The Most Precious Gift

1254 Relax and Succeed - Togetherness and connectionEveryone feels their time is rushed and that it is increasingly valuable. But time is made of moments, and moments happen in our consciousness–they are where the external fates of the world meet our focus; our attention. Our problem isn’t so much that the wrong things come to us or that we focus on the wrong things. There really are no wrong things when you’re seeing things clearly. Our challenge is that we don’t focus at all.

Thanks to things like smart phones and social media, people live inside a constant stream of distractions, as our minds our actively encouraged to flit from thing to thing, without ever giving anything enough attention for us to ever come to truly understand what we’re taking in. How many times have you walked into a room and forgotten why you went in there? We do this with food, tasks, people. But we must remember; we don’t want to just see or hear, more importantly we want to watch and listen.

The rewards are two-fold in the case of focus, because not only is it a calmer, more natural state than our busy-mindedness, but also the person, place or thing being focused-on starts to take on remarkable dimensions as it or they become a part of a rewarding connection to your soul. This is how people can become the very best kind of lichenologists, fashion designers and parents.

1254 Relax and Succeed - The most precious giftOur real life isn’t an app or notification, it’s the events, places and people that we interact with each moment. The way we get distracted in our minds is much like we do on our phone or computer. You’re doing this or that and then your phone or computer beeps and you’re off to look at whatever it told you to. In your mind you’re in a moment talking to your spouse, or child or a co-worker and then suddenly you start talking to yourself about what’s happening and that’s your mind wandering.

When you let your mind wander like that you literally stop recognising an important truth about the other person, be they a loved one or a stranger. The moment you do that you become an ego who will see the world as a set of labels that only exist in relation to you:

Your fussy child isn’t possibly sick or otherwise uncomfortable if they’re seen as simply preventing you from getting where you’re going. Or that other person appears more attractive if you compare your spouse as simply an ego-list of the things you don’t like. Similarly, that person at work has let you down, they aren’t struggling as they go through the experience of losing someone dear to them. These are all ways that we disconnect form others, the world around us and ultimately ourselves.

1254 Relax and Succeed - The bird in a forest can perchIf you’re talking to yourself you are dividing your attention between two egocentric you’s and they are the source of your problems and your suffering. The real you is the being thinking those other two you’s into existence. That you is already deep and wise and steady and open. Your ego you is selfish; smart in some ways, dumb in others; you’re rarely calm and centered because you have so many wants and desires; and you get offended and bothered by things easily, meaning you’re not really being open.

The wise you lets things be. While it can wander too, your healthy soul notices thoughts that disturb your personal Star Wars-like force. It can feel you creating resistance by having a value-based conversation with itself, and through those thoughts you create  conflicting wants and desires. The separation between your separate you and those separate things (relationships, cars, jobs, status etc.) is the gap through which all of your suffering seeps. If only you’d realise you don’t need anything so that you’d come home to yourself more often.

Wisdom isn’t hard, it isn’t out of reach. Nor is calm, or compassionate, or loving or connected. These are all natural states when we quiet our busy egos. When we’re there we are our best selves, without judgment, without desires, and profoundly satisfied with our lives as they are. Take today and focus. Write it on a bunch of post it notes you’ll bump into, or ask a friend to text you randomly. It’s worth practicing, because deep down you’re literally learning to be yourself by doing so.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Feeling Our Way

1246 Relax and Succeed - There is no path to peaceThere is a constant communication system between us and our soul that can be represented by science as the chemistry associated with our feelings. As most of you know from reading this blog or other sources, that system gets overwhelmed and confused by a constant stream of ego-based personal thoughts.

We are all pulled apart by our egos as we habitually create word-filled debates within our consciousness, filling it with criss-crossed, undermining and uncertain ideas. We try to represent so many views that we cannot find one to take in confidence. Meanwhile, those who spend enough time quiet-minded can appear strange to others simply because they are following their own path through events, rather than negotiating the ephemeral barriers and obstacles that are created by the social constructs that stem from ego.

