Your Life Story

There’s debates about who said it or who said it first, but somewhere sometime someone said that every writer has to write a million words of shit before they’ll write anything any good. The number itself is largely a metaphor for the fact that in everything in life, we get good by doing. And the more we do (either in intensity or duration or both), the more skilled we get at that thing.

Just as in life, every writer wants to be good because they know the tools. They know the alphabet, so they have their hammer; and they’ve read sentences–which is like watching a house being built–so that’s where they start. But it’s absurd to think they’ll be as good of a carpenter on that first job as they’ll be in 25 years.

That logic applies to anything. The conscious person who learns with intensity learns more than someone with less intensity, and someone conscious who puts in more time also learns more than someone who puts in less time or who uses less consciousness. This is is true of writing, cooking, raising kids, teaching, or–yes–living.

Living is a skill. So yeah, physically and mentally you eventually deteriorate, so maybe your life-work gets a bit sloppy near the end, but by then everyone’s forgiving you. But otherwise you just get better and better at living life every year you live it, and the more conscious you are the more your learn. That’s all well and good. The problem comes in when you want the wisdom before you’ve even had the experiences that teach it.

Your expectations of yourself and your life start off pretty wacky. Because you can edit your writing you think you can edit life. And because of that you’ll go through these periods where you’ll feel like you’re totally failing because you’ll be nowhere near your targets and you can’t fix your past. But it’s not your life that’s the problem, or your ability to edit; it’s your expectation that you would know things before you learned them. You do that all the time and yet it’s truly crazy.

Graceful living requires only one thing: live the moment you’re in fully and presently. That means being in it and aware of it, rather than thinking about what-ifs or regrets. Things going in challenging ways aren’t failures, that’s just the texture of the surface you’re climbing. And when you reach the summit of your own peak–your own death–you’ll have a better understanding that you weren’t supposed to climb the highest mountain or the hardest–you were just supposed to climb. Which mountain you started on never really mattered.

You will know more tomorrow than today, and today you know more than you knew yesterday. If you go back and rethink and rethink over and over, re-editing all of your life’s work, you’ll never get much writing done and you won’t get much living lived.

Trust that as the writer writes, the writer improves. Forget the early pages. They’re both written and read. Because that’s the other important thing; other people will only glance at your book just as you’ll only glance at theirs. You might read deeply into maybe half a dozen books in your life. Because it turns out these weren’t being written to be read, the were written for the writing’s sake.

Stop worrying about your mistakes and just write–just live. You were never supposed to be perfect. You were just supposed to be here. That in and of itself, is perfect.

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.

Ego Awareness

1026-relax-and-succeed-the-goal-of-meditationMost people want to make changes but they’re too busy being who they think they are. They never stop to actually figure out who their ego is and how they might more easily identify it when it shows up. It’s important to remember; an ego must be summoned. Your natural state is peace. Your thinking-in-words state is your ego. So how do we find that little trouble-maker?

One of the easiest ways to catch your ego is to simply listen to yourself. And I don’t mean the sounds. If you had to ascribe a tone to your conversations and your responses, would it be negative or positive? Do you take what someone said and polish it up to look nicer, or do you take it and make it worse?

Get to know yourself. Most people you know would know your ego more than the real you. Without you being aware of it your ego is the angle that ideas will bounce off of you and the people who know you call that your personality.

1026-relax-and-succeed-the-darkness-that-surrounds-usDon’t think these little differences in how you talk and interact are unimportant. Keep in mind that those are direct reflections of your brain’s wiring. So as trivial as it might seem, there’s almost nothing more important than, if someone says, Nice day isn’t it? Do you say something negative or positive?

Let’s look at some possible answers to that question, but first let’s keep in mind that I live in one of the world’s northernmost cities and we have had one of our warmest years ever. Last winter was very short on low temperatures, and rather than warm weather extending from May to September, this year it’s gone from March to November. That’s five extra months of warm temperatures. But that doesn’t help someone if they have a negative perspective.

In my experiment I’ve been saying Nice day, isn’t it? for a few weeks and here’s a collection of the responses I got. Many of you are likely one of these or close to one of these.

Negative Responses to the question, Nice day isn’t it?

[No answer. Sullen expression]
Yeah, I guess it’s not bad.
It’s about time.
It won’t last.
Maybe for some people.
Yeah, but whatever it gives us now it’ll take it away worse, later.
Just wait a few weeks.
Not warm enough for me.

Anyone can have a challenging day where their patience is short and some negativity shows up. Sometimes people are dealing with very overwhelming circumstances so they’ll be more inclined to the negative but, all that said, there is no more important time to watch for the best things than when things are at their worst.

