field
Dec 072016
 

From my vantage point as a church musician, I see this every year, repeatedly; the pain of Christmas.
At first, I couldn’t understand. It’s supposed to be a fun time, a time of celebration, of light and color and meaning. A time of happiness and reflection and coming out of the regular auto-pilot day-chasing-day state of mind. Where is all this pain coming from?
Where’s Merry?

The more people I talked with, a picture began to emerge. People were trying to play “their” part. I use the word Their in double quotes because objectively speaking, it is not theirs at all.

Christmas of Pain:
I was amazed at how people fell prey to this mass deception, to the point where they assumed the part that was never their’s to begin with.

This involved two major elements, very different from each other, but having one thing in common: Expectation:
Expectations that we have from others;
Expectations that we have from ourselves;
Expectations that we Believe that others have from us.

The first element in this picture of pain is family. The notion that this is a special time for family, gets easily out of proportions in a quickly spiraling manner. Thoughts such as:

  • We need to have Uncle Joe over
  • Last Christmas we had a nasty argument with Mary and we haven’t spoken since. What should we do? Is she expecting us to be calling her or should we expect her to be calling us?
  • It’s not right that we keep inviting these people and they never invite us back.

And more and more torturous thoughts accompanied by emotions of anger, hesitation, pain and anxiety.

The second element in the picture of pain is money and also time. Here too expectations take center stage.
This is money that would be spent primarily on presents and travel. Time would be spent on writing cards and various other preparations.

For many, both money and time are scarce and yet in many peoples’ mind, this is one of Christmas’ demands. Some people even go into debt just to feel that they’re doing the right thing – that is – what they believe to be the right thing.

Our expectations, and our thoughts about others’ expectations, keep us enslaved to a self perpetuating system of self pain infliction.

We can choose – believe it or not – to stop playing this game – first of all with ourselves – and then with the rest of the people in our world. As long as each person continues to play their role – one which they hate playing – the show will never end.

Christmas of Healing:
One; It’s OK to disappoint someone. After all, many get disappointed even when we try our best to fulfill their dreams and wishes. Even when we do what we feel is the right thing and even when we do what we believe that others expects of us, someone could always get disappointed. Why should we blame ourselves? It’s counter productive, self hurting and solves nothing.

Two; ‘Perfect’ is what we decide it to be. If we have in our mind a picture of what a Perfect holiday would look like, rest assured that:
1) It’s possible that it won’t happen.
2) It’s likely that we’ll be suffering as a result of our fantasies of a ‘Perfect’ Christmas left unfulfilled.

Please remember this word: “Expectation”. It is one central key to our experience of pain. At the same time, realizing its presence is also a key to our healing from pain.
One good way of going about this would be to ask a simple question:
What if I drop all my expectations? Or in other words: what if I consciously let go of any attempt to control or achieve any particular outcome?

You may be amazed at where this very simple Pause and Inquiry takes you. Truly amazed.

See with yourself whether you can truly internalize the following:
1) We cannot be everything, for everyone, all the time. Trying to challenge this fundamental truth is certain to bring on suffering with all of its glory, in a range of nuances and varieties which includes painful feelings (anxiety, anger, frustration, disappointment, jealousy etc’) and painful thoughts.

2) It is OK to disappoint others, whether those are adults or children. Just like inflation, expectations keep building up from year to year. That means that every year more is expected of us and the pressure increases. That is – as long as we choose to cooperate with this trend and play this game.
Sooner or later we will be unable to continue this upward expectation trend. Why not stop now – this very Christmas? We can always find reasons (aka excuses) to start next year, but then we’ll be perpetuating the pain. Then next year we’ll come up with new reasons.
Now is the time.

There’s a wonderful aspect to stopping the gratifying upward trend:
We may not realize this, but the other person is under just as much pressure as we are. When we step down this hamster wheel and stop playing this game, the other people – possibly after being disappointed by us – feel that they too, do not need to be everything, for everyone, all the time. They too begin to step down the hamster wheel one by one.

The best part in all this, is that once the emotional/mental storm quiets down, there’s much less pain, pressure and caustic feelings/thoughts and you’d be amazed at how the entire Christmas dynamics shifts from on of stress and pain to on of acceptance and love.

Please do not expect these printed words that your eyes are now scanning, to reveal to you the true magnitude of what they suggest. Only a mind-shift and a first step in a new direction could possibly achieve that.

In Grace

~ Oded

Jan 252016
 

I have very clear recollections of my earliest experiences with music. Listening to music as a one, two and three year old baby, music was pure magic. It was an actual mystical experience, with no notes, voices, instruments etc’, unmatched by anything else that this baby knew. It wasn’t just about sounds. It transported me beyond and out of the physical dimension of our reality.

In fact, I can vividly remember myself siting in my parents’ living room, on the carpet, in front of the speaker, listening to music. At some later point in time, I suddenly saw the speaker in front me. In between the first and second time of my noticing the speaker, I wasn’t there. I have no idea where I’ve been. But I do remember that I was fascinated and not at all asleep.

At the age of five, I picked up my first musical instrument. In the years that followed I practiced almost every day, learned music theory, listened to an increasingly larger and more diverse body of music, composed music, got an undergraduate degree in music and worked as a professional musician for many years.
In all these years and with all this hard work, I tried to become better as a musician. With every bit of progress that I’ve made, I was unknowingly losing something. I was coming closer to one thing, at the expense of getting farther away from something else.

What I was losing was the magic. The mystery and the mystical experience were no longer there. By the time I realized this, they were not there for already a very long time. The word remained the same – that is: Music – but it was transformed from a non-physical experience that cannot be grasped, into a bunch of data that was easily understood and devoid of anything magical: names of notes, rhythms, instruments, styles, tempos, keys etc’.

I had to undergo an extreme personal crisis which involved the collapsing of much more than just music, and later on completely lose any interest in music for several years. It was only after years of being indifferent to music – not making and not even listening to music – before I began noticing something special: a spark – something magical.
I had to let go of control (being a musician means to be in control), in order to rediscover – at least partially – the mystical experience that I once knew through music.

But what I have discovered this time around – now as an adult – is far more amazing;
I’ve discovered that the magic and the mystical experience that I have found through music as a baby, does not exclusively belong in the realm of music. The magic and the mystical experience are an inseparable part of the present moment. When I allow everything to stop – the doing, the thinking, the feeling, the talking – in the silence and stillness which then unfolds, the magic and mystical reveals itself in a way that cannot be denied. It’s real and palpable – perhaps even more real than what we call ‘Reality’.

Why am I sharing all this with you?

We all belong in a society that from day one teaches us things. The first thing that it teaches us, is to trust it and its teachings, as being something of value and importance which in time, will serve us as a necessary tool. We believe the messages that we receive and after a while they become subconscious; we no longer see a separation between what has been within us from the beginning, and that which has been imposed on us later.
I studied music because society’s idea was that gaining control over music (which in all truth, is impossible to begin with), will benefit me. I believed in that and I followed this idea every day for thirty five years. Only when reality hit me in the face hard enough to wake me up, was I suddenly aware of how wrong was the teaching that I’ve embraced, and how far I have gone from the truth and from reality.

I bring up music because it is my own personal example. But every person has their own unique path. So many of us live severed from reality – unknowingly. Just as I believed that my ideas, thoughts and actions were good and right and were serving me in the best possible way, so do many of us. So many of us live rather automatically from one day to the next, with this nagging recognition somewhere in the background, that there’s something much better, much deeper. We know this intuitively and recognize its truth. Some of us actually venture out to actively seek it by a variety of means, while some of us dismiss their inner truth as daydreaming and nothing more than mare imagination.

This might leave us with some questions:

  • Am I one of those people? Do I intuitively know that there’s something much vaster available to me than my day-to-day living?
  • What’s my path and where is it taking me?
  • In hindsight, do I see myself getting continuously closer to something, or continuously farther away?

And perhaps the ultimate question:
Am I even interested in asking myself any of these questions?

Apr 132015
 

They could be poor burglars stealing from individuals; extremely rich and powerful people stealing from entire countries; or anything in between. If they get caught, they may or may not be punished – depending on their financial abilities and connections – but regardless, their behavior is not acceptable by society at large and generally honest people prefer not to be associated with them.

Generally speaking, society considers such behavior as antisocial, and it is not difficult to feel anger towards such people, especially by those who need to work very hard to support themselves and their families. That makes perfect sense. People feel: “If I can contribute my time and hard work to benefit both society and myself, why shouldn’t everyone?”. It’s not difficult to understand such feelings.

This however, assumes that in essence “they” are just like “us”. But are they?

One is incapable of hurting anyone, in any way, unless they hurt and suffer themselves.

Some of those people who take from others, may feel that it is wrong and judge themselves as wrongdoers. At the same time they continue with theft and are unable to stop, just like any addiction. Some of them may be completely oblivious to their own actions, even when they pay a dear price for it.
It is amazing that some of these people have billions in the bank; they really don’t need any more money but they cannot stop.

It is almost surprising to find fear as part of this formula, but fear often disguises itself as a whole variety of different thoughts and emotions. Fear is part of this equation is various ways:
1) The fear of loss and of lack.
2) The fear of incompetency, of being incapable of doing something else.
3) Fear of being held hostage by accomplices, who may report past wrongdoing if one attempts to change their ways.

