A COURSE IN OBSTACLES – LIFE

 

Life is… a course in obstacles.

 

There are only two ways to live your life;

One, as though nothing is a miracle,

The other, as though everything is a miracle.

                                                                 –  Albert Einstein

 

By contemporary knowledge, I cannot in good faith accept the notion that humankind’s purpose on Earth, is one of enduring a lifetime of suffering in return for being granted an eternity in paradise.

Throughout recorded history, human minds have been co-opted into believing that no pain is ever too much to inflict or endure, creating a legacy rich in “competition of suffering”. Fundamentalist religion has often sanctioned self-misery over self-love and compassion. Piety has entailed a spectrum of harmful behaviors, from self-denial of pleasure to self-flagellation and well beyond. In the extreme, unquestioning believers are expected to demonstrate abiding devotion through acts of holy martyrdom.

Can one begin to imagine what a life without pain and suffering would look like? Suffering takes so many human forms, including illness (physical or mental), financial concerns, relationship stresses, as well as work related demands. So long as life is subject to events of which we have little or no control, outer circumstances fuel our perception that life is a burden to bare.

Who but someone insane, would agree to suffer mercilessly without cause? It seems reasonable if not wise to give up on life, if there is no value in experiencing pain. As a holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankel realized, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” The disavowal of religious martyrdom or any other ideological dogma, permits the independent choosing of one’s attitude. 

If we endure human suffering without cause, its toll is diminished rather than amplified “passion for living”. Living in a state of ennui opposes our spiritual nature; our heart-felt desire to thrive. Faith alone can open our hearts, and provide hope and inspiration for living, despite pain.  

Through tapping into our unconstrained mind-space, we may dive deeply into our spiritual terrain to discover our faith in a benevolent universe. Such an inspired outlook infuses us with the attributes of courage and grace, enabling us to rise above all that follows. I have personally been privileged to know many individuals who endured unimaginable suffering, and yet went on to acquire a greater level of gratitude for life; a reverence that intertwined the raw beauty, love, and divine grace, to soften their pain. 

Today’s pain and stress are interchangeable events,  generated externally. Once internalized, they morph seamlessly into a feeling of loss of control. This perceived loss is what Frankel refers to as the last of the human freedoms. Confusing our outer events and our inner state, serves to weaponize our mind to unleash within us a barrage of activity experienced as anxiety, self-doubt, and other self-defeating emotions.

In past times, inner states of threat were rare, as fear was caused by time-specific, external events that threatened immediate survival.  Reviewing fear through an historical context, suggests it is time to reframe our perception of suffering by reviewing how life and our perception of stress operate in the present-day. Simply put, our life perception today can be distilled down to two things:

1) We are little more than our present-moment awareness, with our thoughts subject to change in each new moment (this implies our perception creates our reality); and

2) Beyond the now, there is potential for creating a future legacy (how our life will be perceived by others), extending beyond our lifetime.

Being concerned with the present moment, let us first seek our truth within by asking ourselves…

  • What if the obstacles that prevent us from embracing life are perceived as purposeful and benevolent rather than random and threatening?
  • What if there exists a universal energy imbued with loving intention that compels us forwards to seek a path that resonates within?
  • What if it is our obligation to seek the ultimate truth of our life, in order to render our lives meaningful?
  • What if all answers already exist embedded in our soul, though not accessible through physical or psychological realms where we typically seek joy?
  • What if our search for happiness through physical and intellectual stimulation, are supplementary to the primary pursuit of satisfying our deeper spiritual longings?

In our elusive search for peace, we seek contentment and the right to be/feel heard. We long to thrive, inherently feeling the need to rid ourselves of the overwhelming feeling that “all is not right” in our world. It takes much humility to find strength within by turning to faith. Acts of humility provide rare glimpses of illumination into the sanctum of our heart. The true peace of our spirit nature resides there. Through humility, we may at last discover divine faith. Who amongst us has not plead our case in desperation? “I will forfeit all my money, if only you will hear my prayer and grant me peace…”

As we are deluged today by the abundance of sensory pleasures through our materially indulgent society, it can take us years to exhaust our selves thoroughly before seeking deeper satisfaction through other realms. Beyond our conditioned beliefs in status, consumerism, a life of excitement and adventure to validate us, lies another inclination. Those acts of self-numbing behaviors, whether drinking and/or drugs that serve as a means of distraction, keep us from the painful truth we prefer to deny. By penetrating the veil of separation, we discover the spirituality that is our essence and integrate with the wholeness of our true nature.

