Scott’s Favourite Friday Dose of 2014 #2

720 SFD14 Relax and Succeed - My goal is to create

There was about three or four other Dose’s that got serious consideration for this Top Two ranking, but it came down to which ones were greater priorities. This site tries to always be about you feeling stronger and more capable. To feel that way you have to be filled with joy and rewarding experiences. So 2nd Place goes to a post that features two creative people talking very wisely about personal and professional achievement, growth, overcoming challenges, and how to live an inspired life. And it also includes a little girl who reminds us of the magic in small things. We just have to slow our busy minds down enough to realize that amazing parts of life are happening all around us, all the time. There was a day where we were all that innocent, a day where we all learned about gifts falling from the sky….

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Winner: Scott’s Top
Friday Dose of 2014 #2

peace. s

2014’s Blog of the Year #8

579 Relax and Succeed - It's easier than you think*

Of course in hindsight my accident is likely the most valuable thing that has ever happened to me. It still took me over 30 years to realize that not everyone had invested their life in thinking about thinking. Now that I know that it’s so much easier to be helpful. Simply put, people overcomplicate life. As Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.” Whether you’re being your mother self or daughter self or sister self or employee self or boss self, or worried self or angry self, that’s all you. Those are your many masks and you like everyone else is doing nothing more than marching toward your inevitable death. Since that’s the case, you might as well live something profound in between. This blog was noted by numerous people for having successfully paired a lesson on how to quit worrying and start living deeply, with a very inspirational video by the wonderful philosopher, Alan Watts. So what are you waiting here for? Click the link and go get inspired 😉

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2014’s Blog of the Year #8

peace. s

2014’s Blog of the Year #10

577 Relax and Succeed - It is not enough*

It’s that time of year again folks. (Well, at least on the calendar that Canada uses.) The last two weeks before Christmas everyone gets busy and that’s when I shift to the countdown of the 10 most popular blogs of the year. If you haven’t read these then their inclusion here is a good indication that you will like them. And even if you have read them, fortunately my work is designed to be re-read because I am primarily invested in the reader changing. If you read anything of mine, you’ll feel quite differently if you read it again in a few months.

This year’s countdown starts off rather fittingly at the beginning. At the basics. Consciousness arose, followed by language, and no one could know that the two would intersect in an amazing way so as to create an illusion for our minds. An illusion that must be seen from just the right angle or it stays hidden. An illusion that acts as an ethereal barrier for so many people seeking more happiness in their lives. I’m happy to report that many people found this posting helped clear up psychological and spiritual questions they have sought answers to for years. If it wouldn’t have been on this list it would have made my Scott’s Favourites week in the summer. Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you our first winner:

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2014’s Blog of the Year #10


peace. s

2013’s Blog of the Year

Happy New Year Everyone.

And so we have arrived. This seems very a very fitting winner to be announced on a January 1st. It was a close race between the first seven winners but the last three were all way out in front, with third, second and first all being roughly 50% larger than each other. This enormously popular posting is like a hybrid in that it features a short story by the great guru Tony DeMello. I’ve seen this story presented in a variety of ways but I’ll admit that I personally like my version best. 😉

This is a blog posting about Realization. The Realization that you are awesome beyond your dreamsthat you are connected to a sea of love by every fibre of your Being. And the only thing that prevents you from experiencing that wonder is your own limiting thoughts. You tell yourself a rigid little story and then you volunteer to live within its borders. This post is about pushing those borders outward. 280 Relax and Succeed - Argue for your limitationsIt’s about making that into a habit. It’s about you deciding to abandon the Pursuit of Success in favour of Engaging with Expansion. So yes, we can choose to be alone at the top. Or we can be connected to All. One feels hollow, the other feels full.

You’re ready. You were always ready. You can change at any time of day on any day of the week. But since 2014 is rolling in anyway you can use it as an official starting point. Just remember: a Resolution doesn’t have to succeed on January 1st. You can go in steps. Of course you’ll still get lost in your thoughts. Of course you’ll still have experiences you’ll wish you could figure out how to stop. But if 2014 is the year you truly dedicate yourself to raising your awareness , and if you work toward managing your thoughts more and your life less, then I can absolutely guarantee you that you will see progress.