Other emotions are also possible:
1) Hate: “Everybody is stupid and they deserve to have everything taken from them”.
2) Anger, resentfulness or contempt: “I am much smarter than most people. I should have much more than others”.
3) Disappointment, frustration or retaliation: “I used to play by the rules and got crushed. Now I’m going to play by my own rules.”

Any of the above emotions are the result of suffering and hurting. Like all toxic emotions, they have very limited logic to them, which is also an indication of what limited view of the world such people have. They don’t see what many honest people know intuitively, moreover, they may be afraid to change and allow themselves to see beyond their current capabilities.

If punishing such people had been effective, we would have seen a decrease in crimes. But in reality we see the opposite. Punishment cannot solve this situation. We cannot lock them away and pretend that they are gone and the problem is solved. If we are to help ourselves as a healthy society, we must help these people.

Judgement, criticism, contempt, fear, hate and similar emotions, will not allow us to make any positive change. It is only by listening, becoming compassionate and with a lot of patience – like that of a loving parent to a misbehaving child – that we can begin, slowly and with many setbacks, to show such people unconditional love and acceptance. With time, it is those positive emotions that will help us achieve a positive change for them and for us. Love and compassion are true healers. And remember; by helping the other, we help ourselves.

Feb 282015
 

In my article “The dualism of Oppressor and Oppressed” I shared one way of observing the phenomena of the Oppressor and the Oppressed. But there is also a very different way of seeing it.

It is quite easy to be baffled by what Jesus had in mind when he said to turn the other cheek to our oppressor. Many people think that such behavior may be suitable for “holy” people, or otherwise people that are anything other than regular people – like ‘me’. After all, “an eye for an eye”, makes much more sense to many of us. But this is just a cultural thing. We have been programmed – literally – with concepts such as “an eye for an eye” from our earliest days. These concepts, being mostly subconscious, have become a part of what we consider the “I” to be.

Jesus’ teaching about turning the other cheek is very profound, insightful, true and – believe it or not – practical for our own time, for you and I.

The Oppressor uses the elicitation of fear in the Oppressed, to achieve that which they wish to have. The only way the Oppressor can achieve anything from the Oppressed, is through co-operation from the Oppressed. The Oppressed co-operates against their better judgement when being in the grips of fear, being fully aware that co-operating in this case is wrong. Once the Oppressed co-operates once, their resistance weakens and they begin to co-operate on a regular basis, essentially becoming slaves.

The Oppressed is you and I

When Jesus says to turn the other cheek, he is well aware that doing so is going to hurt. Jesus is far from being delusional. He knows that it’s going to hurt, and we too must understand that it’s going to hurt. When we turn the other cheek, with the understanding that it’s going to hurt, we have just annihilated our own fear. We have just become free. The Oppressor cannot do anything without our co-operation. They may slap our other cheek – figuratively speaking or not – again and again, and with each time that they do, and get the other cheek turned at them, they realize just how powerless they are.

Using words such as Oppressor and Oppressed, may conjure up thoughts about circumstances that may be extreme, aggressive or even violent. But much more often, the situations are far from that and may occur in, what most people would call “normal relationships”, where the notion of an Oppressor/Oppressed may not immediately come to mind. Sometimes, a simple smile (or the withdrawal of one), may be used as a tool by an oppressor to achieve what they want from the oppressed. And of course the extreme situations of physical, mental and emotional abuse, bullying etc’, are always there, and for some, that’s the only reality that they have ever known.

We already know what the world looks like when we succumb to threats and to our own fear. Very few of us have ever seriously considered turning the other cheek because it seems too foolish and self destructive…
… but what if we do turn the other cheek?

A few years ago I was dealing with illness. My doctors were unable to diagnose it and I was dealing with severe skeletal pain that originated with the joints and gradually spread to connective tissue and bones. I lived in constant pain for over a year.

At one point, in a moment of utter despair, I communicated with my pain. I said: “Go ahead, hurt me. Show me what’s the worst that you can do to me. I’m ready.”

In the moments that followed, I realized to my amazement, (and believe it or not, disappointment), that the pain was diminishing. I wasn’t sure whether I was imagining things, or whether the pain was “having a bad day”. Perhaps I was being misunderstood by the pain, or never actually communicated with it in the first place. Regardless, the next time that I was hurting I repeated this strange communication.
Every single time that I did, the results were the same.

I learned something profound; Fearing the pain increased it, while accepting and knowing it was coming, decreased it.

When we turn the other cheek with the knowledge, acceptance and expectation that it’s going hurt, it doesn’t hurt as much as it would when we fear the pain and do the best that we can to avoid it.

Pain itself has taught me this and I am passing it on to you.

Peace

Feb 152015
 

In my post “Is there a problem with money?“, I have just touched on the Oppressor/Oppressed dualism. Looking a bit closer at this, it would be natural to ask a few questions:

  • Who is an oppressor?
  • Who is an oppressed?
  • How can one tell them apart?
  • Can one become the other and vice versa?
  • Can one be both?
  • Can there be neither?

The moment we attempt to apply labels, problems begin. One person may seem to be an oppressor as an employer and at the same time be oppressed as a family member.
Also, there could individuals who consider themselves to belong to one of these categories, while many others may consider them belonging to the other.

The interesting thing that I have found with regards to dualism, is that whenever I see phenomena as one that’s dualistic – good/bad, right/wrong, pleasure/pain – I already know that there’s something which I fail to see. It is then that I need to take a step back and zoom-out, so that I can see a larger picture. I may sometimes need to repeat this zooming-out several times before a dualistic understanding makes way to oneness/wholeness.

We suffer when we take on the part of the oppressed. We feel powerless, acting out of fear, forced to do things that we don’t wish to do etc’. Many of us blame the oppressor for our suffering.

Surprisingly, we also suffer when we take on the part of the oppressor; we too, don’t do what we want. We may feel powerful in a way that’s limited to only certain playgrounds but not others. Fear is guiding us as well, since we feel that we have much to lose unless we exert power. Yet the more power we exert, the more seems to be needed. It’s both an uphill battle and a hamster wheel.

Either party may not be happy with the part that they have taken on, but that’s simply because happiness – as always – is not dependent on anything.

As Oppressor/Oppressed are simply parts that we assume, we all have both of these elements within us. When too focused on just a few narrow aspects of our life – that is to say, when our awareness is limited – we are unable to see both of these aspects/parts within ourselves. And so we live the illusion of being either one or the other when in reality we are neither. We simply assumed “an outfit” at some early point in our life, and with enough time allowed to pass, and repetition over the same thoughts, concepts and ideas, we have become convinced that this outfit is the “I”: It has become a belief. At that point we can no longer see the true “I” underneath the outfit that we wear. And if we think that the outfit is, in and of itself the “I”, then taking it off and having the freedom to choose any other outfit or even non at all, is not an option that’s even available to us. That’s because taking it off would be perceived as self annihilation.

The repeating pattern in all suffering and struggle, is a state of limited awareness/consciousness. (You may wish to read this sentence a second time).
We cannot simply order or force an increased awareness/consciousness, as we would with objects in the physical realm. It is humility, simplicity, letting-go, allowing and similar states of mind, that with time, consistency and repetition will gradually expand our awareness and allow us to see through the illusion of our own suffering.
The reasons and justifications that we give ourselves for our own suffering and struggle, are sure ways to keep us stuck in whatever unpleasant “reality” we may be in.
Whenever we feel that our life – what we call “reality” – appears to be an uphill battle, we should try to remember that it is just an illusion. That the truth, is that we are free right now. Circumstances have nothing whatsoever to do with it.
We – are – free – right – now.

Jan 292015
 

Whenever it comes to spirituality, it almost seems as though Money is a bad word. It is presented as if it is on the opposite end from spirituality. There are many possible reasons for this. Perhaps one them is that money is considered as belonging to the materialistic/physical world, used for purposes of materialistic attainment, while spirituality is used to attain something which is non-materialistic.

Whatever the reasons are, everything has a spiritual aspect to it – everything – money included. But perhaps some of us have developed certain complexes when it comes to money, as well as the fear underlying the wanting for money. And this may be another reason why money and spirituality seem to be on opposite ends.

Fear hardly ever exists as fear, in plain sight. Most often it disguises itself in a host of various forms: practicality, responsibility, maturity, being a part of society, care for others, need, reality and the like. But those who are not afraid to give themselves a close hard look, will sooner or later discover within themselves some kind of fear, hidden quietly, hoping not to attract any attention, since that would be the beginning of its demise.

The fear could be that of lack, of loss, of abuse, of need, of pain, of loss of control, and so many other kinds. Fear is what the oppressor uses against the oppressed to get what they want. At the same time, it is amusing that it is fear, which causes the oppressor to behave that way in the first place.
(I have dedicated a separate post to this dualism, called “The dualism of oppressor and oppressed“).

There used to be life before money. It was based on bartering; I help you with my talents, you help me with your talents. This is the core of what society is all about. The nice thing about bartering is that it doesn’t allow the control of a large group of people by a small group, something which money allows.
Money creates distance between people; no more do I know what other people do, because I don’t need to know. Everything now is done using money. The slow and painful collapse of our economy, for those who are not in complete denial, is a clear sign that this system cannot maintain itself indefinitely.

But we don’t need to dream of a utopian, money-free world to discover the spiritual aspects of money. As soon as we can discover (or rather, uncover) some of the fears that drive our lives, we can begin to realize our own inhibitions as well as some old complexes and let go of our – sometimes unrealistic and incorrect – understanding of money.