When we use our ego we talk ourselves out of trying to do something because the odds are ten thousand to one. Yet a person with a quiet mind never does that calculation or has long ego-based self-conversations, they simply trust their attraction to or repulsion from whatever’s being presented in that moment and in so doing they take the steps that lead them to become one of the 750,000 human beings who will be that one in ten thousand thing.

1246 Relax and Succeed - There is nothing to figure outStephen Hawking could have just been a depressed kid who did next to nothing. That was what the odds said. That would be his ego’s argument. But rather than self-discuss those odds with himself, Hawking took that time and mental energy and instead learned about science, and in doing so he became one of the most famous in history. There’s a huge lesson for all of us in the example of his life. Undoubtedly the majority of people at the time would never have believed that he could have achieved what his soul lead him to achieve.

The only downside to using Hawking is that he’s famous, and we don’t want to mistake fame or public success as defining what fits a calling or path for ourselves. Sometimes calling’s are quite painful or tedious, and they can include interesting things like being a journalist, or a child care worker; or dangerous things like being a soldier or deep sea researcher. But it can also be things like looking after a disabled child, or caring for an infirmed family member, or planting trees for a logging company, or even patiently and quietly looking after lepers, as one famous case proved.

Healthy people find a rhythm that suits them and how their brains naturally work. I’ve noted it before; after his enlightenment Robert Pirsig wrote technical manuals because he was good at it and he enjoyed it. He also didn’t care if anyone else thought it was boring. He wasn’t here to live a life approved by other people, he was here to live out the calling of his own soul. We are to, so we have to stop talking to ourselves so that we can feel what ours is telling us. If we confuse those feelings with all kinds of ego-created emotions we’ll live in a state of anxiety.

1246-Relax-and-Succeed-Follow-your-soul.jpg

We can’t trust our feelings until we’re quiet-minded enough to be able to tell them from the emotional products of our egocentric conversations between our many selves. We must stop trying to speculate everything, and stop predicting our future, and instead we must just let go, go quiet, be ourselves, and then trust with all of our heart that we’ll know our direction. And our direction might seem crazy. It might be to not take any action right now. It might be to do something doomed to fail. But if the feeling says we feel right about out in our deepest core, that’s worth paying attention to.

It’s not your job to judge the larger meanings. Our role is simply to be ourselves, apparently dumb decisions and mistakes and all. This whole universe is far too complex to ever be grasped by our limited consciousness. But if we relax and trust that our feelings matter, the small part of the universe that is our path will suddenly become illuminated. Our path is always waiting for us . We need only turn our attention to it.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Internal Interventions

You have done the meditations and you’ve started to learn the act of switching emotions, the patience to decide if the emotion should be changed or experienced, and then you’ve gotten to know how your emotions impact your physical self so that you have clear indications of when you’re happy and when you’re otherwise.

872 Relax and Succeed - Dear uncertaintyWe’ve talked about using your posture, a smile, a tone of voice, a manner of walking–that would all incite activity in the parts of your brain where you’re better wired up for happiness. This is like when they teach little kids to have a happy place. As we’ve discussed, you can have some go-to thoughts that you like, but don’t go adding to your negative narrative if you miss the opportunity to take those reigns.

You have to learn several things: a general awareness of yourself, an emerging understanding of how your psychological self emerges within your physical being, and the possibility and wisdom of making those changes. Changes that may have been otherwise seen as needing external intervention rather than internal intervention.

It is still perfectly useful to you to become aware of an emotion in this way and not do anything about it. If you’re initially upset you didn’t escape your unnecessary bad feelings then that means you have fully accepted that you can change them–you just haven’t refined your switching or your acceptance. Just your awareness is a bigger part of this than you realize.