As we finally awaken, we realize the high cost of our long neglected need of inner-peace. Self-deception is incongruent with self-love.  At last, we find a space of re-connection to our core through which we may uncover our personal blueprint for how to thrive in life.

Nature acts with compassion in brazen ways, awakening us from our prolonged slumber. As pain becomes overwhelming, we finally reach a point of knowing a change of course in life is due. We begin to touch upon the miraculous nature of energy, finding its gift easiest to recognize through those obstacles that block our freedom!! 

Suddenly, many things that have caused us pain begin to make sense. We begin to slowly understand that our personal discontent informed the universe to provide us with whatever obstacles are required to shake us free. Ironically, by looking inwards we gain a more expansive perch to discover the optimal steps along our journey; each experience offering us better insight to lead us forwards.

  • Let us awaken now, asserting life’s purpose to love and be loved; as we mindfully cultivate our awareness of all sacred things, living in awe of each moment.
  • Let us pay attention to all manner of universal love, no longer requiring messages infused by pain and suffering. 
  • Let us be free, abiding in peace and contentment, knowing all growth is expansive and directing us towards the fulfillment of our unique purpose.
  • Let us rest assured that each present moment is nourished by Divine grace; granting our eternal legacy of love.

Ebb And Flow: Birth Day Thoughts, Oct. 14, 2016

“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” Dalai Lama

We are born to experience, learn, grow, and LOVE…. And whether or not we choose to fully embrace the life we are given, one day our opportunities will be spent and our life will be over. As the Dalai Lama warns us, more of a loss than any life ending, is that of a life never fully lived.

If this prognosis is depressing to you, it may be a wake-up call. Every moment offers its own joy; each unwittingly passing you by because of a fundamental disconnection. While you dare to wish for what you desire, life demands more of you in order to attain your desire.

We must live with the intention of making each moment count, immersed in the conscious awareness of giving and receiving of LOVE.

In order to expand beyond superficial awareness, we are granted a long series of experiences from which to learn, as each offers to support and nourish us through growth. We begin our journey as we are expelled from the only home we’ve known; where we have been nurtured in sublime peace through a miraculous 9-month evolution. This marks our transformation from seed to human being through being nurtured and nourished with a mother’s love. The experience may unfold after allowing for possible forceps delivery, perhaps numerous changing of hands from delivering doctor to assisting nurse, as we are flicked for reaction, checked for vitals, and subjected to post-partum cleanup, for good measure. At some point shortly after our first breath however, we are likely to be delivered back into the loving hands of the one whose familiar energy perfectly resonates with our sole/soul experience.

Our earliest moments constitute our arrival into the most sacred mystery of life. Imagine the need for safety and security after the tumultuous experience of birth, as we are quickly united in “oneness” with our source. We now experience love as inseparable from life itself. This hallmark becomes the template for all growth, evoking in us the felt sense of peace through“being loved”. This and other early experiences of love presage our most intimate need for safety, that help us recognize our inherent “right to exist”. All the experiences from birth to mid-childhood will determine our future self-esteem and establish our character. Multi-layers of scaffolding create what becomes our self-identity, the stage on which we will play out all the role(s) of our lifetime.

 There will be a vast array of productions in which to mould our lives, for better or for worse; each providing us with or denying us security and love. Each experience will instil us with hope and optimism, or relentless insecurity and fear. All varieties of scripts are presented for our growth. Each scenario offers something different.Every experience and relationship may deliver us deeper into the loving embrace of life, or to threaten our security by distancing us from our sense of love and safety. We begin as helpless beneficiaries of whatever script is handed us. Powerless and dependent, we cycle between events that move us towards or away from resonance with our heart.

Those who have produced us (parents and caregivers alike), shape us even according to their own early circumstances. We are each a single link in the chain of a multi-generational legacy. If we are truly fortunate, we may enter once again into a familiar sense of oneness, causing our eyes to open inwards in search of the source. A brief experience of resonance may re-awaken the bliss we knew before we were separated from the womb. As though by the wave of a magic wand, we are suddenly awakened from the delusion of separation we suffered upon delivery into the world.

It is difficult to master control of the reigns without the confidence gain through early years of validation through unconditional love. Nature directs the ebb and the flow of energy for all human action and interaction, just as all things under the sun. As energy can be constricted and repressed from self-expression, so too the heart’s over-flowing capacity of to recognizes love emanates from within. Love is the singular, essential, pulsating life force that seeks eternal expansiveness.

