Taught Thoughts

1309 Relax and Succeed - Taught Thoughts

An enlightened view of life is challenging because it requires a curious shift rather than the acquisition of new knowledge from outside of us. It’s why I’m a guide and not teacher. People need to experiment with their own experiences, not their intellectual understanding. I just prompt the experiences in a way tailored to them.

In an attempt to help point to this shift in perspective, imagine that you already sincerely have a way to love everyone without condition. You may not want to spend time with many, and you may disapprove of some of their actions, but below all of that there is a basis of love –of believing in that healthy part of the other person even when it’s not clearly evident. It is a belief in the human spirit.

Assuming that were true, can we then see that we don’t need to build bridges of love to others, we only need to remove the barriers in our thinking that are preventing us from accessing the love that is the basis of everyone’s shared existence.

Rather than finding out how to forgive or put up with someone, we need to ask ourselves what judgmental thoughts do we have that lead us to create feelings that we then attach to that other person –just as others do likewise to us?

Let’s take the example of someone that we don’t like, but someone that is liked by the people we do like. Imagine this person earnestly. We should imagine the qualities they have that cause the people we like, to like this other person. Then we can ask ourselves, what sort of sources a person’s history might provide explanations for the way they act?

We should ask ourselves if we truly believe the other person is being the way they are to irritate us, versus the idea that we struggle to stay mentally calm around certain types of entirely legitimate people who express nothing more than a normal human foible or even a quality we dislike.

Maybe we’re a woman who can’t stand another lady at work because she’s always sticking her nose into things and we don’t like it. She’s so nosy we can’t imagine how she has any of the friends she mentions. But those friends don’t have that barrier-thinking between her and their love like we do.

1309 Relax and Succeed - We don't need to reach out to love

They were the for –or learned about– her history. Maybe she was a fatherless 16 year old caring for her mother while she died of cancer and what tortured her most was that no one even offered any help. Her friends know that she thinks the greatest tragedy in the world is people suffering all alone. So they understand that she comes across as a busy-body, but they just see a loving person caring for others.

Meanwhile, imagine that we were raised to see privacy as very important and so those taught thoughts clash with her taught thoughts, so while others can make friends with her, we do not. But the barrier was and is only thoughts based on histories we had little control over.

Or in another example, maybe a guy comes across as overly macho and we’re another guy who finds that irritating. But what if he’s only that way because his Dad left when he was a kid? And he felt –and people told him– he had to man-up, and it’s a performance he started at 13 and now it’s his personality because that’s all a personality is –a repetition of certain words or behaviours.

If we’re detached from our natural love for a person we’ll focus on our selfish thoughts about how we want the person to be, so his friends will love him because they do not share our thought barrier. They were there and watched him defend his wounded mother from countless abusive suitors and he did it by acting more like a man than he deserved to for his age. They’re proud of him.

His friends get that he came by the personality honestly, due to being a good person under difficult circumstances. And he loves them for that. The entire series The Big Bang Theory is based on the idea of friends putting up with each other’s social mistakes because they recognize no one is doing anything on purpose to anyone else. They can feel the love underneath it all because they ultimately accept each other unconditionally.

We don’t need to reach out to love people. We need to relax our judgments about them, just as we wish them to be relaxed against us. Because in the end, the world works best if we all just relax into being ourselves, letting others be themselves. Only then can we all flow.

We’re all fine. Let’s enjoy our day. 😉

peace, s

Beautiful

1306 Relax and Succeed - The song Beautiful by Linda Perry

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to run into an excellent interview with Linda Perry, who I’m a huge fan of. That lead me to think about one of her biggest songs. In fact, in the interview, she notes how she was going to sing it before she heard it done another way. It’s very telling. And there’s a little secret in her interview about the start of the song.

Part of its magic is that the song carries the same message that this blog does. Whether they are yours or someone else’s, always remember: words can’t bring you down.

Everyday is so wonderful, then suddenly, its hard to breathe
Now and then I get insecure, from all the pain
I’m so ashamed

I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words can’t bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way
Yes words can’t bring me down
So don’t you bring me down today

To all your friends you’re delirious
So consumed in all your doom
Trying hard to fill the emptiness, the pieces gone
Left the puzzle undone, is that the way it is

You are beautiful no matter what they say
Words can’t bring you down
Cause you are beautiful in every single way
Yes words can’t bring you down
So don’t you bring me down today

No matter what we do
No matter what we say
Were the song inside the tune, full of beautiful mistakes
And everywhere we go, the sun will always shine
And tomorrow we might awake on the other side

Cause we are beautiful no matter what they say
Yes words won’t bring us down, no
We are beautiful in every single way
Yes words can’t bring us down
So don’t you bring me down today

You’re beautiful too. You really are. I promise.

peace, s

Real Princesses Have Real Problems

1302 Relax and Succeed - Princess Grace

Blinding expectation leads many of us to struggle with achieving our goals. Since everyone’s primary goal is belong, we tend to expect the love and acceptance we seek to come in a particular form, which causes us to miss when we’re actually getting offered what we need.