Where there is no fear, there is always enough money. That’s because one form of fear, is the fear of being unable to continue our current standards of living, which many find paralyzingly frightening. Change is around every corner and it often gives no early warnings when it comes. Those who fear change may have a constant need for money, when in fact their true need is for a sense of security. (You may refer to an earlier post of mine: Seeing through the illusion of Stability and Security).

When we begin to ask “How much is enough?” or “What are my true needs?”, or “What can I give up, give away, do without?”, we begin to see our own fears: what they are and perhaps what’s behind them.

The above questions are just a small sample. There are many questions that we can ask, that have the potential to bring us closer to an understanding. There is a lot that we take for granted as “real” and “reality” which we never question. We then become slaves of such distorted understandings of reality, one which we may have never truly examined. We may have adopted other people’s ideas and assumed those to be true for us as well. It may not necessarily be the case though.
The only way to become free of such hidden subconscious fears is to begin asking questions, which some people may consider redundant, childish and even downright idiotic. And it is again fear which stands between where we’re at right now, and asking the first question, and then the second question etc’.

Money has, just like anything else, its own spiritual dimension. We can discover it once we begin to shed the many layers that have kept us separate from that. When there’s no longer subconscious fear hidden somewhere in our psyche, money loses much of its mystical power, and becomes nothing more than a tool. Sometimes there’s more money and sometimes there’s less, yet fear is no longer a part of this simple reality. We see through our own behavior, how far we were willing to go in order to have money, including losing our happiness, giving up values that are important to us, willing to become slaves for others and more. At that moment we become free.

Peace within.

Jan 072015
 

How amazing is this; “I”!
Most people never get to think about it, so here it is:
From a purely statistical/probability perspective, how unlikely it is for me to BE – that is – through birth. It would have been more likely that I would have not come to be born in the first place. The very fact that “I AM”, the very fact that I can say “I” and that there is in fact an “I”, is to me totally amazing. An opportunity that is unparalleled by anything.

The vast majority of us are busy with the nuts and bolts of daily life, too busy perhaps to think “fluffy” spiritual thoughts as this one. But without an “I” in existence, there would be nothing else. There would not be any entity to be doing the doing, to be doing the living, whether it is smiling, complaining, hurting, working, talking, thinking, feeling or zoning out.
Being, is the greatest gift possible.

Jan 072015
 

Whatever choice we make in life, serves as an exclusion of everything else. Every single moment is a crossroad. By choosing a path, we cannot simultaneously walk any of the other paths.

That’s tremendous power that we have, if one is to consider the option – which again – is also within our power.
The option is choosing not to choose. By making this choice, we become observers, basking in infinite potential: anything is possible – any road can be taken at any given time, yet is left untreaded.
This too has tremendous beauty and power, although of a very different kind.

Further practicing our freedom to choose, we can alternate between times when we choose to take action (via thought, word or deed) thereby treading a particular path, and other times when we choose to “zoom out”, separate ourselves from the “equation” and simply realize the unmanifested potential of being able to choose at any point.

Nov 112014
 

There’s a saying:
“The greater the expectation, the greater the disappointment”.
Most of us have expectations. We use our expectation as one of the means to guide us. That is to say, we create an invisible line connecting the action in the present moment, with the expectation for a certain outcome in the future. This line that we create is a path and a path is a direction. This way we know (or so we may think) where it is that we’re headed.

But what are expectations?
We can only expect something that is familiar. We can only expect something that we already know that exists. In other words, anything that we can possibly expect, belongs by necessity in the past.
Effectively, our expectation is for the past to replay itself – preferably, the more pleasant parts of the past.

But the future holds the potential for the unimaginable. It hasn’t yet happened, and it could be anything at all.

When we exercise expectation, we block infinite possibilities from entering our life. Possibilities that are not a part of our past knowledge or experience, and therefore are beyond our ability to imagine. And so effectively, and usually subconsciously, we use our own expectations to create a life that is repetitive and with little meaning. The path that we create via expectation, is therefore not a straight line, but a closed loop.

What’s the difference between having an expectation and having no expectation?
The fear of the unknown and the unfamiliar.

As long as life is lived in fear, this fear creates an invisible boundary that marks the end of one’s own world/life/sphere of existence. Anything outside of those boundaries is inaccessible for those individuals. The greater the fear, the smaller the size of one’s own sphere of existence – one’s own world.

Not only that; exercising fear, feeds fear. It makes it more powerful and it invades more and more parts of our life. It paralyzes us. Hope, by the way, is just an expectation. We created a vocabulary that favors a certain type of expectation over other kinds, we called it hope, and decided that we value it. But hope too, is based on our past knowledge and experience, and so our hope doesn’t allow for the truly amazing and unknown to make an entrance into our sphere of existence – into our life.

There’s a saying:
“Hope is the last thing that one loses”.
My wish for us all is that the next thing that we lose – and hopefully very soon – will be our hopes, along with all other expectations. Once we do, those invisible boundaries that encase and contract our world, will disappear. Every single day will become an experience of amazement at the vastness of the possibilities, amazing synchronicities that will happen for no apparent reason and an experience that the world is helping us every moment and with everything. Anyone who hasn’t experienced this, doesn’t know that such a reality truly exist. And this reality too, is only one possible reality. There is an infinite number of realities that are possible. Our thoughts, opinions, state of mind, beliefs etc’, decide which reality is going to be ours.

Expect nothing, Allow anything, and be amazed.

Oct 182014
 

A job, a house, a family, faith, a steady relationship, knowledge, a field of specialty . . .   these and many others serve as our measuring stick for what we call “security” or “stability”.
Many of us regard the words “security” and “stability” in the particular context of “something that is good, beneficial, preferable, desirable and which should be sought and pursued”.

This view ignores one very important thing: Reality and the Truth. The Truth is that a job, family and all the others, are temporary. We have some of them some of the time, and then they are gone. At the same time, we use our labels of “stability” and “security” in an attempt to find everlasting happiness. We confuse our own labels of “stability” and “security” which are impermanent, with happiness which we’d like to experience constantly. We confuse happiness, which can only come from within, with a long list of items that come from the outside: a job, relationships, occupation etc’.

All on our own, we create this powerful illusion and perpetuate it day after day, year after year, one thought at a time – constantly.

The Truth is this;
There’s nothing wrong with having money.
There’s also nothing wrong with not having money.
Happiness has nothing to do with either.
There’s nothing wrong with having a relationship.
There’s nothing wrong with not having a relationship.
Happiness has nothing to do with either.

Happiness has nothing to do with anything. It is a natural product of inner peace. It is our natural state of being (prior to our own interfering) and does not depend on any circumstances – not even health. We use our thoughts, ideas, words, emotions and habits to create an illusion of reality, which we then believe. These thoughts, words, emotions, habits and ideas are akin to throwing pebbles into a still lake, disturbing its surface – without realizing that we do – and then waiting for this lake to become still. Only when we stop, can we finally see through our own self-created illusion / self-deception, and realize that we don’t need anything in order to become happy right now, regardless of whatever the circumstances may be. Not because “it could be worse”, but because everything simply IS, beyond good and bad, seeking and rejecting, and whatever other labels we attach to life and the world. As long as we don’t experience inner peace, the illusion still exists.

When we have a job we could lose it, we could lose our house in a fire or storm, we could lose a loved one and we could lose our health or body parts. All the things that we regard as secure and stable are an illusion. Just like a statue made of salt that would melt with the next rain.

And somewhere deep inside we know that all these things are perishable. This is why we are anxious – we struggle to keep this false stability in place, knowing very well that destruction could be waiting just around the corner. We create contradiction inside of ourselves and perpetuate it. It takes tremendous amounts of energy to live in self deception moment by moment for one’s entire life, and we can only stop once we begin to see through our own self-created, self perpetuated illusion.

Unhappiness, anxiety, bitterness, anger, confusion, disappointment, shame, cynicism, doubt, blame – these and many more are a wonderful indication that we live and believe the illusion. When there’s no illusion, all that there is left, is peace. Happiness is a natural byproduct of peace.

Sep 272014
 

When I criticize someone, I’m really saying: “I am better!”.
I say that I am better because of a soft, practically inaudible voice inside of me that’s saying: “You’re not good enough”. Every time that I criticize someone, I reinforce that small inner voice, giving it the strength to speak again and weaken me further.
This is a closed loop; a negatively-self-reinforcing cycle. It never ends . . .
. . . unless I refrain from criticizing.

Initially – when I wish to refrain from criticizing someone – I may still be criticizing them mentally, yet without voicing it. Later, as that self-destructive inner-voice weakens further, even the criticizing thoughts will cease. Once they do, I become free, strong, happy and certainly much more than merely “good enough”.

Aug 312014
 

Every four years the olympics take place and usually new records are set. This could mean that athletes today are better than athletes twenty, fifty and hundred years ago.
But I don’t think so.

For the most part, new records lie within a narrow range over the previous records. Very early on, an aspiring athlete wishes to know the present record for their respective field. But why? Why should it even be important? Isn’t an athlete supposed to be the best that they can?