Our allotment of days gives us ample time to increasing master our lives. With each step, we can grow in confidence, seizing control through self-directing hands. Increasing clarity helps us chart our own course through life, keeping our eye on the prize that is our sacred destiny. Our heart’s mission is to bring back us into the freedom of being all we are,  breaking ties to all that binds us and blinds us.

Anxiety, depression and other signs of emotional dis-function are demonstrations of diminished life force that act as signposts to awaken us. Too much time has been spent in inattention of our needs.  At other times, our physical body may swell with inflammation, i.e. through chronic manifestations such as irritable bowel, autoimmune disorders, etc. Alternately, we may suffer from various “dis-eases” of constraint that block our vital energy channels; i.e. heart disease, stroke, etc. Shifting direction becomes necessary to achieve a path congruent with our heart’s longing.

All manifestations of disease are to some degree, an externalization of internal oppression. Relentless suffering at our deepest core is unsustainable. Inner-suffocation unleashes our silent scream to awaken us. The long absence from feelings of “unity” and “oneness”  are stirred in order to awaken us from our slumber of delusional thinking. No longer can we be satisfied with “everything is okay”.

 A time before birth, bathing in a womb of security and ease, long forgotten, still resonates. Our whole being longs to return to our familiar mantle of peace and comfort. The body remembers.

Once we have re-experienced bliss for even a single moment, we re-activate the body’s memory; a system of collective and eternal memory embedded in our human physiology, from time immemorial. The re-activation of past bliss-memory is a dramatic moment of re-awakening; a sudden return home to where we feel a sense of belonging. It turns out “home” is that feeling of belonging; indelibly linked to the safety of our first home… the womb. Our experience of feeling a sense of belonging can be re-established at will. All life experiences are opportunities to prime our senses towards varied elusive pleasures, aimed at igniting a longing for the sweetness of coming home.

Each positive experience alludes to the blissful security home offers. Every painful experience awakens in us, the need for what our heart is relentlessly seeking. A life lived with pain, even at the hands of those we consider enemies, is a life pleading with us to awaken to a better reality; the familiar resonance our heart is constantly attuned to.

Mindful choice grants us the ability to choose the path that leads to unity and oneness. Thought is energy. We may thoughtfully pick up the reigns and fully re-possess our energy in effort to direct our journey along a path of love and compassion. As each successive signpost directs us towards a flow of deeper peace and greater ease, we find New Harmony. With each new moment, we gain affirmation of our direction. Our sense of life-flow prevails, while yet-to-come ebbs are minimized as we chart our course in resonance with love.

In the end, this is our journey, alone to determine. We have been set forth in life by those who have come before us. We are given ample opportunity to make of our lives what we choose. On this Birth Day, my wish is for all sentient beings to discover what it means to live in unity and oneness with the flow of life itself, through love and compassion, in peace and with ease.

How Pain Informs and Forms Us – A New Understanding

Every experience we undergo from birth onwards (and many will argue from long before this time) is a defining experience, to a greater or lesser degree. The degree of impact each event has on our lives is relative to its perceived value at the time. We value things most highly when they resonate at the deepest level of our Self.

 

Due to our complete dependence on others in infancy, our core essence is at its most fragile and pure at this stage. As we develop increasing competence, we begin to gradually lessen our dependence on external factors. Until and unless the transition of our power centre (from outer to inner) is complete, we remain insatiably driven to protect our tender core. We continue to adapt, through our innate sense as well as externally driven impositions. Early adaptations to circumstances that threaten our wellbeing and security, along with a constellation of other subsequent protective adaptations, when repeated over time become recognized as our “personality” traits. Whether we are labeled as self-confident and ethical, or arrogant and immoral, depends largely on how our sense of self concretized from early circumstantial challenges, over time.

Behaviors that were once purely adaptive, inured us from suffering our wounds. Through development and maturity, past scars harden and potentially become debilitating. All residue from past wounds left unhealed, even when not overtly crippling, limit our access to a vast potential trove of choices we would otherwise have available to us. Just as a physical scar contracts around its edges in order to bind two tissues of the body, thus limiting our mobility; so too, emotional scarring constrains our expansive potential and impedes the natural emotional resilience we require to stabilize our psyche.

Years of operating under emotional restraint eventually renders us hemmed in by inflexibly narrow parameters. Past incidents that were endured in wordless silence remain entrenched as deeply felt daggers of shame. Shame threatens our sense of self, etching our memories of inadequacy deeply through to our most profound and subtle layers. The closer the wound to our soul, the greater the need for protective measures undertaken to guard our vital spirit.

