
I know not the mind or soul of others. Not even that of Earth my Mothers. I close my eyes and I do rest, let nature do what she does best. What is to come, no one has guessed.
For in the darkness power came, it flowed in me and burned my veins. Eyes open now to darkened void. All I thought I knew, destroyed. And somehow, I didn't mind, for this deep silence seemed quite kind. And then a peace I'd never known, it came to me, it had been shown, the path to power, light and truth. It lies not, within youth. Cling not to that which time has passed. For peace has come, it's here at last. Happiness you will not meet unless you start right at your feet. Walk the path that does lead inward, through your mind and through the blizzard. Happiness is at your center just let your heart be your minds' mentor.
Don't indulge in what does hurt. Set it aside and you'll find mirth. A joy unparalleled by time, it gains momentum in the mind, the source of which is within mine.
So echoes now the spoken rhyme, it's brought me back and just in time, to live once more, to die again. I'll return someday but don't know when.
So does the cycle move me now, it lifts me up and shows me how...
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Non-attachment is the practice of recognizing and letting go of our emotional attachments. There's much confusion to be had, as at first glance it sounds as if caring itself is attachment. It's more and less complicated than that.
I no longer want to suffer. Sounds like a statement we'd all agree on but we create our own suffering time and again. I've indulged in angry fantasies for most of my life. I've filled my mind with thoughts of revenge, none of which have I've acted on. I built up the anger, embraced it. I kept it to myself as if something to be proud of. It put me on a pedestal and made me a victim. Only in my mind did I have the power to crush those who hurt me. The power to destroy the 'obstacles' before me. There came a time when the pain was too much to bear. I was powerless and the reality of that overwhelmed me. I could no longer deny that I was not in control. I couldn't take it any more, so I told myself to let it go. To not be upset with powerlessness. To accept it. Taking that attitude toward a major event in my life made it easy to see how useful it was regarding everyday things. I'm not in control of how full or noisy the bus will be. I have no control over what job I am offered, beyond doing my best, the decision is not up to me. I can't make anyone love me. I can't make them spend their time with me. Then what can I control? What amidst this chaos can I influence at all?
I can influence myself. The one thing that's always constant in an ever changing world. My consciousness exists and at its core is potential, at its core is pure awareness. It's this force within me that makes experience possible. I am the vessel and my mind the aperture, adjusting here and there to zoom in or zoom out, to let in more or less light. At my core is stillness and it's not sad or meaningless. It is filled with bliss. Bliss is an appropriate word. I'd never quite understood it before. I've felt the bliss of letting go, of wanting nothing and loving everything. I found this while doing research into non-attachment.
"This is why meditation is good practice in non-attachment, because to do something boring, you have to become unattached to the ideas about boredom, suffering, discomfort, entertainment, what's interesting, and so on.
When you're meditating and you get lost in a little imaginary conversation with someone, and then you realize you have stopped focusing on your mantra, you don't want to stop imagining this conversation right in the middle of it. You're attached to the conversation. But you pull your attention away from it (detach) and return to your mantra. Over and over again."
This was particularly meaningful to me. I felt changed as I read the words; "you have to become unattached to the ideas about boredom". I felt the ideas I held about boredom slip away. I recognized then how much of an obstacle the idea of boredom has been to my meditation. By not forming a concept of boredom, but dissociating from the idea that to sit and do nothing is boring I've recognized that doing 'nothing' leaves plenty of room for 'something' to happen. Even if that something is as simple as feeling my heart beat or body breathe.
You don't have to meditate at all. You just have to be aware of your thoughts. When you feel your emotions take off on a tangent as you follow a series of thoughts, become aware that you've been lost. You've stepped out of your surroundings and into your mind. Come back. It may take time to recognize, but most of the day dreams we have serve no useful purpose. Honestly. Just cut them short mid-sentence. You may feel compelled to complete the thought you are having but don't. This is how you practice both mindfulness and non-attachment. It's calming to step out of our mind and into the moment we are currently living.
Think on impermanence. Any and all feelings I have will pass. Any fear and stress, embarrassment, sorrow and joy. It all passes by. Yet while in the midst of feeling bad we tend to think it's meaningful. We're determined to ask why, and give blame. I'm nervous for my interview. I'm embarrassed by what other people think. But that's not exactly true. They may seem to be the cause our feelings, but it's our perspective which determines how those things make us feel. Other people face those same things with ease. They're human too. Their lack of fear does not stem from some inherent quality which they possess and you do not. Attitudes can change. Our minds can evolve.