So you can finish becoming the new person you want to be on the next January 1st. Because you get good at doing things by doing them. So you have to keep doing them. Just keep quietly moving toward maintaining your Awareness more of the time. That is why they call it a Practice. You don’t succeed 100%. You just practice. Get conscious. Trust me, it won’t take as long as you think and you’ll be steadily improving along the way anyway. It’s easily worth it.

This is your year. It’s time to clear the decks, throw out the old baggage, and especially and most importantly imagine yourself not as the person trying to become who you want to be—imagine yourself already being that person. Because that is how you get from here to there. It’s that simple. All you have to do is believe it. The people with great lives—the people who soar—they all have great lives because they believe they are worthy of great lives. Just like you. So as you work toward your own increased awareness of the incredible power of your own thoughts, I offer you this little piece of encouragement, also known as The Blog of the Year:
.

Fly Like An Eagle

You’re sitting there trying to figure out which road to take. Are you this, or are you that? Should you be in school or at a job? And what job? Working for who? And who should you be in a relationship with? Or should you be in a relationship at all? Should you choose this city or that one? This car or that one? Should you have skipped this 280 Relax and Succeed - Rather than spend eonsparty to be at that other one? Should you have said this or that? Blah blah blah goes your head.

Shoulda coulda woulda. If your aunt was a man she would be your uncle. Why are you even thinking/talking-to-yourself about what-ifs? Your speculation is meaningless. Stop using your thoughts to want to be somewhere or someone else. Stop using your internal conversations to discuss a different history with yourself. Can’t you see that your life is sitting still while you have those incessant internal conversations?

There are no wrong choices, there are only the choices you make. Be Present where you are because no amount of planning will give you a safe and secure path through life. You being safe and secure is not the point. You being alive is the point.

Your life is not a set of events. Read that again: your life is not a series of events. Your life is a stream of experiences. Stop trying to manage the events and start trying to manage the experiences. Because two people can be at the same event and have vastly different experiences. The difference between them is not where they were or what was happening outside of them. The difference was what they chose to focus their attention on within themselves.

That choice—the choice of what you invite into your awareness—is what forms your life experience. So st0p thinking about how you wish you could fly and start re-imagining yourself as someone who already can. Because the only thing keeping you grounded is your belief that you can’t fly.

280 Relax and Succeed - Your life is not a set of eventsYou’ll see me post Tony DeMello talks on the page occasionally. Tony was a Jesuit Priest, but more importantly he was an enlightened psychologist and a hilarious guy. He used to tell a story about you that I’ll paraphrase from memory:

Someone once took an egg from an eagle’s nest and placed it under a barnyard hen. A chicken sat on the egg and eventually it hatched. All his life the little eagle grew up with chickens and he did as the chickens around him did. He walked around pecking at the ground for worms and insects, clucking and cackling, and like them he occasionally fluttered his wings for a short hop through the air.

Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he was pecking away with all of the chickens in the yard and a large shadow passed overhead. The barnyard eagle looked up in awe at a magnificent, giant golden eagle. It hovered effortlessly over the farmyard, held aloft by only a small breeze. The little bird asked his chicken-friend, “Who is that?!” 

The other chicken looked up to see the eagle floating majestically, high above them. “That is the eagle. He is the king of the sky. He has the freedom to fly wherever he chooses.”

He’s magnificent,” said the eagle. “I so wish I could fly like he does.”

Yes, that would be nice,” replied the chicken. “But the eagle belongs to the sky. And we are chickens, and chickens belong on the ground.” 280 Relax and Succeed - To be or not to beAnd so the eagle looked back down to the dirt of the barnyard, where he began scratching and picking at the dry ground again.

And in the end the eagle never did fly. Instead he lived and died just like all of the other barnyard chickens. Because that is what he thought he was.

You are not a chicken. You are an eagle. So stop looking downward in some panicked effort to find more or better worms than your neighbour. Forget competing with the chickens of ego. Stop using the weight of your own judgmental thinking to hold your spirit down. Instead, use the wings of your imagination to lift you to heights you previously did not know belonged to you. You’ll not only have a much greater perspective, but your freedom will be an inspiration to all of the other chickens.

There is no right or wrong way to fly. There are no good or bad paths through the sky. There is only flying. Now go be an eagle.

peace. s

 

2013’s Blog of the Year #8

273 Relax and Succeed - The hardest thingYou’re worse at keeping secrets than you imagine. Like a child who thinks that if they cannot see you then you cannot see them, your attempts to hide your feelings are only half-successful. That’s largely because you see the world from inside out, and other people look at your life from the outside in. You think the thoughts, we see the expressions.