The past forever informs who we are for reasons above. To ignore, deny, or repress our painful past moments (despite our innate self-protective inclination) prevents healing of those wounds. Without healing, we remain forever limited in our freedom to express, explore, and create our selves outside of externally restrictive boundaries.

Though all behaviors at point of origin serve us protectively, those same boundaries (self-imposed or otherwise), eventually restrict the necessary freedom required to navigate a spiritual awakening and return us home to our Self.

Emotion is in fact, a physical and psychological embedding of our reactive body responses to events when we were unable to express ourselves otherwise, i.e. act out mindfully.

Without rattling our defensive apparatus that has long acted as security for our soul, we are denied access to our most vital field of creative potential. As soon as we begin to shake loose some of our painfully held memories, energy is set in motion. Until shaken free, we are prevented from releasing our pain and regaining our creative freedom required for living fully in the present moment. Pain often provides a direction to move forwards upon its release, but until such time only acts as a yoke of restriction for us to resist.

Painful energetic imprints dig their way deeper and deeper into our central nervous system; psychologically via our personality and physically via illness. Alternatively, physical and psychological symptoms may converge through the ennui of exhaustion from endless consumption of energy used for suppression.

rear-view-mirror

We may view the journey of life as driving on a roadway; focusing on our view ahead through the broad windshield that serves as our primary lens. Simultaneously, we remain aware of visual access to a smaller rear-view mirror; providing not a source of distraction, but a supplementary tool to broaden our scope and further assist us in safely reaching our destination.

If the use of our rear-view mirror becomes a distraction and holds our gaze for more than a moment, we jeopardize our ability to navigate the path directly in front of us. As we navigate our way mindfully, we inevitably encounter unexpected turns and impediments that continually transform the living landscape. A stream of new information, such as those offered by modern “Apps.” can continually update us by feeding more direct routes with less inconvenience to reach our destination. We are wise to be aware of the caveat for all external assistance devices (however well designed to assist us) will at times mislead us by their inherent limitations.  At other times we will be subject to our own errors and limitations, as our shifting awareness moves us from one path to another in search of never-ending ideals or goals.

Only once we have our gaze firmly in line with the primary intention of spiritual growth regardless of means available, are we secure in knowing that all alternate paths lead to the same sacred goal.

Once we accept there are a myriad of ways the universe sets forth for us to attain spiritual growth, we can more readily work towards achieving emotional freedom from past wounds. There is no event that cannot be utilized for the reverent energy it conveys for spiritual elevation.  Pain is often greater than joy (perhaps because its effects tend to stick like Velcro) in providing the ultimate messages we require to learn what is necessary for our spiritual development. Whereas, the impact of even our greatest moments of awe and joy tends to slide off of us over time (comparable to Teflon).

Pain burns deeply under our flesh, into the core of our being as a tribute of remembrance to whom we once were and that “place” we long to return to. Only then, can we be truly at ease with where we are in life; accepting the past and embracing of all of our choices. The singular earnest intention aimed towards spiritual awakening provides all the necessary guiding light for our travels.

We are all aspects of one universal energy, sharing a common origin as well as future; our connection to all divinity exists in a realm outside of time and space. The notion that spiritual growth is not a priority now… maybe later… is the greatest delusion of all. Once we accept there is only now, it is clear there is no time to waste. Make every moment count; for there is only now… and now… and if you miss this message, do not fret, as “now” exists in every next moment you have.

Outside of time, there is no future and no past. There is only now.

Take this opportunity to expand your scope of vision through the entire span of the front windshield. Cleanse it thoroughly for ultimate clarity before starting your journey anew every day. A clear view will diminish careless errors along the way and guarantee a safer ride. It is wise to keep checking the rear-view mirror as well as glancing laterally at side-view mirrors to assist you gaining the broadest possible scope. Those who travel along side your journey will assist in your lateral view, as they share their expectations and advice with you. Be mindful of many, whose personal need for control will attempt to steer you towards the only journey they have control over; their own. With mindfulness, one can never be disappointed regardless of route chosen. All routes emanating from a true heart-felt desire, guided by spirit will bring you closer to fulfilling the mission of your soul.

To glance in the side-mirror is to listen to those around you, all-the-while knowing the external data remains yours for discernment. Check in with your inner GPS frequently and deeply… for guidance directly from the depth of your soul, experienced through the language of your heart.

Every experience along our life journey is a part of what informs our  mission and forms our unique being. Stay focused on the road ahead. Remember the mirrors of time hold sacred information to be used as tools to assist us along our journey.