Take your little stab at negativity occasionally. We all do, because if there’s a path you’re seeking then there must be a not-path too. But you don’t want to stay on that path any longer than you have to, and the only way off that path is through raising your awareness and leading yourself out with a more optimistic perspective. The people above are experiencing one of the warmest years ever and yet they can still find ways for that to not be good enough. This is why expectations and comparisons kill happiness.

Pay more attention. See conversations as balls lobbed over a net toward you; every statement is a new ball. The question is, do you predominantly shoot those back toward the other person’s backhand, or their forehand? Do you make it easy to play, or do you make it harder? Do you take responsibility for your interpretation of reality or do try to pawn it off on others as though it’s their fault, or that somehow they were luckier than you, rather than they were more positive than you?

Positive approaches generate lots of support and assistance. Negative approaches attract anger and blame. Gee, I wonder which one leads to a better life?

Get conscious. Wake up. Don’t answer people out of habit and don’t initiate contact out of habit. Be aware. Choose your words carefully for they are the brushstrokes that form your painting of the world. If a person is always the victim of something, then that is what they are using this lifetime to become: a victim.

A person can do that their whole life if they choose to. Many more people have wasted lives than lived them. You’re the one who lives with those choices. But those can go both ways, because after anyone responds to me negatively, I still usually meet the next person with a positive attitude and it’s amazing what wonderful people are brought into your life though that simple act.

peace. s

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

The Horns of a Dilemma

1020-relax-and-succeed-this-wayIn every life people will reach big moments where they have to choose between two very different opportunities that are mutually exclusive. It could look like a great new job in your old field versus an entry-level job in an industry you’ve always want to work in, or maybe you have to decide between a job opportunity and love. Maybe it’s between having a baby or not. There’s lots of ways we can be stuck trying to decide the undecideable.

To decide comes from French and before that, Latin, and it essentially means to cut off. So you have reached a point in a path of life where one path necessarily cuts you off from another. It’s either this or that but never both. We think what is painful is our inability to see far enough down the path to know which one works out better, but just that thought means we believe that a decision today will determine the rewards in our life later, when that’s just not true.

The notion of a path to success and a path to failure misunderstand what it is to succeed and what it is to fail. Your life is a set of experiences, not a set of gradings by you or anyone else. No one can tell an elementary school teacher who loves their job that they should have chosen something more valuable, because they are the one enjoying their job. That joy is a feeling they experience, it isn’t a theoretical gain in people’s imagination. Being called successful isn’t the same as feeling a real connection to your own life.

1020-relax-and-succeed-if-you-cannot-do-great-thingsYou being important happens in other people’s heads, your daily joy is in your head. How others–or even a changing you with your fluctuating priorities–view your life choices from a distance isn’t as important as how much you enjoy those choices in the individual moments you’re in. So it’s not the path that’s good or bad, it’s your walking of it.

There’s a lot of people trying to improve their life through better life-choices at key moments rather than trying to improve it moment by moment. Even terrible marriages that are better abandoned will still have a lot of fun and joy in them, that’s why they happened in the first place. So a “failed” marriage can have been largely good, but that bad part might still be serious enough that the person may still have to leave the relationship. But that doesn’t erase the parts of it that were or are good, it just makes the payment worth more than the benefit. So you leave, but not because the other path was bad, but rather because it was unwalkable, which is like having no choice at all.

The agony we feel at these times of choosing is based on our thought-based bouncing between two very nebulous, ambiguous ideas. The truth is, each path will contain it’s own unknown opportunities for suffering and it’s own unknown opportunities for joy; we won’t know what those are until we live those moments, which is why the style of our walking is more important than the choice of our path.

1020-relax-and-succeed-hold-onWhat will make any path bad is constant comparison to any road not taken. Our imagination regarding what would have happened is just an uninformed guess. Whatever we think we know, we’d have to be there to be sure. People tend not to advertise the downsides of their choices lest they look bad to others, so we never really know what a life feels like until we live it. But if that’s the case, then there’s no point in torturing ourselves over a dilemma. We’d literally be better to flip a coin, choose, and then dive back into the world’s individual moments with our eye pointed toward joy, because looking for it is how it’s found. It’s not the path you’re on, it’s the perspective you take while you’re on it.

What path are you on that you’d like to be off? What’s making the current path bad? Is it really bad, or are you just trapped in a state of wanting when deep down you’re not even really sure what you’d get if you got what you want? Because no matter what path you’re on, nothing will make it feel worse than wanting to be on another path.