I suspect this blog got into the top ten strictly with its subject matter alone. Many people completely forget that their face is a direct reflection of their thinking. It’s funny, I had more than one person tell me that their vanity was helping them stay conscious because they were very alert about giving people the wrong facial signals. So ironically their egos motivated an exercise designed to promote consciousness. Go figure.

It’s short, sweet, and it’s my reader’s choice for the 8th Most Popular Blog of the Year:

Your Secret Communication

When I’m watching auditions and screen tests for a project I’m casting, I’ll always watch the actor when their role isn’t talking because that’s when you can see if they’re truly in character. A bad actor will tend to either just play the emotions, or they’ll create a collection of affectations that they imagine is interesting and in alignment with the character. The really good actors don’t 273 Relax and Succeed - Be mindful of your self-talkhave a line between the character and themselves. They are Being the other person by thinking their thoughts. But how do I know which is which?

What you perceive as “your body” is actually a cooperation of individual cells working together to make you operational. Your brain does the processing, but your whole body is smart. And your body talks via chemistry. So when you think a frightened thought, your hypothalamus will stop pumping out the chemical for your previous experience, and it will shift to pumping out the chemicals for fear—chemicals like adrenaline.

Your body will react instantly to this chemical signal. Each cell has essentially been given its orders relative to the group. Muscles in the legs will tense in preparation to fight or run, your heart rate will increase to oxygenate those muscles, and the muscles in the face will adjust by opening your eyes wider to allow your dilated pupils to see everything going on. The chemicals will flare your nostrils to allow more air to get into your lungs so your heart can get it to those muscles. And the result of all of that is what we call “a frightened look.”

So back to the actors; when the bad actor isn’t talking, he looks like he’s waiting to say his next line because that’s what his thoughts are doing. The good actor looks like he’s listening to the other actor as though he’s never heard the words before.

273 Relax and Succeed - What I thinkAll of this means that when you believe you’re hiding how you feel, that’s because when you talk to someone you say to yourself, “yes, just smile and nod. That’s right, let this bitch think you really care one second about what she’s saying,” and you can almost genuinely smile. But when the person leaves, you’ll feel safe and you’ll go back to your internal narrative. And you’ve forgotten people can still see your face. And because you’re inside those thoughts at that time—you are being them, rather than observing them—you don’t notice that you’re communicating a lot to the people around you. It’s why deaf people generally spot liars much faster and more easily than people who can hear.

I used to walk my cute little Bichon Frise down Whyte Avenue and I would see punks or skinheads or hipsters, and when they first saw Mo their face would expose a dog-lover. They would explode into a smile—but then they would catch themselves. This is a street to be cool on. And I would watch them remember that, and that thought would shift their expression to careless indifference. (I suspect it’s models and mannequins that suggest to young people that pouty dissatisfaction is equivalent to being sophisticated and discerning.) So on the street with the dog, that kid will have forgone his own natural interests in favour of looking cool to others. It’s like we’re all peacock’s and advertising has taught everyone that mating season is 24/7 for 365 days a year.273 Relax and Succeed - Beauty is not in the face

Your face is a real-time biography. Everyone knows much more about you than you realize because your face can’t keep the secrets if your brain thinks the thoughts. You can’t have one thought and another expression. That’s what an expression is; it’s the result of the chemistry from your thinking.

So if you really want to look beautiful, forget buying better foundation or eye-liner—try actually noticing what’s nice about the universe around you. Because that thought will immediately beam out of your face, and it’s the only look that everyone agrees is beautiful.

Now go be yourself. Go be beautiful.

Much love, s

Scott’s Top Three Re-Blogs of 2013: #1

270 Relax and Succeed - David Foster Wallace by Steve RhodesDavid Foster Wallace was a literary genius. If you haven’t read anything of his you might want to start with Infinite Jest. He’s funny and wise and very philosophical. More importantly —he makes us philosophical too. He’s one of those great writers who gets you to slow down to the speed of life and actually notice things that are right in front of you. Things that make you realize how absurd life really is.