Expansion Versus Contraction – The Nature of Being

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Perhaps today’s political polarization is an inevitable part of our human history. Cycles of expansion and contraction have characterized all eras of human history, ruling over the natural order of human evolution. Today Trump repeatedly asserts that in order to make America great again, “We must build a wall to keep out all who…” Perhaps this contractive statement is best understood through human nature itself.

We are born as infants, owing full debt to our primary caregiver, without whom survival is not feasible. We begin life in this contracted state of full dependence, unable to exercise our  will for anything but survival, unable to care for our developing emotional needs without risking that vital connection to caregiver. We learn quickly by embodied experience that we depend on our bond to whoever controls our destiny; we give of ourselves completely to appease their whims, their moods, their needs, lest they should reject us.

Life begins in a contractive state that compels us to identify with our need of connection for survival, that above any other self-need. Only as our nervous system (including our cognitive function) develops are we able to begin the journey into expansion by separation from our caregiver through the process of individuation (i.e. discovering our personality). We evolve by seeking definition between our self and those around us. We marvel at any small act of self-empowerment. For a young child, the impact of throwing a stone in the water and watching its ripple effect provides a thrill as the product of their unique effort. There is a first time where we experience our self as a cause rather than an effect, and this sets the wheel in motion; forever seeking greater autonomy. We develop a sense of self, gaining step-by-step sovereignty over our self… until the “effect” mistakes it self for “cause”. At some undefined point, the ever-expanding ego becomes confused, believing itself to be the “cause” of who we are rather than the “effect” of our need for self-expression. It is then that we are prone to becoming lost in egoic delusion. The moment our mind is deluded by the mistaken belief that we are our ego, (i.e. confusing subject and object); at that moment we re-enter the contractive state. We move away from potential self-realization by ceasing to see our individuation as a mechanism for self-expression, contained within the vaster experience of our soul.

Once the ego eclipses our primary connection to the wholeness of humanity, we have lost our power to connect with the infinite. Our source of power is the infinite in us. All that responds to expansiveness, that is open to creativity, growth, and gaining experience that lends meaning to our lives, serves in recognition of our humanity and our wholeness. The benign in us, is any aspect that holds self-limiting, self-judging beliefs, and exports its power to systems outside our self. The ego is clearly defined by the latter.

Yet we must not disparage the ego, for it is an essential part of our evolution, our transformation. We must acquire it in order to master it. All the events of our life are but opportunities for us to recognize the deceptive nature of the ego and grant us the wisdom to re-assert true control over what we are. Expansiveness must follow nature’s order in evolving; it must wrestle back control from its counter-point of contraction. Contraction remains as vital to our growth process as does expansion, since they represent the yin and yang of life. We cannot have one without the other. One serves the purpose of affirming the existence of the other.

 

Advice For Reclaiming Self-Power –

It is essential to appreciate your sense of individuality, love yourself for all the unique traits you embody today. Don’t stop at that however, remember your individuality is but an aspect of your wholeness, designated to reveal the fullness of your truth at a deeper, more profound level. You are a spiritual being living in a physical body. You needn’t be confined to the narrow limits of physical awareness. You have the potential of living from all that you are. Your wholeness exists through your spirit-nature where interconnectedness is our common birthright.

Through the highly social character of our human nature, we feel the power of connection through satisfaction and joy derived from all loving and compassionate relationships. We are buoyed by feelings of synchronicity with others. As we gain maturity, we practice attunement with others as our basis for emotional self-regulation. We gain comfort as we share breath through speech, feelings through touch, and energy through movement. The bliss of human interaction lies in the fine art of synchronization, just as the skillful hands of the conductor coax perfect symphonic harmony from disparate instruments.

The whole of who we are is infinitely more gratifying than the sum of our parts.

I Know This Much Is True

I try to live by the guidelines of The Four Agreements. While they are simple in essence, they require our ongoing inward attention in order that we embody their words of wisdom.

One – Be Impeccable With Your Word – Say what you mean and mean what you say. The implication here is to speak truthfully. In addition, one must discern what should be said from what is better not spoken. Speaking one’s truth is important, yet there are times when silence is golden. The overriding objective of any life well-lived is to purposefully create conditions consistent with the greater  good, (i.e. collectively as well as personally). While we are not required to sacrifice self-integrity by committing to words or actions solely for the sake of pleasing (i.e. people pleasing behaviors), we are wise to discriminate when to speak up and when to hold our tongue.