Yes, the change feels really nice pretty much immediately, but even when you make it you’ll be on tilted ground. If anyone did anything that you felt exacerbated your issue, your recovery might well slide backwards immediately. That’s fine too. I want you to come to know this landscape. To slow it all down so you can see it more naturally. This is where you really live.

872 Relax and Succeed - Those who don'tAs you study yourself your knowledge grows and you will find yourself intervening–sometimes in surprising ways. These weren’t things you calculated with brain knowledge, but more the things you know through a more immediate wisdom. It knows what to do in a profound way, but it does need access to the steering wheel. If your ego is busy trying to steer around pain then it can hog the wheel all the way until you fall asleep. And in the end it won’t avoid any pain, but all that useless weaving will create a lot of suffering.

See the “emotional you” as someone who is very simply addicted to the chemistry for their Dominant Negative Emotion. It’s why people with an abusive parent will date abusive people, or even why people will frighten themselves intentionally etc. Everyone’s hunger for each chemical varies, but our Dominant Negative Emotion is one worth doing an intervention with.

By changing or even muting that emotion some percentage of the time you will instill in yourself this capability. Over time it will become so ordinary and everyday that instead someone will describe your ability as your personality. You’ll be referred to as extremely patient, or extraordinarily compassionate or forgiving, and that will feel good. But again, this isn’t about you looking good to others, it’s about you being authentic.

872 Relax and Succeed - If you want to liveIf you’re truly free then you won’t be as willing to bow to counter-productive social norms. Others might see you as difficult or arrogant, but really what’s happening inside is that you’re focusing on the things that matter. Yes, the wrapping paper says something. But that’s messaging. The contents are what ultimately count. It’s fine to wrap something up beautifully. But only if it isn’t to disguise the fact that it’s not really what it purports to be. People’s wisdom will eventually figure that out.

See your ego as more separate today. See it as a literal other person. Enhance that distance. It will help you see that your ego is your shadow. You can’t do things by changing the shape of your shadow–that’s all just spinning in place. You must alter what is happening within yourself. Therefore you will behave in a different way and thereby cast a different shadow. (The only question will be, what will you do when a healthy state for you gives you a shadow you’ve historically avoided..?) 😉

Spend today and tomorrow focused on body awareness and listening to your ego as a separate entity. Catch yourself a few times doing each and you’ll have done well. I know some of you have post-it notes to remind you at your desks, so if you’re serious about doing these meditations you will already have advanced your awareness considerably. You deserve to feel very good about that. Now go create a great day.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations around the world.

Separate Realities

It wasn’t until my massive insight while living in Budapest that I realized the rest of you were taking your thoughts seriously. That answered a lot of questions about why people did what they did. But it also presented some new questions like; is there a way to bridge those realities?

743 Relax and Succeed - Life is a single tatamiThe simple answer is: yes. you can bridge them with any genuine connection. The Greeks had a lot of words for love because it could arrive as romance or it could arrive as a friend’s wisdom (which is separate from people’s advice). Or love could come in the form of brotherly support, motherly care, a stranger’s compassion, a partner’s tolerance, a sexual connection with a lover, or the meaning in a work of art—these are all forms of love.

Whether it’s sexual and we’re literally inside each other, or whether it’s over space and time and we are connected to an artist via a work of art, we are connected. At that point we do not see difference. We perceive that they are experiencing the same thing as us. We are sharing an experience.

The universe has fractured into definitions. Our subject and object view of the world keeps creating greater and greater sub-definitions. We find more out in space and more in the sub-atomic world. We find new diseases and species. We discover past discoveries have been wrong and we split them into new categories. We file and sort and define and order and value. So when we look at people it’s easy to sort them, file them and then react to that instead of to the person we actually see in front of us.

Don’t make your spirituality something separate from your day. Don’t make the management of your psychology something you only do when you’re suffering. Become conscious instead. It feels wonderful and it allows you to steer past so many obstacles that you would otherwise collide with. But to do that you have to surrender labelling the world for being present within it.743 Relax and Succeed - Pain is psychological

We know love as a feeling. We can quiet our thoughts when we’re enthralled in love. Well we can do the same thing with peace or with silence or with the present moment. They are also things that can so fully occupy our being that we don’t have room to construct a personal identity to have personal thoughts. We are simply having an experience. There’s no one having it. It’s just an experience experienced.