If my happiness depends on the world working in my favor then I'll always be disappointed. Tossed and turned by unseen forces. Instead I've decided to look at the world without expectation so that I may appreciate all it has to offer. When faced with pain, uncertainty or disappointment, I will think of my body. I'll think about how great it is to live.
I strive not to be excited or disappointed with my job, my health, and my relationships. I'll appreciate good fortune, but I'll wait until it happens. That's how excitement and mindfulness differ. Excitement sets you up for disappointment, it colors an experience you have yet to live.
I want to see the world clearly. We all like to think 'we have an open mind', but there's so much we unknowingly cling to. It's not difficult to recognize how we're attached to possessions but it's difficult to see how we're attached to ideas. We often cling to the opinions we've formed of ourselves and those around us. Of the world itself. Defining the world through having opinions is meant to bring us comfort for we're fearful of uncertainty. The 'comfort' they bring us pales in comparison to the peace of acceptance. Opinions separate us from the world, they dull our minds and put limitations on what we're willing to experience. By accepting uncertainty we're more likely to both see and seize opportunities which may have gone unnoticed before. We can no longer say "I'm not that type of person" when we cease to judge ourselves.
I don't want to spend time guessing how a new experience will feel. I want to live in this moment and have no expectations, no preconceptions. I want to surrender to my complete and utter ignorance about the future and the nature of reality. I am The Fool as they say. Such as in the Tarot, the true realization that you know nothing, the abandonment of old ideas. The beginning and the end, for it is consciousness itself that lives, all those thoughts, those ideas, nothing but shadows.
I want to let go of opinions. I want to live and experience life. I want to recognize and be aware of every little thing that has a positive or negative affect on me. I want to know why. I'm on a noisy crowded bus, I feel bothered, but why, because of my desire for the circumstance to change. Because the circumstance in which I find myself isn't as easy and predictable as I would like it to be. What's causing me to suffer then, the noisy people on the bus or my desires about how I would prefer things to be. I rarely have the power to change every detail of my surroundings but at any given moment I can change the way I think.
In nearly any situation it's my mind that matters most. My mind that guides me to experience something as good or bad. Reality can only be seen when I seek inner peace. When I accept the moment as it is. When I cut myself off mid sentence during those imaginary conversations and return to what is happening.
Feel yourself now, breathe deep, and know there is no moment but this one. There is no fear to be had. There is simple beauty and contentment now, whether you're at home or at work, alone or with others. There is stillness within you.
Friday, February 3, 2012
I was originally inspired to write by Raptitude. Here's something David Cane wrote that I want to share. It's from his post 7 High-leverage life skills they should teach in grade school.
"After all this time, all its coverage on Oprah and in religious texts, forgiveness is almost uniformly misunderstood. It does not mean you are okay with what has been done. It doesn’t even mean it doesn’t bother you any more. Forgiving is deciding you will no longer attempt to justify hate or anger, because you know they are damaging to you and your life.
Those feelings will still appear now and then, maybe always, but to forgive is to decide you are done indulging in them. That means no more revenge fantasies, no more nasty remarks. Finally it can begin to recede in your mind.
I’ve experienced a lot of resentment in my life. I’ve mulled it over, wished, fantasized, rehearsed confrontations and diatribes in my head, but I have never once found any true benefit to justifying resentment. All of it is out of control, all of it is painful, all of it is addictive.
There is a comforting feeling in hatred. We imagine it protects us from getting hurt again. This fantasy gives us a spike of relief when we feel powerless, but there is no real power in it. It’s as helpful as thinking about food when you’re stranded on a remote island. Resentment feels good in a bad sort of way. It’s pure mental junk food, only it makes you powerless instead of fat."
He does a great job of pointing out just why resentment and anger are damaging to us. It's clear when you read this that forgiving is not something you do for other people, but something that you do for yourself. If you think withholding forgiveness in some way punishes the person, think again. Whether or not you still hold onto the pain and the anger, they have the power to forgive themselves and move on. Do it for yourself. The pain may come now and then, but don't indulge in fantasies. Don't think about revenge. Make the decision to move on. No one expects you to think it's okay, or to never feel hurt again, but continuing to act on the pain, and to occupy your mind with resentment will only hold you back. More importantly, it doesn't lead you away from your suffering but towards it.