An athlete is indeed suppose to be he best that they can, BUT, they don’t know what that actually is. When they are given a number (the present record), they have a goal. Without such number, they don’t have a goal. But this goal is a double edge sword. It may help an athlete be better than they may be at the present, but at the same time it doesn’t allow them to be the best that they can be. That’s because in their mind, they subconsciously think that they may be able to break the record just a little. To most of them, the thought that they could create a record that is leaps farther than the present one, is not realistic. If the present record is timed at 2:45.77, many athletes would be inclined to think realistically that they can pass that by less than a second, or perhaps a second. Being able to achieve a time that’s five seconds faster, will be dismissed as daydreaming.

In other words, not having faith in a reality that is infinite and beyond what’s currently known, they choose to create an artificial limitation.

This profound life approach is not limited to athletes. We all seek the “middle way”, “safety zone”, that which is right; to do, to say, to think. We don’t give free reign to our originality – we are afraid that it may not be acceptable. We choke ourselves. Whatever we think, whatever we’re about to do or to say, we first look around to see what other people do, think and say. Then we adjust our original intention, so that it is acceptable, at least to some degree. As long as there’s somebody else who resonates with our thought or idea, we feel safe and protected, even if we are attacked by others. The thought of being attacked by everyone is one that is strong enough to change us into something that is lesser than are own truth.

But what about our truly original concepts, those that we will never be able to find around us?
Could you imagine today a world without personal computers? What would have happened if Steve Jobs, when he first had this idea, looked around and then said to himself: “Well, I don’t see anyone thinking about this. That’s probably not a good time for me to do anything about it”. Well, you wouldn’t know about him today, had that happened.

What about Orville and Wilbur Wright? Had they been thinking along this path, somebody else may have invented the airplane, or, we may have never had one.

Thought is very powerful and we would be wise to not underestimate its power – both constructive and destructive. Unfortunately, we live in a reality where thought is more often used destructively than constructively, particularly in self-destructive ways. We are so used to it that we are not even aware most of the time that we do.
Examples: complaining, becoming angry, gossiping, being closed to new ideas, criticizing others, worrying, expectations / disappointments, jealousy, retaliation, cynicism, arrogance, shame, doubt, guilt, selfishness, resentfulness, blame, discrimination, impatience . . .
These are all approaches that are like a game of ping-pong between the thought and the emotion, each reinforcing the other negatively and things spiral out of control.

Only through awareness we can make the switch and move to the constructive side of the spectrum. And only by stopping, can we discover awareness.

There’s nobody in the whole entire world that is the same as you. You are special and unique. You are one and only. Remember this every day. You are here to change the world, or you wouldn’t be here in the first place. By changing the world, I don’t mean that everyone is going to be the president or a celebrity. But if you approach a sobbing child, listen to him or her, and change their attitude from desperate and negative, to hopeful and positive, that child may actually become a president, and you were pivotal in setting their course. You changed the world, even if nobody knows about it – not even you.

The next time you look around to seek somebody else’s approval, ask yourself these simple questions: Is the other person the same as I? Are the things that are right for them, will necessarily be right for me as well? What am I afraid of?

Find your own way and be blessed.

Aug 012014
 


This blog post is quite different. Unlike my previous posts, there is no article here; all that there is are individual words. I selected words that I felt were Empowering, Healing and Uplifting. This post is not about reading – it is about contemplating. One’s gain from this post would be through allowing each word a moment, before moving on to the next one. Each word is an entire dimension with its own existence and meaning, be it logical, emotional or spiritual.
It would be nice if you could mention those words that had a special meaning to you. This can be done at the bottom, where there’s room for comments.

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

alive

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

peaceful

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

spiritual

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

wonderful

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

stillness

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

real

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

possible

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

infinite

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

quiet

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

believe

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

giving

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

divine

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

grace

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

harmony

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

kindness

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

light

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

simple

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

blessed

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

sunny

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

calm

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

transform

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

shine

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

answer

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

clarity

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

empowering

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

welcome

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

awareness

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

generous

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

merging

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

discovering

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

gratitude

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

awakening

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

change

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

becoming

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

eternity

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

growth

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

letting-go

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

purpose

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

realization

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

seeing

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

knowing

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

serenity

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

forgiveness

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

soaring

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

unlimited

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

sharing

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

wonder

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

morphing

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

transformation

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

oneness

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

surrender

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

transition

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

wholeness

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

beyond

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

trusting

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

wisdom

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

comfort

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

uplifting

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

experiencing

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

connecting

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

floating

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

inviting

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

openness

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

encouraging

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

silence

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

inspiring

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

endless

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

love

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

smile

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

renewal

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      

Jun 182014
 

Did you ever try to stop your addiction – right here and now, “cold turkey” – whatever the addiction may be?

Many of us try to do just that, and when we do, there’s an interesting phenomena happening.
Once we recognize that our repetitive practice does in fact fit under the definition of “addiction”, and further, once we recognize that a particular addiction is our adversary, a schism occurs and we become split:
One part wishes to be allowed to continue its practice of indulgence through addiction, while the other tries to overcome the impulse and eradicate the practice. One part is the adult, who knows that the practice is self destructive (to whatever degree), while the other is the child, which exhibits wanting. The adult has its reasons/excuses for aborting the practice, while the child has its own reasons/excuses for continuing the practice. Sometimes the child, just like any regular child, “wants just because it wants”, without any reasons or excuses.

Then there’s the will, or the judge. It oversees both parties, listens and finally decides. The adult has our own wellbeing as its goal, while the child uses tantrums to achieve its own goals.
Being the judge we get torn between the adult and the child. What may initially start out as minor wining, could quickly escalate into ear wrenching tantrums that may seem to increase exponentially by the moment.

Amazingly enough, we are completely free to choose whose side to support. Mentally at least, it is as easy to side with one party, as it is to side with the other. Yet the tantrums have an extorting power which is violent. And just as we end up so many times, giving in to a child’s tantrums, we do the same with the child within, who’s craving its substance of addiction.

The interesting phenomena that occurs, is that each time that we succumb to the child’s tantrums, in effect we give it more strength, so that the next time its tantrums will be more violent than they are now.

Likewise, when we patiently and lovingly, with understanding, say to the child: “I know that you really really really want (the substance of addiction), but it is bad for you, and I’m not going to allow you to hurt yourself or me” – the tantrums will become more and more violent, as they always do. This may go on for minutes, hours or even days, and it is most certainly heart wrenching, just as it is to see any child suffering.
At some point however, the tantrums begin to subside, as the child cries itself to sleep and we get relief – a wonderful experience.

Every time we choose the latter option, we effectively make sure that the next time there are tantrums, they will not be as violent as they are at the present. It doesn’t mean that the judge will not experience emotional pain and pity over the child and consider siding with him/her. It may take quite a few such trying experiences, in which the judge sides with the adult, under very violent tantrums, before the child’s tantrums become less violent.

Each time that the judge sides with the adult, the judge too, from its own perspective, becomes less prone to be swayed by the child’s violent tantrums, even when they are very difficult to handle. The judge begins to see how the child doesn’t have the maturity to protect itself and so the judge gradually realizes that only he/she can protect the child from further self-inflicted damage and pain. When this happens, even if the child’s tantrums are very violent, the judge gives the child a loving hug, and says: “I know that you are hurting. It will hurt for a while, before it finally relents. You will have to be patient”.

Just about anything in our life, could be an addiction, not just drugs and alcohol. Addiction can be to: work, sex, shopping, seeing the doctor, eating, drinking any non alcoholic beverage, taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs, TV, internet, Google, need for love or pity, need to be approved of, rituals (both religious and non-religious), habits, being kind, volunteering and anything else that is part of one’s life. Nothing is exempt from potentially becoming an addiction. NO-THING!

When we wake up to becoming aware of this inner dynamics within us – as laid out above – and we fully realize the power that we have to choose which party to side with – this in itself is a very empowering experience / knowledge / understanding. This awareness is our strongest tool to place in the hands of the judge when the time comes for him/her to make their decision.

You are not alone. The journey is not over, but you are getting better, all the time.

Jun 122014
 

There are two kinds of arrogance. In the first, we are aware of our being arrogant, while in the second we have no such awareness. We can begin to see the unaware kind of arrogance through any of the following, which belong in this category:

  • Making assumptions
  • Taking for granted anything at all (our body, health, relationships, home, abilities, capabilities, disabilities)
  • Having any expectations
  • Believing that we truly know anything (including knowing ourselves)

I can understand anyone who would resent reading the above; most of us don’t like to think of ourselves, or be thought of as being arrogant and according to the above, 99% of us are arrogant. But if we consider “humility” to be the opposite of “arrogance”, and try to find where exactly the dividing line between these two polar terms cross, we may find ourselves continuously pushing the line towards “humility”.

Suffering is not a standalone phenomena. Imagine a pendulum swinging from one side to the next; On one side is suffering – on the other is pleasure, happiness and satisfaction. When the pendulum is stabilized in the center, that’s where there’s inner peace, a sense of wellbeing, relief and stillness.

Arrogance is instrumental in pushing the pendulum further to the suffering side, giving it more momentum and preventing its rest at the center. The reason for this is that we unknowingly use aware/unaware arrogance to protect ourselves against the truthfulness of reality, which is always unknown. We create an illusion of stability that is non existent and at some point the inevitable happens – reality strikes and we break down along with our illusion.

Looking again at the list above we can see that making assumptions, taking anything for granted, having expectations etc’ are all prone do surprise and disappointment. Those result in suffering to one degree on another. The stronger the expectation, assumption etc’, the stronger the surprise. If the surprise is pleasant, the pendulum is pushed to the “happiness side” and if the surprise is unpleasant, the pendulum is pushed to the “suffering side”. Either way, the pendulum is given momentum and the peace and wellbeing that’s in the still center escapes us.