As you move through your day try to genuinely connect with the people you engage with. Don’t talk to them as a role or an identity or from a role or identity. See them in that moment as though you were told they were going to surprise you somehow today. Watch for the surprise. Be awake. It will change you.

It’s hopefully for 70-100 years. Accept that this play we’re all performing in requires us all to have separate roles—separate ways of seeing the world. Life is the interaction of those views. Things aren’t going wrong when we tangle with others for better or worse. The tangling is what it is to be alive. And when you accept that and make friends with where you are and the moment you’re in, you’re life changes dramatically.

Endeavour to be conscious. It’s not hard and it’s easily worth it. You’ll have more energy, clarity, emotional control and you’ll end up happier in the end. And you are easily worth that and more.

Have an awesome day.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #60

646 OP Relax and Succeed - Dear self

Dear Self, this me talking to myself. So why is I asking me to accept me? That question eats itself. Does an eye see itself? Does a tooth bite itself? Now loving yourself you can do. But that isn’t a discussion I has with me where one officially approves of the other and gives it compliments. Self Love is when you feel that the enjoyment of your own life is actually a priority. That you are worth leaving bad relationships for, that you are worth doing nice things for, or having good people love you just because you’re you. As for making the right choices, there are no right choices. There are only choices you make and their consequences. But those get much easier when your head’s not full of conversations between I and me. What is good for you is what feels right at the time—not in a pleasure or escape way, but in a way where you feel strong and capable and confident and authentic. And as for being alone, none of us are truly alone. That’s just you not loving yourself. Because none of us are actually really here in the sense that we’re truly separate. We are literally made of atoms that used to be stars and comets and the Earth itself and all of the beings on it. And all of the connection that goes with that reality is powerful. You are literally an aspect of the universe itself. How could you be more connected than that? How could you be more desired than the universe itself literally took the time to assemble literally trillions of others atoms—as many as there are stars in the known universe (yes, seriously)—into little old you. You’re that intentional. You were wanted that badly that all of that work was done just so that you could exist. So don’t waste that existence having those atoms talk to each other about whether or not they’re acceptable or worthwhile. Your existence guarantees your value. So stop spinning in place trying to be worthy and get out there. The universe needs you. If you need more help on this, check out the third video on Friday Dose #58. That’s the truth. And from one aspect of the universe to another, let’s start off Monday like this: I love you. Unequivocally. Without changes, improvements or betterment, I can see the light of the universe inside you. So don’t let other people convince you otherwise and don’t let yourself do that either. It’s an insult after how hard the universe worked to make sure single individual you even existed. So use that existence wholeheartedly. Don’t spend all your time trying to get love when you are filled with love. Be the verb of giving all of that away. It feels wonderful and you can do it. Start today. Forget the self-flagellating. Smile and be. It’s that easy. It truly is. Love you. 😉

peace s

Note: Everyone who posts or shares a quote does so with the very best of intentions. That said, I have created the series of Other Perspectives blog posts in an effort to prevent some of these ideas from entering into people’s consciousness unchallenged. These quotes range from silly to dangerous and—while I intend no offense to their creators—I do use these rebuttals to help define and delineate the larger message I’m attempting to convey in my own work. I do hope you find them helpful in your pursuit of both psychological and spiritual health.