For me this is key. My partner had multiple affairs and that betrayal will always be with me. For months while we were together I had angry fantasies and diatribes as David describes them. I'd see myself arguing and yelling, I'd have the conversation over and over again in my mind. It became so exhausting that I had to take hold of myself, reach down deep for will power and say every time it came to mind "I've thought about this a thousand times already and these thoughts alone are powerless". Eventually the anger and resentment had faded. Though the pain never left me until I left him. Forgiveness isn't about looking the other way, being passive and accepting 'injustice'. It's about doing what you need to do, to no longer indulge in the pain and the anger. Sometimes it takes a life changing decision. Do what you need to do to be happy.
Next time you're in this situation make sure to ask yourself if the decisions you're making or considering are leading toward or away from suffering, toward or away from revenge. Feeling bad about yourself can feel like revenge, giving yourself permission to feel bad and blame the world is just another way of indulging in resentment. If you want to feel any better, you need to take responsibility for how you feel and continually make choices that lead away from negative emotions. Though avoidance isn't the key. Acceptance of the negative thoughts and feelings will help you dismiss them. Acknowledge them but let them go as best you can. If it can't be over come by mind alone, then look for a decision you can make that will change things for the better.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
An interesting fact about habits...they're all around us. If you can repeat it, it can become a habit. Whether you look in the mirror each morning and think you look great or awful, the more often you do either, the more likely you are to do it again. That's just the way the mind works. Connections between nerves in our brains (called synapses) grow stronger with repeated use. It's why studying involves repetition. Those signals are more likely to fire the more often they are used.
Our thoughts and feelings too are under habits' influence. If you don't put in the effort to form the habits that you want, others will form in their place. Now it's not as simple as forming a new habit, you'll probably have to break some old ones.
The more you indulge in negative emotions such as anger or sorrow, the more often and intensely
you'll feel such emotions.
It took some time to realize I'm responsible for my own state of mind and through it my emotions. Although most people would say they understand this, few are willing to take responsibility and put in the effort that comes along with that acknowledging it.
You can't blame other people and every situation for every bad feeling or thought that you have. It won't lead you where you want to be. The only helpful solution when faced with difficult emotion is to make a realistic plan. Let go of the negative feelings and take action. Or realize there's no problem at all. Most of our 'problems' don't really exist. We've decided at some point that we must get what we want in order to be happy. When reality fails to deliver we blame the world. Change your perspective and change your world.
Is is so awful to realize you're more or less powerless to change the world? No, not really. When you take that knowledge along with the understanding that the power you have over yourself is greater then you ever imagined. When you realize your perspective is under your control.
Accepting the 'randomness' of life allows you to focus on what remains constant. You're potential to feel. You didn't choose where you were born or the family that raised you. You probably didn't choose the public school you went to. Although you may choose who you spend your time with or the job that you find...the choices choices available to you at any given time aren't under your control. You couldn't have chosen anything you wanted. It's best to work with what's in front of you. Never spend time wishing things were different. Wishing may seem innocent on the surface, but in reality we're forming a habit of being dissatisfied. We cultivate desires that can't be fulfilled and so we're left discontent and 'wanting more out of life'. The more time you spend in that feeling of craving, of really wanting something, the less time you spend being grateful. The less time you spend being happy with all that you have. If you reinforce the idea that you'd be happy if only you could get what you want want (be it money or love) then you'll begin to believe happiness is something you achieve or obtain. The idea that it's something outside of yourself is what makes you restless. What leaves you wanting more. The potential to feel love and happiness exists whether or not we get what we want. The emotion comes from within and is inspired by the good that exists all around us if only we change our habit of wanting into accepting. Change our habit of feeling dissatisfied into gratitude.
To change the way we think takes mindfulness. You need to notice when you're indulging in negative habits in order to change them. You can practice being mindful any time you want. Most of us are constantly thinking, and that's not such a good thing. Thinking takes us out of the moment. Thinking often alters our experience with feelings we have about the past and the future (which we have only imagined). Mindfulness will help you be present and help you realize when you're indulging in negative thinking. Now that you're aware you can stop it as it happens.
One of my greatest lesson was learning that most of our thoughts have little to no value. You can practice being mindful by cutting off your day dreams. Once you're aware that your mind has wandered just cut all the imagery short. Don't feel as if you've left it incomplete. None of it was real, and it probably doesn't matter. Give yourself permission to 'forget' what you were day dreaming, just let it go.
