Sunday, July 20, 2014

To Think Is Not Your Real Nature (Maharshi)

I think of this statement as Maharshi vs. Descartes. That specific structural reference/contrast aside, and skipping just slightly past the opportunity to discuss the bitter irony of the attempt through religion to teach humanity the nature of reality, what we have here is an open call, a simple statement to be reflected on without much thought. Why is it that we feel compelled to abstractly process (ala Descartes) this thick stew of information (both external and internal) we are nearly drowning in from sunrise to sunset? Why, when we can feel the suffocation, dismay and dysfunction? The answer to this takes almost no thought at all. Because it is what we have been taught. Because it is what we know. Because it is what everyone else does. Because in that stew it is nearly impossible to see the connection between the "noise" and the disharmony we feel because of its very presence.
From this clouded perspective silence is nothing, not even context. In a life of noise silence is just a lack of noise. In a life in which noise, no matter how loud or painful or disjointed, is what life IS, silence is NOT life or even death, a dearth of anything at all.

Perceive silence this way, as an alternative: You live within a space limited by walls and filled with things, lots of things, so many things that the space is hard to navigate, the things difficult to adjust or even use. Because this space is the limit of your experience and thus your perceivable reality, there is nothing outside of it that you can perceive. There is a window in one of the walls, perhaps large, perhaps small, but from the angle you can approach this window, given your cluttered surroundings, you can see nothing but emptiness, and this seems to confirm your isolation to within the walls. But from a different angle that you could reach if the clutter was not so tightly packed you could see that there is a vast and dimensionally different space outside the window, a mystery that lives outside your closed and cramped space. That mystery is separated from your experience by only the structural integrity of the window's glass, the thinnest edge of your walls, of what you consider to be the end of reality. You can see through it and see something else--something that at a very minimum proves your reality is artificially limited--if you can approach it from a useful angle (give yourself the space), but to actually get to it you have to open the window, an act that violates the integrity of the known.

And there you have both the perceptual doorway (or window, in this case) and the nature of the problem, which includes the nature of the resistance once the problem has shrunk to perceivable size. To move past the space that limits reality requires an acceptance of its artificiality, which implies a part of you has to die (ala Wayne Dyer and a whole bunch of other folks), possibly a hard nut to swallow. Once you have realized the limits of your self-imposed reality are actually not real you have a new problem before you can fully free yourself--exactly what is and isn't real?

And that's why this statement by Maharshi is phrased so simply (it is, of course, stripped of any original context, but it is presented that way for a reason). Because the point is that to attempt to define reality through building walls around representations of components of reality (things) is a trap. But likewise, to attempt to remove yourself from that trap by just doing the same thing on a larger scale is to just create a larger version of the same trap. In other words, the act or process of replacing awareness with conceptualizations is the real problem. But from within that problem the perception is that awareness itself is nothing without the conceptualizations we place into it that then ground it into a confined space rather than an unlimited space. And you can feel that encapsulating tension even while looking out the window into a larger space.

The answer, as I see it, is to frame the problem, not the larger space. This is because once an attempt is made to frame the larger space (i.e. define a larger reality) it becomes contained and limited. But once the problem is framed and thus confined, and provided the space outside it remains undefined, awareness is now free to expand into it and experience it, perhaps infinitely. Why infinitely? Not necessarily because reality is infinite (though it may be), but because to define its edge recreates the entire problem. Besides, if you make it to an edge you won't be concerned with what I've written here anymore...


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Change: Motivation, Value and Possibility

I’ve been thinking about motivation a lot, both in terms of dealing with clients and with my own development. This is rooted in the idea that motivation is an action-driver, determining whether action will or won’t be taken on the road to change, and is thus a worthy area of contemplation. There are  multiple aspects to change, primary among them clear vision, planning, recognizing opportunity, taking action and actual achievement. But underneath that superstructure lie motivation, value and assumptions about what is and isn’t possible. Motivation pushes action, but value acts as a subtle (sometimes unconscious) compass and ideas about what is and isn’t possible act as limiters. So, it’s first important to understand that motivation lives in a complex environment that affects exercising it usefully. And then it’s important to understand what things need to be lined up in order to get motivation to function.