Some of you may think that arrogance is better avoided but that happiness, satisfaction and pleasure on the other hand, should actually be sought. But again, one cannot exist without the other. True peace and equanimity exist beyond good and bad, pleasant or unpleasant. It is the same in the face of turmoil, loss, grief and illness as it is in the face of pleasure, satisfaction and happiness. It is the liberation from circumstances. When we are no longer in the graces of what the next moment brings – which is always unknown – we become free.

May 162014
 

Did you ever notice how people’s voices change in response to changes in their circumstances, thoughts or emotions? When someone talks on the phone for example, and we don’t see the other party, we can tell by their voice whether they just received good news or bad news, or whether they got surprised, angry, anxious or made happy. It is all reflected in the voice.

Also did you notice how one person could be using a different tone of speech and also a different choice of words when they talk to an employee versus a co-worker, an employer, a judge or a potential investor? It is the same person in all cases, yet their voice and vocabulary can be very different.

We can see how our tone of speech and choice of words can instantly change in response to changing circumstances, emotions, thoughts and other factors, all occurring over a short time span. But the same phenomena also occurs over much longer time spans.
Individuals who live with constant anger, reflect it in both their tone of speech and selection of words. But that is true not just for anger, but for any mindset or attitude that one lives with daily: enthusiasm or anxiety, charisma or self hate/criticism, happiness or low self esteem, etc’.

Tone of speech and choice of words also tend to be different between different age groups, between those with friends and family and those who are lonely, those who do financially well and those who are financially challenged, those who handle change gracefully and those who fear change and much more. The more one becomes aware to tone of speech and choice of words being used – either by ourselves or by others – the more one can notice a connection between one’s life in general and their speech.

Here’s what’s happening: there is a closed, subconscious, self-reinforcing feedback loop between speech, emotions, thoughts and actions. It operates below the level of our awareness and we don’t realize its existence, unless that’s where our attention is explicitly focused.

Our speech – both tone and vocabulary – is an intimate reflection of our world and life at the present moment – both its inner and outer manifestations. That means that our speech conveys our character, habits, energy level, thoughts, emotions, etc’, all which are inside of us. It also conveys our relationships, jobs, finance, activities, communications etc’, all which is outside of us. These two spheres are in essence our life and our world. It is everything that we have and know, as far as our awareness has it.
All the above observes speech when viewed as a passive entity.

At the same time, speech is also an active entity as our speech controls our life both directly and indirectly.
Our speech’s direct influence on our life is obvious: We say something and get a response. Different tone and different choice of words would generate a different response in our listeners. Talking in a calm tone and saying “thank you” would get us a piece of cake, while being loud and using offensive words could get us arrested.

It is however, speech’s indirect effect on our life that has much more power, both because we are unaware of its workings and also because it happens continuously over many months and years and could potentially build up tremendous power.

The words and tone that we use today and right now, create the emotional platform which then become the soil for the thoughts that follow. These thoughts in turn, will direct our actions, and create the life and the world of our tomorrow. And this is how a closed, subconscious, self-reinforcing feedback loop is created. With time, it becomes established and set. This is how so many of us get locked up in cyclical patterns that we’re not happy with. We feel stuck and the more time this has been going on for, the less hope we have for a positive change. Through all this time we do not realize just how much of all this, is our own doing.

 

Yet here comes a very big BUT
because thankfully we can change it.

Before we can change anything however, we must become aware of our own speech. The words that we use as well as the tone, depending on a particular context, environment, circumstances, surroundings and the other people who belong in our life. A recorder would become very helpful here. Many of today’s mobile phones can also record, so we may wish to consider using one of those.

Listen to these recordings of yourself. Listen closely.
Do you like listening to yourself?
What parts are you comfortable with, and why?
What parts are you not comfortable with, and why?
What kind of thoughts and emotions surface inside of you when you listen to yourself in conversations?

When asking the above questions, we may not get a quick and clear answer. We shouldn’t demand a logic answer from the mind because the mind cannot work with anything that is subconscious. If we demand an answer from the mind, it will no doubt blurt out some excuse, but that would be of little use to us.

This analytical stage is vitally important. We need to go through this self analysis before we can make any changes. We need to gradually become aware of what it is about our speech that make us feel uncomfortable, both in terms of tone and choice of words.

Here are a few things to be mindful of when trying to analyze the recordings:

If we hear ourselves use the word ‘I’ a lot, it may be an indication that we tend to be self absorbed. A byproduct of this could be that we may not have enough sensitivity to other people in our life, and we may be rather oblivious to that and also pay dearly for it.

We may hear ourselves use negative words often, such as: cannot, impossible, don’t want to, etc’. Those could suggest dealing with fear, and we may be unaware of that.

We should also consider the reactions that we generate as well as our reactions to the words of others. For example; if we come to a point in the recording where we’re unhappy with the other person’s reaction, we should listen closely to the words and tone that we used just prior to that.

This self listening, either using recordings or simply through awareness, should be given a substantial amount of time – at least several weeks. Some aspects of our speech will become apparent to us right away, but other aspects may be much too subtle for us to realize initially and may need more time and increased sensitivity for us to uncover.

As we continue to listen to ourselves in conversations (and also mental conversations with ourselves) we will begin to have insight about:

  • Which of the words that we use, are better off being excluded from our vocabulary
  • Which new words we’d like to incorporate into our existing vocabulary
  • Times when we’re using one tone of speech, when in reality we mean to use another
  • The emotional backdrop that causes us to use specific words and tone of speech.

 

There’s much more information. Very valuable information. The more we listen, the more is revealed to us.

At this later stage, we can begin to incorporate modifications into our vocabulary and tone. This is when things become truly amazing.
Depending on just how unaware of ourselves we initially were, we could witness our lives change radically. The effect is all-inclusive: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, new priorities, plans and ideas, letting go of the past, of obsessions, compulsions, addictions and fears, finding new purpose in life, finding inner peace, and more.

This is similar to using a hypnotic suggestion. Repeated again and again over a span of many years, speech controls our life and our destiny, while we are totally unaware that any of this is taking place.

Moreover; these words and tones – are they our own?
Can you hear your dad or mom in your words or tone? Or a teacher, a friend, a mentor, a celebrity you used to admire years ago etc’?
Is it possible that for many years, we were living somebody else’s life, not realizing it?
If so, there’s little surprise if we are not happy with our life – it may have been somebody else’s!

 

May 072014
 

The way that I see it, failure is impossible. Life is given to us and we are here to explore, to interact with a physical world through a physical body, to change the world and be changed by it. The world is limitless, endless, infinite. The only thing that is limited is our ability to comprehend. In our attempts to try and understand this limitlessness, we dissect it into smaller, supposedly more manageable parts. We then label these artificial slices, that we created out of something that’s whole, complete and perfect, and actually believe that understanding these man-made chunks gives us an understanding of the whole. We do this with the world that’s outside of us and also with the world that’s inside of us. Putting in tiny separate drawers bits and pieces of the whole, to create illusion of an understanding of ourselves and of the world. We mistaken our understanding of reality, with true reality. Sooner or later contradictions occur between the two and we experience emotional pain as a result, when the world doesn’t meet our expectations.
Failure is just another such label that we created for something that doesn’t truly exist.

We cannot go wrong no matter what we do. Every moment spent in this world is success: Getting a job or losing it, spending the days in the office or in prison, being married divorced widowed or single, remembering or forgetting, passing the exam or not, achieving what we wanted or not, being happy or not. EVERYTHING.
Being in this world IS by itself success. We interact with it, change it and are changed by it.

Many of us don’t realize that we are successful right now, regardless of how much money or status we have, and right here begins a journey of seeking, expectation and disappointment, regardless of whether we achieve our goals or not.

This is not to say that we should not have goals, only that regardless of whether we achieve them or not, we cannot fail.

Our understanding of success and failure has to do with social consensus more than anything else. Some would say: “Well, everyone knows that there’s such a thing called success and failure”. And so when “everybody knows”, only very few actually stop to think that perhaps this worldview may be incomplete and misleading.

Being a part of a society, doesn’t mean that any arbitrarily agreed upon consensus, is necessarily true or real. Being unaware of our own worldview, is surely to confront us with reality sooner or later, as well as perpetuate our ongoing emotional and psychological roller coaster. This world view of ours, has been imposed on us since birth. It continues to hold us in a subconscious auto-pilot-living-mode day after day, as we regularly see people around us comply with its dictum.

Those of us who believe – for example – that money, power and status are synonymous with success, tend to limit our interaction with the world, clinging to money at the expense of other experiences. We may or may not find money and power, but being taught to equate the end result with happiness and satisfaction or otherwise with disappointment, we do as we were taught, most often without questioning. We do so not because of denial, but because we are unaware of our own way of seeing the world.

We just got what we wanted! YAY!
Are we now successful? What if this perceived success is the beginning of a domino effect of loss and pain? How meaningless would such a “success” be?
When our awareness grows beyond a certain point, we can fully see that whatever the result happens to be, it is our own choice whether or not to be emotionally connected to it. The moment we realize that, we become liberated from our personal roller coaster of drama and playing the role of the victim.
We cease to suffer.
We become free.

Apr 202014
 

Did you ever find yourself being in the midst of a dream, totally absorbed in everything that was happening. Then suddenly, the following understanding came to you:
“This is just a dream!” ?
What if this exact same understanding came to you while you are wide awake?