It might take some time to get there, but when you find yourself frustrated by the actions of others take a moment to consider whether or not you're being hurt. Whether you find yourself wishing that people didn't; eat with their mouths open, drive or walk so slowly, or dress a certain way, take a deep breath and realize you can't change what's happening. And it really isn't hurting you. Frustration can be painful but it's coming from within. Have patience and give yourself those five extra minutes you may need at the mall or the grocery store. Then when something like that comes up you have no 'real' excuse to be bothered because you're not in a hurry. You'll be left asking yourself 'is it really worth being bothered?'. Is it worth thinking about? You'll also be less likely to judge other people when you realize how insignificant their different choices are.
It's when those bigger, more difficult experiences come that you'll be glad you were practicing this. When for example, your partner cheats on you and you repeatedly have angry fantasies of fighting and yelling. You're plagued by awful day dreams of your partner in the act, and the disgust that you feel is so overwhelming you might actually vomit. Yes, it's at times like that you'll be glad you developed your ability to concentrate, to be aware. You'll be quicker to notice when your mind moves in that direction, and you'll be able to say "it's not useful to think about that now, I've already thought plenty about it, it happened and it can't be changed. I accept it as it is and it can no longer hurt me. Only the thoughts are hurting me now and they'll simply disappear if I let them".
You must pair mindfulness with realistic action or else you'll find it incredibly difficult to keep upsetting thoughts at bay. I speak of this from personal experience. If you feel fear, then you need to make a decision. Fear is great at drawing us into our minds. The fear won't go away until you've found acceptance and assurance that either it won't happen again or that you'll be okay if it does. Otherwise it lurks within you, dulling you to the world. The pain will only leave you when you make the choice your heart has beckoned for. The same goes for being honest with others about how you feel. That fear of their reaction never goes away and may remain a constant source of stress until you express it.
This experience inspired me to take control of my mind. When I realized I was helpless to change other people, even those closest to me, or to prevent them from being able to hurt me, I suffered for a while before realizing I had to take care of myself. It takes practice and attention but life can be improved through changing how you think. It's not as simple as some people would have you believe. Telling someone to "think positive" or "be optimistic" isn't helpful at all. I find it's more useful to ask what good comes from a thought, how do those thoughts make you feel and if it feels bad then why keep doing it.
Ask yourself these questions, and always ask yourself, "what can thoughts alone accomplish?", you'll be driven to both action and to letting go of useless thoughts and desires.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
I thought I'd share with you a poem that I wrote. Here's the idea behind it.
My body is literally made from and sustained by the Earth. Now a part of me, the atoms that make up my body once belonged to countless other living and non-living things. The Earth owns my body. I'm merely renting it. We try hard to immortalize ourselves with caskets, urns and tombstones, but we will all be forgotten, there is no endless fame.
We level forests to make caskets and leave graveyards in their wake. We use non-renewable metals to make urns just to seal them away forever. We see ourselves as so exalted, so above nature that our bodies are too precious to give back to the Earth which has made us.
"Bury me naked in an unmarked grave, cover me in soil and let go of my remains, plant a tree in that place, and let that be my crest, give life to the Earth, she'll take care of the rest. May life come from death as it always has been, let my body be food for other life's needs.
This is my wish and this is my dream, a world of forests, where beauty remains. Instead all around me are grey tombstones, shiny metal urns and long forgotten bones. So lay me down and let me rest, the Earth will do what she does best. We're the seeds the Earth has produced, by eternal life, I will not be seduced. We must follow her example, we must follow her will, since it's her bread that gives us our fill. Creation, elation, joy not dread, in death there is peace and let it be said, that through giving in death the Earth shall receive, that future life will be conceived. Doing that will set me free, that I may live and love this way, knowing to the Earth, I'll return someday."
Monday, January 16, 2012
'you may think you're looking outside, it's a window after all, but you may have failed to realize the reflection in the glass, the ghostly renditions of what's inside, appearing as if it were outside'
We experience our lives only in first person.
It may not seem strange to you, it may seem rather obvious. But only after reading about it did I realize I'd never thought that way at all.
It might be all the TV and movies we've seen but there's something inside too that makes us feel as if we see the world in third person. My memories and dreams, I see them all in third person, at least most of the time. I see myself interacting with the world as if from a distance.