The nicely produced video below was created by The Glossary. I suspect the people running Wallace’s estate don’t understand the power of social media because they routinely have the video deleted from YouTube despite the fact that it’s popular and it ends with a recommendation and directions on how to buy his book. Seems like you might call that effective free advertising, but hey it’s their property. As long as it is available I want you to see it—and as I said from the outset, I strongly encourage you to read some DFW too.

This video encapsulates a third of my course. This is the part about Acceptance. And that’s critical. We have to understand how the world works before we can understand ourselves within it. It’s when we begin to understand that our lives already are in fact rich and not poor that 270 Relax and Succeed - Choose the world you seesome egoic tension subsides. It is when we stop pushing against the amazingness of pure being with our endless personal thoughts about a hyper-specific list of wants and “needs.” But once you’re ready to Accept, how do you go about it?

The second aspect of my training is when people learn to be Quiet—that’s a capital “Q” Quiet Inside. That means no talking to yourself. No bitching or gossiping to others. Just chopping wood and carrying water, like the Zen Masters say. That leaves space for the third and final aspect, which focuses on Gratitude. That is what you point your open canvass at. That is how you paint a masterpiece of a life. You simply stay quiet and notice life’s rewards, opportunities, and fortunes. How can you feel badly if that’s the channel you have your life is tuned to?

David Foster Wallace was a genius and this excerpt from his Commencement Speech at Kenyon College is a stunningly brilliant encapsulation of the first key to untangling the agony that is the Human Ego: We must first become aware that our suffering is not abnormal. It is not a problem. Peace comes when we stop thinking about “ourselves.” It’s when we stop confronting our very state of being and instead we begin to consider others as 270 Relax and Succeed - There is a huge amountwell. It is only then that we learn that every life involves tedium and tragedy. Every life includes excitement and triumph. And so rather than weigh our own agonies against those of others, we’re better to surrender into the idea that this is very simply How It Is. With that acceptance in place we can begin to learn to go Quiet to the point that we can eventually begin to realize that we have been surrounded by things to be Grateful for for our entire lives. All you have to do is learn to see the water.

Ladies and Gentleman I present to you my 1st Place Finisher for Re-Blog of the Year is:

David Foster Wallace: This is Water

Today a special treat.

Every now and then some extremely wise person or people will put together an absolutely brilliant description of the Truth. Here, David Foster Wallace uses his genius to teach us how the world actually works—in under ten minutes. If you want to know what students study with me, this is my class in a nut-shell.

Enjoy. (Trust me, it’ll be easy.)

(And just in case one’s been deleted, I’ll include another below it as well. )

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David Foster Wallace on Amazon

peace. s

Scott’s Favourite Blog of 2013

267 Relax and Succeed - Can you rememberI find it challenging to listen to people running themselves down because all I see is beauty and amazingness. This blog post was originally written in response to me having listened to a student one day. We were just starting the process and she felt alone and unworthy and lost. And so I reminded her that there are no such things. These are merely stories well tell ourselves. We simply are where we are and we’re doing what we’re doing. All that judgment is just fluff in our consciousness. All I did was help her to quiet that internal narrator and in the ensuing silence she felt naturalwhich is to say: fantastic.

I was disturbed by the distance in her consciousness between her actual Being and her sense of herself. So when we got off the phone I immediately sat down to write this. And as soon as I was done I knew that it was—in my own view—the best piece of writing I’ve ever done on what is a very slippery subject for any kind of language. I believe the metaphors here are clear and concise and that virtually anyone would benefit from meditating on the ideas it contains. It was a pleasure writing it and I certainly hope you find it a pleasure to read. I know I’m very pleased to offer it to you as my personal favourite for Best Blog of the Year. Enjoy.

The Soul Kitchen

Do you feel guilty? Do you have regrets? Do you wish you could have done better? Do you wish you were different?

74 Relax and Succeed - The mind that perceives LimitationsLook at how disrespectful you are. The massive, roiling, infinite soup of the Universe assembles you from trillions of cells, made from trillions of atoms, made of trillions of Higgs Boson’s—or whatever metaphor you want to use—and you use the voice you were given to say back to the Universe, “Sorry, but this is weak work. You created a ‘faulty’ person that should change before it’s allowed to exist in peace. I’m sorry, but I cannot be happy with this sad state of affairs.”

Well now, aren’t you bold.