Two – Don’t Make Assumptions – The human intellect offers us many advantages. Along with advantages, there are some very consequential drawbacks. Active minds are forever seeking something to mull over, searching for activity is the nature of the mind much as a dog will seek a bone/toy to chew on. Without concrete information, the brain masterfully spins a yarn. It weaves together loose fragments of data, i.e. sensory input, old memories (i.e. stored for what they actually were as well as mistaken through lost pieces of processing or retrieval) and knowledge gained through outside sources (i.e. learning). It is then beholden to confabulate some fantastic narrative. Triggers can awaken memories of long past events, particularly those laid down in haste (i.e. cases of insufficient metabolism of what occurred). We understand that PTSD is the brain’s erroneous retrieval of memories that were hastily stored (i.e. traumatically), resulting in memory retrieval at the suggestion of something even remotely related (i.e. being triggered), perhaps as the brain’s never-ending attempt to achieve resolution. To a lesser degree, we each are triggered by unresolved events of the past, (i.e. feeling rejected, abandoned, or judged as “not enough”). These emotional traps cause us to conjure up new scenarios representative of unresolved past events, in order to reframe them in the present. Our unwitting desire for resolution causes confusion and lends us to believe that whatever our mind is thinking is true. In truth, nothing could be further from the truth!! The mind is a vast compositor of misinformation.

Three – Don’t Take Anything Personally – What goes on around us is the result of many circumstances, past and present, seen and unseen, known and unknown. We engage in an act of arrogance when we assume that another’s actions or words (particularly as they affect us negatively) are specifically directed at us, i.e. by assuming words/actions of others are fully under their conscious control. A general life rule is people react outwardly according to how they perceive the world inwardly. In other words, people see the world as they are, not as it is. This suggests the onus for others’ actions lies upon their self-perceptions rather than on anyone or thing external to their self. When we believe what others say and do is attributable to our sense of being, this is akin to viewing the sun as orbiting the Earth. People make mistakes, all the time; get over it. The very fact that we all are prone to exercise judgment of others is evidence enough that we are all prone to error.

Four – Always Do Your Best – This agreement is subject to the greatest confusion. Unless our actions are undertaken with positive attitude and motivated by a pure heart, as we are rooted in present-moment awareness, they cannot be qualified as our best. Yet in truth, the effort of our sub-optimal actions may be “good enough” at times. Is it a reasonable expectation for anyone to always do his/her best?? We live in a cyber-paced world today, where multi-tasking is used to achieve simultaneous competing tasks. Brain studies show that brain circuitry does not favorably accommodate multi-tasking. The cerebral cortex can only be tasked with one assignment in any given moment so that each additional mission merely compromises its efficacy. In order to do our absolute best, we are required to dedicate ourselves fully to whatever is in front of us. In order to apply our selves in a task with an open heart, we must be free of negative attitudes, such as resentment, distrust, anger, and hurt. Being human makes us subject to a high degree of variability in our emotional state and unless we are in touch with our core truths, we are unlikely to know when we are being compromised. We owe it to ourselves to hold the light of self-compassion for our human frailty. Our limited ability for maintaining single-minded focus in application to any task is of constant challenge to us. Still, focus of our dedicated attention merits our sincere efforts.  So long as we bear this in mind, we are more apt to grant ourselves the compassion necessary for growth and evolving throughout our life. In the interim, we are only responsible for maintaining the best possible attitude and greatest degree of effort towards best possible outcome; albeit by doing our relative best at any given moment.

Continue reading “I Know This Much Is True”

Oh, What Greatness Lies Within – Part 2

“A piece of your brain the size of a grain of sand would contain one hundred thousand neurons, two million axons and one billion synapses, all ‘talking to’ each other. Given these figures, it’s been calculated that the number of possible brain states – the number of permutations and combinations of activity that are theoretically possible – exceeds the number of elementary particles in the universe.”

V.S. Ramachandran, Phantoms In The Brain (1998)

Now that you have gained a better understanding of the vast potential of your cognitive (thinking) mind, there is something more to consider…

Needs; not necessarily what you assume

a) Present moment (what you know)

b) Pre-existing (what you don’t know)

What prevents us from meeting our own needs??

Answering this basic question will help unlock access to your vast inner potential. The answers are multi-fold, unlike delusional beliefs offered by quacks and reinforced through Hollywood movies. There is no magic bullet for you to unleash your brain’s full potential. The complexity of your brain (of which the mind is but the thinking component) cannot be expected to offer such quick and easy solutions. Reality demands that your needs extend far beyond what you assume to be true (let’s call this, “what you know”). Virtual reality of the mind is based on your distorted awareness of past needs (for simplicity, we’ll call this, “what you don’t know”).