A good example of this innocent mistake can be seen in the film Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman as an extremely impressive version of the real princess (and Tim Roth doing an equally brilliant turn as her husband, Prince Rainier). It’s a stellar cast and script, but in today’s age of action heroes these sorts of profoundly human stories too often get ignored.

The fact that the writer managed to tell a profoundly human story about a princess was no easy feat. I’m not sure how accurate the film is (I do know a friend of Prince Albert’s –their son– and will try to find out), but for the purposes of this piece all that matters is that the writer a) used a very real event in history and, b) he accurately portrayed the princess making a common human mistake.

The backstory is that Grace Kelly grew up as the daughter of a wealthy American businessman. Grace constantly felt inferior to her sister and unloved and disrespected by her parents. Many people can relate to those feelings which is what makes a film about a princess, universal.

People short on love from the sources we’re told we ‘should’ get it from (like our parents), will often then seek that love in a much shallower, but broader sense from a much larger group of people simply because it’s safer. Who notices a few people not clapping in a room full of clapping people? Celebrity love is spread thinly enough to act as a form of fallibility insurance.

This is why many unloved people seek to be stars of various types. (It’s also why the disenfranchised in society join gangs and hate groups.) We all move towards people who care for us. That is where we are accepted and safe, and the highest form of love is love without conditions.

That is where we are accepted and safe, and the highest form of love is love without conditions.

Needing to feel cared for and admired, it’s no surprise that Grace the disappointing daughter had a decent likelihood of ending up in a job where she was loved regularly by people too distant to disappoint her. But despite her fame and success as an actress, she still did not feel accepted or respected by her family, and her mother refused to offer anything more than cold comfort.

As a demonstration of how important acceptance is to human beings, Grace’s response to not being respected and loved was to be swept off her feet into a fairy tale wedding with a Prince. Surely being Royalty would impress her family. Surely being a princess was romantic. But apparently not.

Grace’s problem in the film is that she wants to be loved so desperately. But her husband has a duty to the State and plays the sort of role that means he cannot be the husband she seeks. He is an able and trustworthy partner, but he was raised in too rigid a life to have developed the warm sensibilities she sought.

But remember what we said about expectation? Grace’s problem wasn’t that she couldn’t get love and respect, it’s that she kept trying to get it from people that couldn’t give it. For her parents it was pride and ego that were in the way; for her husband, duty and decorum.

1302 Relax and Succeed - The Meaning of Life

Critical to the story is that her marriage overlapped a crises for the Principality of Monaco. Having no taxes, France saw all of her businesses leaving the nation for Monaco. De Gaulle –the former French Resistance leader turned President of France– wanted Prince Rainier to force a tax on the Monaco’s citizens.

France had complete control of Monaco’s utilities, supply chains and harbours. They had little to bargain with. De Gaulle was threatening tanks in their streets.

The turning point in the story is when Grace realizes that her husband does love her, but must play his role. She also realizes that Monaco needs her, and that her own role actually means something.

Grace is media savvy, and so she knows that even Presidents are subject to public opinion. By surrendering her efforts to get love from a singular source like her parents, or her husband, Grace was free to become her own person by serving her people in the greatest role of her life –that of their Princess.

Grace didn’t need love as much as she needed to be valued.

I would like to think that the final scene captures the moment fairly honestly, because the very quiet and subtle film wraps up rather neatly and beautifully with the results of Grace’s growth.

In a metaphor of her own life, Princess Grace not only cleverly saves the nation (no spoiler for you there –it is still there after all), but in doing so she demonstrates that a person’s ability to value themselves does not depend on the fickle love of others.

Our self-worth is inherent. Once we become aware of that we have few needs, from there we need only find how to serve with the abundance that is us –not enacting what we have to offer is as painful as not knowing it’s there.

We are at our best when we feel secure about ourselves. Without the debilitating drag of our insecurities, were are automatically left with an abundance of love to share with others. So rather than expecting love to come to us in the form of affection, we need to maintain an awareness of the fact that some of love’s greatest forms are actually found in the sense of exaltation that can only be created by sincerely giving our all.

peace, s