The Friday Dose #55

620 Relax and Succeed - Use what talentsI’m pretty excited about today’s Dose. This should leave you feeling a lot more passionate about living in a way that truly suits your nature. So how about if we take about 20-30 minutes for some very enjoyable activity and literally come up with a plan to change the world? Okay, let’s start with—where are we now? Even though the crime rate has gone down steadily for about 40 years, all we see on the news is people treating each other terribly. Fraud’s, thefts, violence, murder and even rape. We all see enough of that. Instead, let’s use the best version of ourselves as a starting point. The problem with modern culture is that everyone is forced by their work to be disingenuous. Accountants will proudly state, “I can take a two million dollar profit and make it a four million dollar loss and still meet all the generally accepted rules of accounting.” Fancy words for lie. $4.99 is a lie. It’s five bucks. At a dealership it’s always so hard to get the price of the car! No one’s cooperating. Everything’s faking like these are genuine relationships, with first names and handshakes or even hugs, but this is no tribe that’s grown up together and would die for each other. In our system it’s literally structured based on the fact that each person is motivated fairly strictly by their own needs. So like a telephone, we lie through the numbers or words and other people pretend to listen to us for an entirely artificial conversation. So has anyone fixed that problem yet? This guy’s off to a pretty good start. 🙂

.

Okay that was pretty cool. Do you see how already that felt so much better than the duplicitous version where the person or business pretends to be helpful? But that’s all a magician’s trick where it’s just to get you looking the other way so they can pad a charge somewhere. I know people try to stay in that healthy, respectful zone, but our social structures sort of force us into those roles as though we’re in a play and our role is the bad guy. Okay, so how do we become our own director? How do we take a healthy form of control so that we can use that energy in a focused way. Well this guy here has an absolutely beautiful encapsulation of what I do. I will still engage with certain things, but because I want to, not because I can’t control myself. This is brilliant. I really think this is going to add up to something, so think about sharing this page of videos. I really do want to change the world. Okay, so let’s here this young genius:

.

Nice! Okay, so now we’re under control so we don’t have to be so hard on ourselves. Now what? Well, if we’re not engaging in much negativity then we’ll have a whack of energy to apply to other things, so how about we think about shaking that cage that makes us act in ways that we don’t feel good about? We have to remember that it’s not really a cage. It’s in our minds. All of these controls are only in our minds. Here’s a pretty inspirational video on breaking out. And I love that this is how farmers and artists and craftsmen live:

.

Now that we’ve decided to dismantle what we had in order to build something better, what do we want to build? What are our aims? Well, we all would like to find a way to be in a physical and psychological place where it’s possible for us to really and truly love ourselves and our life. So let’s stop all the problems in the world. Gandhi is a pretty impressive role model, and we all know he said be the change you want to see in the world. Well some people are already modelling that behaviour.

I have some soul-close friends I’ve travelled the world with who attend Burning Man semi-regularly. We’re all planning a big trip with a large group of friends soon, but we need a lot of lead time because we really want to do something smart and spectacular. Because Burning Man isn’t like anything else. Burning Man is the future. And best of all, we can truly be our own uninhibited selves. Imagine if you actually felt so awesome acting in public the same way you only do when you’re dancing in front of your own mirror to your favourite song! True freedom. And you feel great about it because everyone around you is doing it too. And that combination of collective spiritual freedom of the soul is actually the culture of Burning Man.

Your joy and creativity in realizing your true self is what that culture is all about. So let’s change the energy for a minute and I’ll provide a list of videos that collectively will give you a good sense of why the festival is so unique and famous for how it feels. Here’s an overview so that all the super cool stuff will make sense. In many ways it really is the most important part. It’s the framework for the plan to save the world:

.

Here’s a video that gives you and idea of what the festival actually looks like. And remember, this 60,000 person city rises up out of nowhere for one week and when everyone leaves you’d never know they were there. The art projects, the fantastic vehicles and the amazing costumes all flow into the culture and spirit and the whole place sort of feels like a church during a wedding—it’s just got such great energy. Consider joining us. We want the city to expand until it includes the entire world.

.

And finally here’s a TED talk delivered by a seven year old about her experience at Burning Man. It’s from a seven year old, but at that age she does a fantastic job of capturing the key reasons why people love Burning Man. They also got a lot of great shots of some of the amazing things her and her dad saw. Here’s her talk and pictures:

.