Imagine you are in God’s / Nature’s / the Universe’s kitchen—the place where the Universe comes into Being. Imagine that All-That-Is, is in fact a large pot of soup on God’s stove. This soup contains all that ever was and all that ever will be. Everything that exists in the space-time of the soup is always just reconstituted soup, just as the atoms that make up you are in fact bits of old stars and galaxies. You aren’t so much “You” as you are a collection of other bits that are currently cooperating to Be you. And when you die your personal thoughts will subside and the bits that are “you” will return back to the Universe to be reconstituted yet again, like ink returning to an inkwell, ready for a new story to be written.

Can you see in this analogy that it’s sort of silly for a little piece of the soup to suggest that it doesn’t belong or that it doesn’t fit in? What does it think “it” is? Does it think the cook can be wrong? This soup will be made for all of eternity. What exactly would define wrong in that sense? How can soup that’s all made of one ingredient have parts of itself suggesting that other parts of itself are wrong? You’re hilarious with your thoughts of separateness.

T267 Relax and Succeed - Love is the bridgehere was a terrific guru named Sydney Banks who passed away a few years ago. Syd was a wonderful man and like most true Guru’s he had his own unique way of imparting the universe to others. The Buddha talked about illusion, Lao Tzu talked about the Flow of Tao, Jesus talked about a lack of judgment, Abraham-Hicks talks about Belonging, Eckhart Tolle talks about Now, I talk about reality, and Sydney Banks talked about Mind, Thought, and Consciousness. Using this last metaphor, let’s look again at our soup.

Mind would be the soup itself. Everything is made of Mind. All that ever Is begins with Mind. And we could define our Consciousness as the ability to freeze soup. Consciousness can freeze the soup into anything. It’s not frozen soup itself—it’s the actual ability to freeze reality. It’s the act of freezing.

So it can freeze Soup into soft curvy shapes or it can shape Soup in to sharp angular ones, but the act of freezing doesn’t differentiate or judge—it simply freezes into existence whichever Thoughts you choose to think in your Now. Thought is what chooses the shape you freeze yourself into. Read that again: you take the open, infinite possibility of the Mind-soup, and you use the ability of your consciousness to freeze parts of the soup into whatever you “think” is you. So there isn’t so much a “You” as there is a part of the soup that’s currently frozen this way or that way, and it’s frozen that way by your thinking.

I’ve traveled a lot around the world and don’t take many photos, but when I look back at old photos I do have, I’ll often see “myself” frozen into a shape that I no longer am. Younger versions of myself entertained different thoughts about the world. The me of today would have a shape that would conflict with the me of yesterday. But the conflicts are irrelevant because it’s all Soup. What’s important is the fact that I used my consistent ability to freeze-think myself into existence and over the years I’ve chosen different shapes. Those shapes were who I said I “was.”

267 Relax and Succeed - I am not what happened to meDo you see how cute my identity is? This soup will be cooked for eternity. Eternity. Does it seem sensible that our little frozen part of the soup should imagine that it’s somehow wrong or faulty or otherwise undeserving of being a part of the soup? And which version of me gets to be the ultimate judge of the other versions of me?

Think about this some more. That frozen bit of you-ness is just the Soup of Mind, frozen by Freedom of Consciousness into the Identity and Experience of Thought. So the little ice-you that is made of soup is floating in the soup it’s made of and what it’s doing as it floats is it is telling stories to itself about its separateness—its aloneness; its desire to be reunited with The Soup. And it does this all while Being soup itself.

You have never been separate. You have never been alone. You have never been wrong or undeserving. You have merely thought all of those things. But when you stop your busy personal thinking what do you think happens? Do you cease to exist? Or do all of the parts of soup that came together to Be you simply melt back into the soup? That melting is in fact the act of connection. It is a meditation.

You are Enlightened every time you lose track of time. You do that because you are simply Being Soup rather than thinking yourself into a state of seeming separateness. In the end it doesn’t matter what shapes the soup is frozen into—it doesn’t matter if it’s frozen into peace, or into war, into marriage or divorce, into success or failure it’s all The Soup. It includes all Yin and Yang. But the important part is that The Soup is always The Soup. So stop trying to change it and just start tasting it instead. Because there was never anything wrong with the soup and so there can never be anything truly wrong with you.

Enjoy your day. You can’t go wrong.

I love you. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.