A critical piece is why change is being considered or sought to begin with. Is it because we are not good enough as we are? There is a very big difference between changing to become better and changing to become un-flawed. This is about value, specifically understanding or becoming aware of our innate value and our potential value versus our perceived value. If the desire for change is based on perceived value that says there is something wrong with us or that we are not good enough to start with, attempts to change can be thwarted by that value guiding our efforts into proving that we are indeed flawed instead of successfully actualizing our potential.

We are generally not taught to be aware of ourselves as innately valuable entities. Instead we are taught to see ourselves as relatively and measurably valuable and held up against ideals. And this is reinforced constantly through daily life in which we are measured at our jobs and told what we should be and do through marketing approaches  (including media of all types) that seem to come at us from every direction. A vast amount of our waking hours is spent without any awareness of our intrinsic value, being pushed and pulled toward what works for other people, organizations and institutions.

Discovering and allowing our innate value versus our perceived value helps determine if change is necessary to begin with, but also in what direction change might really be desired and useful based on our potential value. When desired change is aligned with actual value rather than perceived value motivation has a source of power rather than a source of conflict.

But what kind of change is even possible? If the change you desire lives in the realm of (perceived) fantasy, motivation will be pretty weak no matter how cool it might seem to be able to reach that changed state. The reason change doesn’t happen all the time for us is that we tend to live in homeostasis, or in a world that we stabilize by directing our action toward keeping it the same because that’s what we think it is. I call this ideaspace, a small space inside a larger reality that is limited by an idea of what reality is. This space often frustrates us, but it also limits our actions because we don’t think a different reality is really possible.

And all of this lives inside motivation, keeping it grounded to value and possibility. No wonder it’s so ineffective so much of the time!

The obvious question is: what can be done about this? Well, I’m glad you asked.

There are two main approaches I recommend to align these elements: acceptance and meditation. Acceptance is not resignation to your limitations, but allowing your present state to be okay or good enough. It doesn’t mean that you have no desire to change, but that you recognize your need to change might really be a want based on not being okay with just being you the way you are. Some people might think that reconciling this difference is necessarily a tortuous process, but it’s really as simple as just letting go of what you have voluntarily taken on as what you should be as if that was a driving force behind reality. And, yes, that can be a big and involved process if that’s what you make it into; but it can also just be a  decision, a moment of recognition and it happens.

Now, this isn’t a way to avoid the whole subject of change or nullify a need or even just a desire. It’s only helping to make sure you are seeking to move in a direction that really is related to who you are. And when that recognition comes you paradoxically start to unlock your potential, because your potential is often locked up behind all these false ideas of value (or lack of value).

Meditation is a very simple way of developing the skills of releasing ideas about reality and focusing. One of the beautiful things about reality (that is, the real one!) is that it shows up when you stop thinking it’s something else—and it does this without fail every single time. Meditation is a doorway of perception to reality, exiting your chosen ideaspace experientially into a much larger and far less limited reality that functions very differently. Once you have left behind the tiny worlds of ideaspaces (or at least smaller ones for larger ones and hopefully into expanding ones at an increasing rate of speed) possibility is no longer a limiter or even really a concern at all.

Wait a minute! Did I just condone unlimited possibility? Did I just make the cardinal error of saying that anything is possible, which a lot of people say (and think) will defeat motivation by making goals unreachable? Yes, I did. But I did that in the context of aligning with your real value, who you really are—not who you think you should be. When you have fully aligned with your natural design you will be able to achieve whatever your natural design is, no matter what anyone else thinks about that.

Yes, motivation drives action, and motivation is an important consideration. But what drives motivation? Everything emanates from who you really are, though that becomes cloudy and dysfunctional when you think you are supposed to be something else. Motivation will drive action most functionally when the direction of change is in alignment with who you are.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Did Cooper Stock really have to die?

The linked story below is a fascinating piece that tells an important structural story if you let it. I've been talking about this issue, which sits at the base of all human development problems, for at least 13 years now. The problem has to do with assumptions (or ideas, whether held consciously or not) about reality that are NOT reality. When we operate within this closed space we are forced to make decisions that don't function well. However, we accept the results of those decisions because we don't think anything else is possible.

The story of Cooper Stock.

This particular story has an awful ending (at least in the short run), but think about how many (literally countless) lives are affected every day by structurally similar issues in which hazy assumptions are made in processes that people live within the control of. And then think about how this is true at these larger scales of systems you live within, but also internally within just yourself and the assumptions you have made about what is and isn't true/real and how your decisions are limited by that.