So are you with me? Let’s all start by not taking those bombs from people. It’ll take a while to remember to do it, but if you practice you’ll have it down in no time. And it leaves you with way more energy and enthusiasm. So think about how you would revolutionize your life. Even if you never go, actually plan a trip. Maybe even come up with some creative project. The whole point of Burning Man is that you start to actually wholeheartedly participate in your own life.

There’s so many great photographers at Burning Man, and I know I’ve mentioned him a few times before, but a favourite of mine is Trey Ratcliff. No one can sell anything from Burning Man, but Trey has a lot of other amazing work you’re very likely to find spectacular. Enjoy the site. They’re all as good as this but they vary widely so check it out:

TREY RATCLIFF

620 Relax and Succeed - Trey Ratcliff - The Dock in the Desert-X3

I’ll leave you with a link to a great collection of TED Talks about the various aspects of Burning Man. There’s also a great collection of documentaries on YouTube featuring various perspectives on the festival. As you look at them, do not think of those as ideas isolated out in the desert like a sanctuary. Instead take them into your world and breathe life into them with your own being. That would be very Burning Man. 😉

peace. s

PS 😉

Matthew Schoening

THE BURNING MAN GALLERY

peace. s

The Friday Dose is a collection of cool, interesting and surprising things that are chosen for their potential to distract you away from any painful thought loops that may currently be disrupting your sense of perspective. Save these for when you’re feeling low and you want to change your perspective. They’ll help Enjoy. And please let me know if you bump into any broken links. Thanks!

The Law of Attraction

Winner: 2015’s Blog of the Year #10

There’s a lot of people wandering around out there with a confused idea about the Law of Attraction. Because it isn’t some tool to get what you want. Wanting is something egos do. This isn’t about you being conditionally happy. It’s not about a nicer house and a good stall for your luxury car. This is about deep and abiding peace. And you don’t need anything specific going on outside of you for that state of mind to exist within you. Remember, your life experience isn’t out there, your life experience is created when you process out there, in here. The reality you experience every day emerges from within.

614 Relax and Succeed - You do not attractSo this isn’t you imagining a nice house and then getting a nice house. That’s wish fulfillment and that’s deep in the heart of ego. No, this is about how you are in the world. This isn’t about you asking for stuff you want when you want it, this is about the verb of your life and what does it communicate?

So for instance my father is constantly helping other people and so he’s simultaneously the sort of person people enjoy helping. But that can’t be my dad’s goal. He can’t be manipulating what he gets. He has to almost be surprised by it, because he is so enveloped in genuinely being who he is. And that Isness—that way of being—is a vibration that exists in the universe and it helps us to find harmonizing frequencies. It’s why at parties all the sufferers and sick people tend to hang out together, and all the adventurers and entertainers tend to hang together, the jokesters and light-hearted tend to hang together, and all the judgmental gossipy people tend to hang together. They choose to think the same types of thoughts and like attracts like.

614 Relax and Succeed - There is a story they tellSo if you don’t have enough friends then it may simply be that you’re not being friendly enough. Or if you’re not meeting potential dates, then maybe you’re also not introducing yourself to them. Or if you don’t think people like you then maybe you should start with liking yourself. Stop being so judgmental and comparative and just be yourself fully and completely and without apology. That would have you in such a rare collection of people–and they share the most beautiful kind of beauty.

Complaining about the world doesn’t attract solutions it attracts other complainers. Being angry at another driver doesn’t make them drive better, it makes you drive worse. And you cannot yell at your kids and then ask them to speak respectfully back to you. We get what we give out. That’s how the Law of Attraction works.

Now go attract yourself an awesome day by being the awesome person you naturally are. 🙂

peace. s

Scott McPherson writes, speaks, and facilitates mindfulness training and relationship development with individuals, couples, families, companies and non-profit organizations around the world.