Imagine sitting behind the steering wheel of a car. You have been behind this steering wheel for as long as you can remember yourself. Driving.
One day, you get the shock of your life; this car that you were driving all these years is mounted on top of a flatbed tow truck to which you were completely oblivious. All of the sudden you understand why sometimes, when you wish to go in a certain direction, you end up elsewhere.

Our life is just like that. We live with the illusion that we are behind the wheel and in control of our ride. We expect certain things to happen based on our actions, and many times experience a whole variety of painful emotions, when our expectations are not met.

Until we wake up.

Waking up, is the thought (or idea or understanding or knowing) that what we thought was reality, has actually been our own creation.
It is no wonder then, that so many of us would rather not wake up at all. The shock might just be too great for us to endure.

But here too, we are not behind the wheel; we don’t have a say on whether or not to awaken, just as we have no say on how, where, when and under what circumstances such an awakening is to occur.

Is life going the way you want it to?
Do you get unpleasant surprises along the way?
Is it possible that living your life is similar to driving a car that’s mounted on a flatbed?
Only once we realize that in fact, we have far less control than we may believe – and not before that – that we’ll be able to begin living differently – more connected to reality. Only then will we be able to get out of our car, sit behind the wheel of the tow truck, and perhaps for the first time in our life feel that life responds to us in a way that makes so much more sense.

But it doesn’t end here.

An awakening may not necessarily be a single, one-time-only event. Of course, some people don’t even experience a single awakening in their lifetime. But others could experience several awakenings.

How could that be? Isn’t an awakening simply the end of an unconscious state of living?

Not exactly.

An awakening is an opening up of our field of vision or understanding – of our bubble. Suddenly we can see (or realize or understand or know), that what we used to think was everything – the world, life, reality – was in fact just a fraction of something much larger. And yet our new view – our new reality – as much as it is larger than we may have previously known – is again, not truly “all that there is”. It is not complete. We can in fact, awaken again and again, to experience a continuously larger view and understanding of reality, both that which is inside as well as outside of us. Using the previous example, this would be akin to the flatbed being mounted on top of a freight train, the train being on top of a ship, and so on. Indefinitely. Which really means that we are never in full control, we never perceive reality for what it truly is and that there’s always more. ALWAYS.

Our limitation – that is, being a human being – will never allow us to see, perceive and understand reality for what it truly is. That’s because our senses, which are the tools that we are given for connecting with and understanding reality, are filters. These filters allow some information in, but leave much information out of our reach. Our vision allows us to see, but only in a limited range. The same is true for hearing, smelling, tasting and sensing. Even if our senses had the ability to detect the entire range (of vision, sound etc’), does that mean that there is nothing else in the universe? Just five channels?
I find it very hard to believe. Reality is infinite, and I believe that although we can detect five “channels”, that there is in fact an infinite number of channels.

But there’s more.

The way in which our bodies are built, we have separate receptors to detect sound, vision, smell etc’. Reality however, may not have separation of any kind. It may well be that smell, taste, vision, hearing and the tactile sense, are all part of a single unified expression of reality, along with an infinite number of other means of expression of which we have no reception capabilities.

From my own personal experience with two very different awakenings, I can say that there was no similarity at all between the two, and yet both were so powerful, that everything that I knew to be reality, changed completely afterwards. Both transformations were wonderful and I was left with awe and infinite gratitude and appreciation.

Being open to the idea that an awakening is truly possible, opens the door to its actual unfolding in ones own life. Expectations to have an awakening, stand in its way. An attitude of simplicity, gratitude, humility, acceptance and allowing, open an invisible door which bring us closer to the possibility of such an experience.

Apr 062014
 

It is easy and very natural to look at the immensity of the world, its vastness, the seemingly infinite number of people and then look in the mirror and feel infinitely small and practically non-existent. At the same time, there is much around us that we feel is wrong and wish we could change.

These two forces create tension within us, which becomes the source of much frustration, anger, sadness, hopelessness, depression and other feelings, that span far beyond the very issues which created them in the first place.
Many get stuck at this point, thinking: “That’s simply the way things are and I need to learn to live with that.”

It is possible to understand things this way from a limited point of view. But please remember: Whenever you feel that you’ve hit a dead end – this should be a reminder to you that you are not seeing the bigger picture. The world is much more than its physical aspect. What we perceive through our five senses and the faculty of thought, is just a drop in a bucket.

Be the change that you wish to have.

If you want world peace, practice peace in your daily life through meditation, conquering your anger, apologizing freely, living humbly and forgiving.

If you want a world without toxicity, you can avoid using regular chemical detergents, avoid buying food that contains food preservatives, flavoring substances and colors, and avoid using a mobile phone, wifi or microwave oven.

If you want a world without pain, become a friend to a lonely person who receives little attention. Show them that YOU care.

This list is endless, but you may be wondering why I am saying that these tiny actions can change the world.

Numbers are meaningless. How could one invisible virus destroy a big strong human being? There are millions of cells in the body whose sole function is to destroy viruses, yet people and animals do die from viruses. Had the virus been thinking: “It’s hopeless. I don’t stand a chance”, this attitude would have destroyed the virus itself.

How could a tiny seed become a giant tree? Had the seed been thinking: “Look at all these huge trees all around. I’m just a tiny seed. I won’t even try.”, then the seed would have simply decompose.

In the above examples, both the seed and the virus are not invested in any particular outcome. Instead they do all that they can towards achieving their goal, and allow the powers of the universe to work. When we invest ourselves in our actions without getting attached to any given outcome, that’s when we achieve the most. That’s when miracles happen.

If we allow our little candle to shine, we can gradually light up the candles of those around us, and they in turn, can light up the candles of those around them, and we spread the light until there is no more darkness. We don’t need to personally light every candle in the world. By lighting the candles of just those few who are close to us – through love, compassion and care for the common good – we create resonating feelings within them. In turn, they begin to feel a need to share further. That’s why the number of changes that needs to be made is not as critical as the intensity of our own intentions and actions.

But it has to start right here, with me. As long as I look around and wait for somebody else to initiate and to do for me and the world, I may not live to see the change that I wish to have. Once I initiate, and do the little that I can do, I set something in motion.
After lighting the candles of those around me, I can no longer see that more candles are being lit all the time – but they are; the light in the world grows exponentially.

Your true power goes way beyond the capacity of your thought and imagination. No one is stopping you from creating beauty, love and happiness for yourself and for the whole world; only you are.

Yes – you can change the world. Don’t let your light burn out; share it.

Mar 272014
 

People who hurt others, are by necessity suffering themselves. Hurting others is in a way a form of communication for the offender based on their own painful experiences; it is a cry for help. When we regard them as victims who are suffering – rather than offenders – we can discover compassion.
Also;
Becoming hurt or offended is a choice that we each make, most often subconsciously. It is a grasping on to something that was never meant to be held on to.
When we are hurt, we can turn the eye of our awareness from looking out towards those who hurt us, to looking inside, to observe our own pain. When we do so, it is possible to see that we can become free by choosing to let go. We can loosen our grasp on whatever painful feelings we experience and just let them evaporate.

When we grasp, we weaken ourselves. Grasping is a knee-jerk reaction – an uncontrolled reaction to an outside circumstance. We may find ourselves being blamed, mocked, judged, ignored, disrespected, or being victims of lies about us, abuse, anger and more. All of that is happening outside of us and unless we do something about it – it remains outside of us. That ‘something’ could be grasping, by which we intentionally bring it inside through the act of becoming upset, angry, depressed, offended, vindictive, or by responding in a similar manner. Similar to grasping, rejection is another reaction which creates a negative counter force within us, force that becomes the foundation for toxic emotions within us.

But we have a choice; we can simply let it be, allowing it to remain outside of us and maintain our inner peace. If our knee-jerk reaction is to say something back, we are already grasping. When that happens, it is better not to say anything. Initially, by doing so, we may feel that it’s wrong and that refraining from saying something back is a weakness on our part and is being perceived as such. But in fact, that’s our strength. We take the initiative through our own strength to not be pulled into a toxic circumstance. Initially, we may say nothing, but our mind will say everything. This is still grasping, although much less. As we continue, one such situation at a time, we’ll see that gradually our minds quiet down as well; the strength of our initial response set into motion a spiral of positive energy that makes us stronger, to the point where we don’t grasp at all.

The grasping starts with emotions, followed by thoughts, followed by speech and sometimes followed by actions. We cancel this domino effect by stopping at the end, with the action, then after some practice we can stop at the speech, than the thoughts and finally the emotions.

Jesus’ assertion about giving the other cheek is worth mentioning. By giving the other cheek to an offender we:
1) Allow them to see their own weakness. Had they been truly strong, we’d be taking distance from them, not turn the other cheek.
2) Conquer our knee-jerk reaction (our weakness) building inner strength, self control and inner peace.

How to love our enemies? By understanding that we don’t have to label them as such and discover by doing so, that we really have no enemies. We may also discover that some of those people whom we may have labeled enemies in the past, end up being very caring, close, supportive and loving.

Mar 262014
 

The following is a short and simple visualization/meditation hybrid. If you wish, you can record yourself reading it and then use the recording as a guide. Alternatively you can memorize it and mentally guide yourself through. The experience is very soothing, comforting and relaxing, allowing the practitioner to find relief from stress, emotional grounding, unconditional love and guidance.


Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
With your eyes closed, notice in front of you a dark black point. Notice how it increases in size to become a small circle, then a larger and larger circle.
As you look straight into this growing darkness you realize its depth is infinite.
You become weightless like a cloud; floating.
As you are floating towards the center of the darkness, it engulfs you, allowing you to experience its infinity, its absence of any content and its clarity.

You can stay here for as long as you wish, being completely free; purely being.

When you are ready to come back notice a white dot in front of you. Notice how it increases in size to become a small white circle, then a larger and larger circle, brighter and brighter. As you look straight into this increasing light, open your eyes.

Take the time to stay seated with your eyes open and just be.

Mar 042014
 

Who are you?

You are not your body!
You are not your arms, legs, brain, muscles, face, heart, kidneys, fat or skinny, healthy or sick, fully functional or disabled. You are given a body as a means of interacting with the physical world. You are aware of your body but you are not your body. Like a pilot of an airplane, or a driver of a car – you are behind the controls. You control your body which allows both input and output. Input comes from the sense organs – hearing, seeing smelling, tasting and sensing – and output comes by talking, walking, using the hands etc’.

You are not your thoughts!
Your thoughts are yours, but they are not you. You are given the capacity to think, develop abstract ideas to benefit yourself, your society and your environment, but that’s not you. Here again, you are behind the controls, but you are not your brain or your mind.

You are not your emotions!
You can experience love, anger, sadness, jealousy and much more. Similar to thought, this is an ability that you are given and allowed to have. An ability doesn’t define who you are.

You are not a woman, not a man, not a son or daughter, not a father, mother, brother, sister uncle or aunt. Those are your circumstances and they do not define who or what you are.

You are not your history! Your history is your life’s story. It is a part of your circumstances but you are what you are beyond and regardless of any circumstances.

Your are not your ideas, opinions or beliefs. These are thoughts that you adopted and made yours, by your own choice. You made those yours, but what’s yours cannot be you.

You are not your occupation; scientist, politician, CEO, judge, banker, artist. This is again a choice you made to be directing your talents, time, curiosity and exploration for the purpose of earning money and (hopefully) grow spiritually.

You are not your family, society or any mutual interest group!
You are not African, American, German, Dutch, nor are you a member of any smaller group, such as a union, groups of mutual interests or any other group.

You are not your circumstances! You are not rich/poor, happy/unhappy, successful/unsuccessful, employed/unemployed, married/divorced/widowed, jailed/free, healthy/sick or any other circumstances.

Who are you?

YOU, are that which is left, after everything else has been removed.

When you completely stop everything – the doing, saying, listening, seeing, thinking, feeling, smelling, sensing etc’, even stop the attempt to stop – what’s left is you.
You are that which is aware! The silent observer.

This is very profound and it means a lot of different things, some of which can be put to words, but most cannot.
It is very important to understand that all of those things that we are not, do not define us, do not create gain or loss on the most fundamental level. We are a non physical entity. We are allowed to interact with the physical world and many confuse the interaction which is not us, with the awareness which IS. Many adopt their life’s story to be their definition of self. This opens the gate to much misery and suffering. We become like a leaf in the wind, tossed around, soaked, trampled and crushed; moving between highs and lows, becoming happy by a promotion, angered by criticism, saddened by loss etc’. We lose any sense of grounding and rootedness. We know no peace, are stuck in infinite closed-loop cycles of thought, behavior, habit and belief, looking at what other people do in order to know what directions are possible for us, and on and on and on.
But that’s not us.
And because it is not us, it is possible (as some people discover, usually following some trauma or catastrophe), possible to simply be aware – be the observer. The moment we realize that we are beyond our life’s story, circumstances and interactions – we become free. Free from “ourselves”.
This freedom is unlike any experience of physical-world freedom. We discover the non-physical entity that we are. When this happens, life ceases to be an endless struggle. In fact it becomes like the famous song:

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is just a dream

Life is suddenly seen as a dream – very realistic and convincing, yet just a dream. This is why people who are highly spiritually evolved, are said to be awakened.

Zhuangzi, a Chinese philosopher also known as Chuang Chou, once said:
Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.

This is directly related with personal growth. We cannot experience growth before we know who we are. And since everything is in constant motion, when we don’t grow we become less. We contract, decrease, recede, become reduced and diminished. We shrink. Our world seems smaller, some even experience claustrophobia. And let us be clear; Growth is not a job promotion or a raise, it’s not a change in occupation, it’s not moving to a new neighborhood or a new country, it’s not undergoing plastic surgery, changing our name or finding new relationships. In fact, these are all ways to run away from that inner feeling of emptiness, lack and inadequacy. We convince ourselves that these external changes in circumstances are growth. They are not!  just as our circumstances are not who we are. When growth is experienced, it is a completely non-physical experience.

I can understand if some of you find his post confusing. Describing non-physical and spiritual phenomena through physical tools such as language, are akin to seeing the shadow of a beautiful painting – all that is seen is a dark rectangle. The only way to truly discover what’s behind all these words, is to completely stop everything – the doing, saying, listening, seeing, thinking, feeling, smelling, sensing etc’, to even stop the attempt to stop. In the silence and stillness that emerges, bit by bit, we discover who we are.

The next time that you find yourself complaining, suffering, when you are in the grips of physical pain, anger, stress, losing control or anything else that feels anything but wonderful –
ask yourself one fundamental question:

Who am I?

 

Feb 102014
 

Here is a tool for getting unstuck. From going around in circles, not finding answers or solutions, to effortlessly having the answer fall in our lap.


We’re familiar with seeing a question mark following a series of words that are to be understood as a question. Interestingly, questions in writing don’t really need to be terminated with a question mark, since they most often contain words that are known to be questions, such as: why, what, where, when, how. Or constructed as a question, as in:
Is it happening today (?)

Contemplating the entity of the question, I realized that there is a inquiring energy that is beyond any particular question; As if we were to have a question mark stand alone, without any words preceding it – an inquiring attitude – and it may or may not be equated with curiosity.

When we are stuck with a problem, we try to think in terms of a specific question or group of questions: Why is this happening, what am I not seeing, etc. When we do this, we create a sphere that is made of existing knowledge, understanding, experience, attitude, opinion etc, all from our past. This sphere is static. The questions seem to be rotating constantly in the same space without going anywhere.
I found that when I go beyond any specific question and simply enter a questioning state of mind, which I can also call ‘openness’, ‘allowing’, ‘inquiring state’ etc’, that instead of creating a sphere, I create motion. This motion expands out in all directions to infinity. When I do, I have no sense of being stuck – quite the opposite – I get a sense of traveling into the unknown and unfamiliar as well as becoming connected with something vast of infinite intelligence. This leads to unexpected results; Sometimes I come back with an answer. Sometimes, I come back with a question which becomes the key to the answer. Sometimes nothing happens, but a few days later the problem no longer exist.

It is interesting to note the way we use our voice when questioning: It opens out through a rising pitch. Body language and facial expression also reflect this expansion. Seeking is a motion of expansion outwards. This allows us to grow in heart, mind and spirit.

The opposite of this is dogma. An exclamation mark at the end of some words, exclaims an attitude of ‘That’s it’, ‘I am right’, ‘You are wrong’, etc’, in a way stating a fact. This so-called ‘fact’ may or may not be what its exclaimer believes. Many times we get stuck because of our own misunderstanding or limited understanding. Getting stuck repeatedly affects us detrimentally in heart, mind and spirit and is the cause of much unhappiness, quarrel, relationship problems, illness etc.

The attitude delineated by the exclamation mark creates an inward motion. This inward motion acts to disconnect us from growth. It causes our world to shrink, causing us to feel trapped, become paranoid, have panic attacks, feel claustrophobic etc’. The voice used in conjunction with the exclamation attitude is with the pitch coming down, similar to the inward motion – a closing. The facial and body muscles tend to tighten, a furthering of the closing that’s in an inward motion.

It’s interesting to see how many people with an expanding inner motion, seem to be happy, healthy, successful and loved, while many people with a contracting inner motion seem to be unhappy, fearful, feared of and lonely. This is by no means a “rule” but it can be seen quite often.

I found that the simple act of sitting and visualizing a question mark, without an attempt to achieve anything, becomes a light beam that takes me out of difficult circumstances – where my mind may even be working against me – allowing me to discover freedom beyond my current sphere of understating. I visualize the question mark without thinking any specific question, along with an attitude of allowing and openness. This creates a wonderful opening – a doorway leading towards relief, personal growth, and peace, which is then followed by a clear mind, renewed energy and effective, positive action.

Dec 262013
 

One night, as Mr. P was walking on a side street heading back home, he saw a person searching for something by a streetlamp. Wanting to help, Mr. P asked whether anything got lost and was told that a bunch of keys got dropped. Mr. P began searching.
After quite a bit of searching, as no keys were found, Mr. P asked the person whether they can remember the exact location where the keys got dropped. The person pointed to a dark section further down the street. Mr. P, puzzled, asked the person why were they looking for the keys here and was answered that there’s no light where the keys got dropped.

This story sounds ridiculous and foolish. After all, real people don’t search for a lost article where it’s easy to look. They search where they believe the item could be found. But there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

For many people, life goes on along a general plan which looks something like this:

  • School for twelve years.
  • Finding something that we like and are good at, preferably in a field where we can make a lot of money.
  • Going to college and getting a degree in that field.
  • Getting the best grades possible while getting as much hands-on experience working in the field.
  • Finding a job that we love or starting a business.
  • Moving up the ranks as an employee or having a business which grows steadily.