Wellness, intuition, personal growth, fulfillment, reconnection, spirituality and energetic awareness all follow this same path, bridging across the limits of these false assumptions into a much broader and deeper reality.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Finding Fulfillment with Intuisdom: Coda

Finding Fulfillment with Intuisdom
(Original publishing date: November, 2009)

A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison...”

~Albert Einstein


As you read through this book you may have noticed that not everything is fully explained. For instance, the way in which potential is hidden was discussed and how to generally unlock it was illustrated, but no suggestions were given to help you find specific kinds of potential for specific needs. This was completely intentional. This book was written in such a way as to help move you toward the perceptual mode of the natural self and allow you to start to perceive with resonance and emerging awareness. I could not and should not attempt to tell you what will come through the doorway of the natural self for you, as I truly cannot know. I can only tell you that it is there and illustrate the basic principles of how it operates.

Let me say one final time that this book has been as simple as we could make it because the subject is simple. This does not in any way take away from the profound opportunities for growth available through the natural self. It is simply the case that no teacher, preacher, guru or mysterious symbol is necessary for your development in every way. Your natural self is the ultimate and most intimate guide to your growth, participation and fulfillment in life. As your natural self, the natural world around you will feed you and blossom through you, and you will find truth, your voice, your place, fulfillment, and more than you could ever imagine.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Finding Fulfillment with Intuisdom: Chapter Six: Distractions on the Path

Finding Fulfillment with Intuisdom

(Original publishing date: November, 2009)

Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo and Newton—and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Chapter Six:  Distractions on the Path

As you orient more and more to the natural self, how and why you were fooled by the false self and the false world will become more apparent, but let’s give you a head start by identifying some important stumbling blocks that can work toward slowing your development. These blocks include the attitudes of people around you, your own self-righteous justifications and the false world trying to keep you in the fold.

Other People

You grew up surrounded by people and you live your life today surrounded by people. Many of these people helped imbue you with your identification as the false self, though they were not consciously aware of it. Unfortunately, most of the people on the planet have no useful experience with the natural self and the natural world. Because of this it is easy to blame them for contributing to your situation, but such blame would miss the point of becoming your natural self.

Allow others to be what they are as you move through your re-orientation and place your focus internally. The source of virtually all of your frustration and lack of development is simply in the misidentification of the false self as real, not other people’s actions.

Justification and Distraction

Hatred, anger, annoyance, irritation, frustration, worry, fear, dismay, displeasure, pain, sorrow, embarrassment, jealousy and desire are all different kinds of abstractions that become distractions that allow you to justify your failure to develop or be fulfilled by blaming something or someone else. This is simply a way of telling yourself that you can’t get beyond something because of something you can’t control. Whether the cause of this apparent lack of control is yourself, someone else, an inanimate object, an institution, a philosophy, a rule, a sound, a color or a smell matters not at all. The cause of the distraction, the distraction itself and whether you can claim it is justified or not are all just properties of the same thing. They are merely distractions that remove your attention from your natural self as it exists in the natural world.

Justifying your distraction of choice is simply a habit. There may be good reasons to perceive that something external caused something you find uncomfortable in your life, but these things don’t stop you from being your natural self, and this is the goal—don’t forget that.

We tend to get lost when we paint the world as something inherently positive or negative that we don’t control, but does control us. And then we become waylaid, our efforts lost in our blame.

Move back to the natural self and move on.

 “Help, the false world is chasing me!”

The false world does have its own dynamics and an artificial life of its own, but they are not worth more than a brief discussion here, as an elaborate discussion would only serve to slow your journey and nothing more. You should know that you are more useful to the false world if you play by its rules and there can be consequences for not playing by them. The false world may try to penalize you for changing your mind about what you want to do with your life or how you see and interact with the world, and you may hear the false world speaking through people you know and love.

The reach of the false world appears extraordinary—it seems as if it is all around you. But it isn’t. It is only around you as much as you choose it to be. You have the choice of what to read, what to eat, who to be friends with, how to relate to others, how to spend your free time and how you perceive reality. You even have choice over your career, whether you are presently early on in your work life, later on or even retired.

Coexisting with the false world is simple, if not easy. It is the recognition of the false world and the false self and the orientation to the natural self that is your guide.

As someone wise once said to me about the false world, “be in it, not of it.” At the time I didn’t know then what she meant by that or how I might accomplish it, but now I do— and I hope you do, too.