It's funny how quickly we come to accept what we see or hear as truth Think about your vision, look straight ahead but be aware of how far you can see above you, below you, and to each side. Only the center of your vision is clear. You can never see your own face, ever. Every single moment you've lived has been experienced this way. Looking through this window and this window alone. Even when looking in the mirror or watching yourself on screen, the watching of the tape is still in first person, you still have the screen in the center of your window. You still don't see yourself.
Every experience you've ever had or ever will, is perceived through this space. We can only know the world from our own experience. I look around me and it becomes incredibly obvious how little I know, and how much trust I have in what other people tell me.
I look at my computer and I wonder, where and how were all those materials mined, where were they assembled and how far have they traveled to reach me. I can look at just about anything and ask that question. I'll never really know the answer. Not only am I ignorant about where and how things came to be, but also how they function. I have little understanding as to how electricity in metal circuits can retain information. I'm not the only one.
It's frightening but humbling as well to realize how little you know, and how lucky you are to be surrounded by tools you'd never know how to create on your own.
Think about the conclusions that people have come to by relying on their own experience. They thought the world was flat. I can't say from personal experience it isn't, I've never been to space and looked down upon it but I trust that it's round. Just as I trust if something says 'made in China', it is. If we need other people, if we need life times of experience and perspective and diligent testing to understand the physical world, is it that unlikely that we're just as wrong about ourselves, coming to the wrong conclusions based on personal experience.
As true as anything may seem, it's all just belief. Just keep an open mind and know that you know very little. Remember when those thoughts come to you that you are this or that type of person, that you are or are not beautiful or capable that people thought the world was flat, and that seemed rather logical.
When it comes to how we feel about ourselves, our lives and the people around us, it's mostly our perspective that matters. Feelings come and feelings go. One day the world's bright and the next it's dark and dreary. Are we seeing the world at all? Or is it just a reflection of our state of mind. How can we live unaffected by the churning sea of thoughts and beliefs within us? Don't take it all so seriously. Whenever one outlook comes another's on its way. A bad mood will color the world. Like bright lights in a room at night you think you're looking out at the world, that somehow it has changed, but all you see is your reflection. Don't be fooled by your emotions. You may feel stupid or ugly but since when do feelings make things true. Don't form beliefs when in this state of mind. If you're upset and concluding that the world is a terrible place or that you're not deserving of love then you're wrong. As true as it may feel, it's not. Remind yourself of that. Hear those thoughts and say "that's bullshit". You don't need to see clearly right now, you just need to know that you're not seeing clearly and wait for a new tide to come. It will. Remember that the past does not exist. At any given moment, you are there, looking out your window and that is all there is. The past is a collection of thoughts you are having right now in this moment, the only moment that exists. The same goes for the future, it's nothing but a thought you are having, an event you are creating right now in your mind.
It's not possible to maintain this perspective at all times. You will get caught up in thoughts of the past and the future. Scenarios will continue to play out in your mind, but it helps when lost in thought to be remember where you are. The only world I know is through this window. I can only interact with what it's in front of me now. No one can see my thoughts, no one can hear me thinking about misery, failure, fear or regret. Letting go of the thoughts may not be easy, but there's no harm in trying, they're not 'real' after all. They're just thoughts, not facts.
It may not seem profound at first, but this idea is far reaching. If somehow you managed to go all day acutely aware of the window through which you see, while remaining unaffected (but aware) of all the beliefs that you hold, you'd see that the world is colored more by your thoughts you would have believed. It's hard enough to know ourselves let alone other people. If you've ever thought you knew someone better than they knew themselves just remember you've never looked out through their window and you never will.
Like looking out a window at night, the brighter the inside (the more full of thought), the less you can see. Dim the lights, quiet the mind and you begin to see outside. But until the lights are all the way off a faded apparition of yourself is projected on the world whether or not you try to look past it.
A helpful way of attaining this perspective can be found here.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
You are not your mind. And most of your opinions are worthless. But there's no need to worry. That's good news!
All your worries are for nothing. All your fears unfounded. Since when have your thoughts alone had the power to change the world?
You may have beliefs about who you are but they're nothing more than self-limiting thoughts. The result of mental habits formed through repetition; conditioned by your upbringing and the choices you've made. Beliefs are just thoughts we cling to in order to define ourselves and our place in the world. As I said before, most of your opinions are worthless so you might as well start over from the beginning.
You are so much more than you realize.
You are so much weaker than you know.
Find stillness. Choose to be present. Take control of your mind and make it your tool.
You are consciousness itself. Potential. You are not your mind but it has taken over. It thinks it knows what's best for you...it's wrong.