You are required to remove your blinders if you wish to uncover (and respond to) the truth of your present day needs. You are constantly constrained through default mode operation, a residual of past experiences (i.e. what you don’t know). These pathways take root with minimal effort, quickly becoming habit. Your present state of mind (i.e. what you think you know) contains a window to the past, as it filters your long-felt needs through your present lens of experience. A self-denied need (i.e. what you don’t know) may confer much greater urgency to action than a conscious need (i.e. what you know), since awareness offers you free choice, i.e. ability to shift your thinking mind.

Why is this so confusing??

If it sounds confusing, the truth lies in the confusion!! Early on, as infants we had one pre-eminent need, that for survival. In innocence, our awareness (even before we were thinking beings) was driven solely by the need to survive. Your survival need is met by maintaining the vital bond to your caregiver, prompting all secondary needs to take a back seat but not to disappear. This rule sets your default apparatus down, a habitual operating mode that may last a lifetime and sends your unfulfilled needs into hiding. This pre-condition for your central nervous system remains in place even once you have outgrown our need for it. It may cause you untold suffering in later years.

 As adults, especially those living in democratic first-world societies, we have been conditioned to believe we have capacity for free choice. Mental conditioning supports delusion. You remain unaware that freedom of choice may be upended by old circuitry. Residual thought patterns (conscious and unconscious) of old belief systems block your ability to achieve, and sabotage the pursuit of your goals. Uprooting old circuitry is the basis for re-establishing access to your unlimited potential within. Pre-existing conditions are not quick and easy to resolve. Change requires patience, practice, dedication, and a positive attitude.

 How many of us steadfastly apply all these virtues to our endeavours??

Today, the pursuit of knowledge can instantly be addressed via your fingertips, as cyber waves meet your quest for answers by connecting us to “Google”. Today’s minds lack initiative and opportunity for creative exercise in the same way our bodies lack tone and vigor, having become conditioned to sedentary lives. No gain that comes without effort is truly cost-free.

How do we recover our potential for access to true freedom of choice?

To achieve a well-toned and well-conditioned physique, it is necessary to stick to your intention to create change, over the course of many months and years. The process requires you to nourish the conditions for growth, and commit to years of subsequent practice to sustain all hard-won achievements. All seductive tools and marketing ploys aim to exploit human weakness looking for a quick fix. There is no substitute for hard work. There is no better option than to focus your attention on learning skills, followed by repeated practice of skills to establish new behavioral patterns. This formula offers you the closest thing to a guarantee for achieving your desired results. You will build the best body your genetic code permits. It’s really as simple (not easy) as that!!

 Dedication is the true cost of admission to the access point for all your creative potential. Just as for physical conditioning, fulfilling your mind’s creative potential requires your total commitment to the pursuit of self-examination throughout your lifetime. Painstakingly cultivating all pre-conditions for your mind’s growth offers the closest thing to a guarantee for freeing it from the obstacles that constrain it from within.

No pain, no gain.

Oh, What Greatness Lies Within – Part 1

“A piece of your brain the size of a grain of sand would contain one hundred thousand neurons, two million axons and one billion synapses, all ‘talking to’ each other. Given these figures, it’s been calculated that the number of possible brain states – the number of permutations and combinations of activity that are theoretically possible – exceeds the number of elementary particles in the universe.”

V.S. Ramachandran, Phantoms In The Brain (1998)

 

What The …??

The need to challenge the precision of the above quote may wrongfully render its message less than true. The data may be questioned, however its accurate implication is that every event, observation, and spoken word (expressed and heard) throughout your lifetime, generates an impact inside your brain. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” (Newton’s Third Law) An event’s relative impact is recorded by how the information is both processed and stored. Together, these actions bring about perception; that which lends unique meaning to life experience. Perception of each life event will affect your overall ability to live a purposeful and meaningful life.

As humans, our brains are uniquely endowed with expansive grey matter that allows for a vast network of internal communications. From this broad foundation, problem solving, interpersonal communication and creativity are born. As the previous quote implies, we were given the awesome birthright to render the impossible, possible. While demonstrating gratitude for this legacy is primary, let us next consider how to make the most of our inheritance.

For anyone who desires a life of purpose and meaning, you will be wise to first cultivate fertile ground in the mind…

Cognitive ability; the human capacity for thought via new connections between neurons

a) Genetics – Innate

b) Animation – Applied living

Clearly, the brain of Einstein and other great “thinkers” had some superior abilities to link old and new information, enabling them to use encoded information that had been stored as a result of past learning. Along with superior genetic ability, they required intention (i.e. to devote one’s life work to the discovery of universal knowledge (i.e. curiosity) along with commitment (i.e. persistent attention to their quest). This is the formula for engaging the brain in a ritual of cultivating new neural connections (i.e. creative insight). Harnessing the unique advantages of your genetic code permits you to act on free choice. From here, you can purposefully dedicate your life to humanity, in alignment with your highest goals. One might say that brilliance lies neither in our genes nor in our tenacity alone. Human genius ultimately lies in the balanced integration of both essential attributes applied to the quest for Truth.