This of course, is a gross generalization, and there’s too much that it doesn’t cover. And yet for many, this is the general plan. There is much comfort and reassurance in having a general direction to follow. Otherwise, how would we know what to do? And although the above is a gross generalization, it’s amazing how many people actually follow this path.

Sometimes things don’t work out exactly this way, but many of us believe that that’s due to circumstances beyond our control, not due to anything that we do or fail to do. Circumstances such as bad luck, bad genes, bad history, bad relationships, one critical mistake etc’.

But isn’t this treading, in a more or less familiar path, akin to searching for something in the wrong place because it’s convenient?

Consider this;
The word ‘tenure’ is practically history at this point in time, with minor exceptions. The same is true for words like: retirement (that one can actually live off of), work benefits, a full time job defined as a 40 hour week, and many more. People used to go to college for four years and then get a job. It made perfect sense to go to college because that was the key to getting a job. For the same reason, it also made perfect sense to take loans to pay for college education. Later, four years were no longer enough, and many had to get a Master’s degree before they could get the kind of a job that they sought.
But change didn’t end there. The world constantly changes socially, economically, spiritually, ideologically. The giant employers of the past – GE, IBM, General Motors and others – have been downsizing. The same happens with government offices, universities, and generally speaking – with employers and employment. There are simply less employers out there today, compared to twenty years ago, and so there is obviously less employment. Taking a college loan today is extremely risky, when many of those unemployed have – not only a college degree – but also many years of valuable experience.
Additionally, getting a college degree is meant to please an employer; with increasingly less employers available, the price tag, time and effort that’s needed for the purpose of getting a college degree, may no longer justify attending college at all for many people.

And of course employment and college is just one part of a much bigger picture. There isn’t a single aspect of life lived today, that is identical to how it used to be not too long ago: relationships, family structure, sexuality, communication, relocations and much more. Still, the general life-plan that people today envision, looks almost identical to the way it was in the past.

It looks as though something has been lost along the way, and that we are searching for what the unseen future has in store for us, using the familiar old maps. But what are the options? What are the new guidelines for living life in this new and unfamiliar reality? When we look left and right in search for clues – looking at what may work for others – we could become even more confused, unable to get any clear ideas.

This however, is the case only if we search under the streetlamp. Our current experience, knowledge and emotional comfort is based on the past. The past is the streetlamp. But the answer cannot be found there. It can only be found in the darkness, or in other words, the unknown and the unfamiliar.
It’s inconvenient, frightening and risky to go into the darkness, but sometimes that may be the only choice that we have.

Entrepreneurs know this very well, and they live their lives in the dark unknown, utilizing a healthy combination of intuition, knowledge and thought.

What about those of us who don’t see ourselves as entrepreneurs?
Perhaps the answer is not in getting formal education, but in self-education. Perhaps the answer is not in receiving money from an employer, but in giving – by serving society. Perhaps the answer is not in studying and working in “the best fields” where the money is, but rather in slow, painstaking search for who I am, what are my natural gifts, what do I do best and how can I use these gifts for the betterment of society and service. Perhaps by trying new ways of thinking and of seeing the world, we may create an entirely new field, that doesn’t even exist yet. Perhaps for too long, we developed a laxity and an increasing indulgence in convenience, while allowing our mental and spiritual capacities to deteriorate and decline.

To what degree is it us creating reality, versus reality creating us?

It is fear that is preventing so many of us from searching in the dark. But one day, we’ll have no other choice but to realize it. When this happens, we’ll take a confident stride, and with an inner peace and confidence, walk into the darkness of the unknown and unfamiliar, knowing that the answer is now closer than ever before.

Dec 172013
 

Stillness, Silence, Emptiness; The Abyss.

This is a special meditation for those who tried meditating in the past with very little success. It is very simple and very powerful. This connecting with stillness can be done at any time, especially very stressful situations that lead many of us to lose control, clarity and grounding and which could then lead to a panic attack or depression.  This practice generates powerful results regardless of the length of time put into it.


Sit comfortably and allow your body to be loose, including facial muscles.

Become aware of your breath and accompany each inhalation and exhalation with your awareness.

Towards the end of each inhalation pause for a moment before the following exhalation.
Towards the end of each exhalation pause for a moment before the following inhalation.
This should feel simple and easy, not strenuous. If it does feel strenuous, make sure that:

  • The pause is not long
  • You are not clenching the back of your throat, as if about to pronounce a ‘K’ or a ‘G’ sound.

The pausing should be done using the lungs, to stop moving air, and not with the throat, to squeeze and prevent air from passing. It should be a floating pause rather than a jamming pause.
It’s fine if there’s a minuscule amount of air passing, as long as there’s a general sense of a pause, as opposed to an ongoing breath.

Do this for a little while . . . 

Notice the stillness you experience during the pauses. It is utter silence – perfect stillness.

Do this for a while . . .

Notice how each inhalation and each exhalation are born from the stillness and die into stillness.

Do this for a while . . .

Notice how, as inhalation/exhalation is happening, stillness is constantly in the background, behind/below/underneath the breathing – it is ever-present, infinite, eternal.

Do this for a while . . .

As you become aware of the constant presence of stillness, both during pauses and during breathing, you can now eliminate the pauses and just breath naturally in and out. Remain aware of the stillness moment by moment.

The moment you begin to think, the stillness is lost. Thought is movement and noise. Stillness is utter silence. Stillness is ever present and infinite, even during thought, however thought pulls our awareness away from stillness and we lose the stillness during thought.

Avoid the pitfall: Trying.
Trying is a concept that should be abandoned. It keeps stillness away from us and out of reach. Just like trying to sleep: the harder we try, the longer we remain awake. There should be no trying at all, and no doing at all.
Instead, there should be a Letting-go and an Allowing.

When we become aware of stillness, an infinite abyss will begin to open and expand.
Do not be afraid. Not only will you not be hurt – you will be protected and guided; guided away from the elements in your life that hurt you (whether or not you are aware of them) and guided towards inner peace, calm, happiness, wellbeing, grounding and knowing. Again; Do not be afraid.

WARNING:
Do not practice while driving, operating machinery or other types of work that may risk your safety.

Nov 252013
 

The world is amazing. But “amazing” is just a word. Being only human, we don’t have the capacity to grasp the world for what it truly is.
We have five senses. They filter the world for us, allowing in only a portion of reality, which itself is endless, timeless, infinite.

But even after the filtration by the five senses has taken place, the world is still incomprehensible.
We use language to decipher reality. We label things. We label objects, phenomena, actions, emotions . . . We label as much as we can. But each label is a reduction of reality.
The word “God” is a reduction of God, which we cannot know for what it truly is. The words: Love, Day, Sun, Person and more and more labels; Those are all reductions of reality for the attempted purpose of understanding.

Three blind men were put by an elephant and were asked to describe what an elephant is. One blind man, touched the elephant’s trunk and said: “An elephant is like a snake”. The second blind man touched the elephant’s leg and said: “An elephant is like a pillar”. The third man touched the elephant’s side an said: “An elephant is like a wall”.

Non of the three has the capability to know an elephant for what it truly is. Through their existing input capacities they reached their own conclusions and their labeling reduced an elephant into something that’s not really an elephant.

We have eyes to see. We believe that we do know an elephant for what it truly is, just like the blind men believed. And just like the blind men we too reduce an elephant to something that’s infinitely smaller than what it truly is.

Language is very useful. We use it to communicate and so we become a society, capable of achieving things that would be impossible to achieve as individuals. And that’s a very good aspect of language.
On the other hand, we live in a fantasy – it’s all an illusion of our own making. Each of us sees the world differently, and each of us believes that we understand the world for what it is.

We may use similar labels, but different understanding of those same labels. One person, based on their past experience, uses the label “love” for something comforting, while another person, with past experience of emotional abuse, may understand the label “love” as something painful.

Language as a fence.
The language that we each use, the specific labels along with the individual’s own understanding of them and the way they relate to other labels, creates a finite sphere, an entire world for each and every individual. Like a fence, it creates boundaries. These boundaries are just an illusion. We may experience a life changing event, perhaps a trauma, perhaps an awakening (again, these are just words), following which the world looks very different. And for all intents and purposes it actually is different for the person undergoing such transformation.

So in reality, the world is anything that we want it to be or believe it to be. And of course, there are other individuals who have a contradicting beliefs that oppose our own ideas and understandings. Once we become aware of this invisible fence, these invisible boundaries, we can take the first step into expanding our world into something that’s vaster with each passing moment of silence and wonder. Not just for ourselves, but for entire societies. This is also the doorway leading out of suffering. After all, suffering comes to existence as a result of a misunderstanding of our environment and circumstances as well as ourselves and our place and purpose in the world.

In silence there’s no language. Once we let go of language, labeling and reductionism for the purpose that the mind will be able to comprehend (which it cannot, regardless), an infinite abyss opens. The world for what it truly is explodes open, not in our mind, but in our existence / awareness. In quieting down, truth reveals itself to us gradually, just as it is, without any labels, just pure unadulterated understanding. When this happens, our perceived limitations of the outside, and our self imposed and illusory limitations on the inside, fade into nonexistence. A wordless understanding comes to being along with answers, relief, knowing and peace.