 How is this awareness relevant to every mortal being?

There are likely few humans who own the rare genetic predisposition of Einstein or Newton. Yet, if you accept that the number of possible synapses (brain cell connections) is virtually infinite inside all of us, you are forced to conclude that each of us is heir to unspoken potential for limitless self-insight and awakening.

 

 

 

 

 

Where To Begin??

 ‘Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.’   Dr. Seuss

Can anything be more obvious than where to begin? There is nowhere better to begin than where YOU are, as YOU are, HERE…NOW.

This seemingly basic concept is so critical to beginning, that all 196 sutras (passages) of Yoga are premised on this very theme. The sutras are the individual threads of ancient Eastern knowledge, compiled by a dude (Patanjali) who sought to repackage age-old wisdom for the benefit of universal truth seekers for all time. Each sutra is a laser-beam of light aimed towards bringing us home, i.e. attaining our highest level of Self.

Yoga’s ‘how to’ manual offers up ancient yet relevant secrets that spell out how to live in the NOW with a more favourable ‘Wow’ : ‘Bummer’ ratio. The first sutra provides the foundation of all that follows, “NOW begins the time for direct instruction on the practice of Yoga”.

Yoga means union, referring to our potentially most sacred state of being; a state of oneness, where all energy is in union or flow with our Self, others, and the entire universe. “Oneness” brings us to bask in the chilled vibe of complete ease and peace, a.k.a. bliss, a reward granted without any external inducement (like addictive stuff some people opt for). If you don’t know what I’m talking about yet, don’t fret… all the more reason to stick with the program and discover how much inner power already exists by cutting through the dense layers that are blocking the way. A primary objective of Yoga practice is learning to control the natural wanderings of our mind (everyone has a degree of ADD) for the purpose of jiving within and without.

Still, there’s the problem of how do YOU begin NOW to transmit new knowledge into a brain that’s already fuller than full?? Yoga requires you to thoroughly digest and assimilate whatever is in this moment (it work similar to your gut), in order to gainfully metabolize your new skills.

You begin by understanding that you bring to the table all previous life experiences (including all lessons you were taught by those who love you most) that have conditioned you into believing that YOU ARE your story. You begin by understanding that it’s delusional to conceive new information through pure perception, having long ago become accustomed to seeing the world through a dusty (i.e. distorted) viewing lens. You begin to see that each experience since the moment of your birth, has etched its mark somewhere within you. From all experiences you recall with fondness or with dread, to the many thousands more that escape your recall; the psychic map of every life event lies embedded within your physical being. Within the vast, multiple layers of buried treasure that is our emotional trove, lays all our hidden motivations, responsible for every thought that precedes every false belief, every spoken word and every action. Who knew??

NOW begins the exploration. NOW begins the sweat and tears required for going down into the trenches to practice hard-won new skills. NOW begins the journey back to see the wizard; that all-important journey down the yellow brick road, past lions and tigers and bears, not to mention the terrifying witch and her broomstick; leading YOU back to your Self. NOW begins the experience of moving mindfully through Oz… into the light; to reclaim the spark of YOU that resides within. The discovery is none other than “There’s no place like home”, the core of your being; that makes YOU the truly exceptional, extraordinary, and unique individual that YOU are.

Through progressive enquiry combining insights of Yoga, psychotherapeutic tools and my own lived experience, subsequent posts of LightMoves.ca will be geared to offering you some insight, large or small, to assist you in finding your way back home. Home is where the heart is; Home is the centre of our being. Home, is where we  gain the courage, compassion, and inner-strength required to weather every storm without, to maintain equanimity within, to feel gratitude for all that we encounter, to live the life that is uniquely ours, with love and joy, wonder and peace.

I hope you will find new thoughts to ponder, new concepts to wrestle with, new dimensions to challenge you; and I gratefully welcome any sharing you have to offer. Through the skilful practice of communication that we have uniquely been blessed with as a species, humanity gains its best hope of learning through one another; understanding that every one of us acts as both student and teacher in this magical world we share together.

 

****I would like to dedicate each blog to someone who in some way inspired me in the direction of each post.

Today, I dedicate my first blog post to Sherry.