Be where you are. Live consciously. Maybe the job or spouse or choice you’ve made really is a great choice. Maybe you just haven’t realised that because you’ve been too busy wanting something else instead. Either way, you never really have to worry about going the wrong direction because your life happens in your consciousness where there are no paths, there is only presence or want, and you are always in control of which of those two states you’re in.

peace. s

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

The Friday Dose #111

 

There are two levels of response that I talk about when I work with people. One is psychological and it’s actually quite easy to understand because everyone has a psyche and what I do is uncover and expose someone’s personal logic so that they are no longer so mysterious to themselves. This is where peace of mind and the success that follows begins.

The second level is where the spiritual meets the psychological. This level is no less sensible (it’s more so), but it requires a more radical shift in understanding. Not a big shift; a surprisingly small one with a much deeper understanding of our place in the universe. This is the one where enlightenment begins, and at that point you no longer feel like a competent surfer atop a perfect board and an amazing wave–at that point you, the board and the wave are all seen as one thing.

919 FD2 Relax and Succeed - We are sacred artistsIf that seems weird, just remember a lot of remote tribespeople in the jungles of this world do not see themselves as having 5 or 6 senses, but rather one big sense. Watts hints at this in the video below when he makes the quote placed above. It is that second you–the separate you on the separate board riding the separate wave–that makes the board and the wave and the quality of the riding within itself. You create an ego and that is the story it tells you.

Watts and I are suggesting to you that if you were never encouraged to create that other idealized you then you would be One with your life and there would be no time in which a separate you felt you were making a distinct decision. You are simply in the flow. There is no time-travelling to pre or post-evaluation of a “choice.” 

That is the point of ultimate peace. When your internal narrative disappears it takes the notion of choices and mistakes along with it. The tension of those judgments is instead replaced with a relaxation and openness that permits the natural reintegration of our greater selves back into the fold of that famous moment called Now. 

Have a fantastic weekend everyone.

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.

Resistance to Happiness

865 Relax and Succeed - If you are brave enoughIsn’t it strange? You’ll know a certain course of thought hurts. It’ll be as painful as physical pain. And you likely even caught yourself doing it and yet you didn’t go try to conjure up your Dominant Positive Emotion. So when you didn’t switch to being happier–why did you resist? Or do you not recognize your resistance in the word  “…but…”

The “but” is there because you you have attachments and so that means that you believe some thoughts weigh more than others. There are ones you can toss out easily, like deciding to have the salad instead of the soup at lunch. But the difficult ones are about subjects that you feel matter.

By “matter” I mean you have an attachment you want to maintain. Something that’s considered important is just something you value more than other things precisely because you believe it is more important to your happiness. But people will be terrible at making this calculation in the heat of too much thinking / rationalising. We’ve all seen people return to extremely unhealthy relationships and put up with abusive bosses or continue damaging habits etc.

865 Relax and Succeed - If you still talk about itNothing from outside of you creates your happiness. You must abandon this one idea: that your happiness is delivered to you externally by external experiences. Until you do that you will hand over the responsibility for your own joy to someone else. You’ll expect them to make you happy instead of remembering to do that yourself. It’s a lot easier to have a successful marriage by being a happy partner rather than having a happy partner. As I’ve written before: we feel the love we give, not the love we get.

So you’ll see when you encounter these things that you’ll pass over the idea of stopping those thoughts. Those are important thoughts you’ll tell yourself. If someone said stop thinking right then you would say “but…” If there’s a “but” in your talking and it’s there to defend more thinking or more talking or more pain that’s actually fine. It just means you’re going to use your imagination and creativity to create pain for yourself rather than enjoyment. You will want rather than appreciate. You have freedom. The universe will let you do that.

You can ask the universe for anything. For your spouse not to leave you, to end your money woes, for your health to turn around–but while you’re busy wanting you will be actively generating your own voluntary suffering. For a better life you don’t need a bunch of external changes, you need one subtle internal change. You need to see that each and every day your experience of that day is psychological and that you don’t have a day, you feel one.

865 Relax and Succeed - There comes a dayThe best way to achieve a lot is to have a positive mental mindset and then be active. You don’t have a lot of control over your day but you do have a lot of control over your thinking. No, you won’t be exercising that control all the time, especially this quickly. But that doesn’t matter because the biggest step you’ll take in this journey is just leaving on the road to study your own thoughts and the patterns in your thinking.

I’ve worked with lots of people who were told they had Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)–a new disorder that was fairly recently invented. Before that some people just complained a lot about winter. Now there was a pill for it. Someone thought cleverly about ending their money problems and they realized that they could do that by convincing you that your happiness could be restored by a pill and that what made you sick was the location of the Earth relative to the Sun. Something you can do nothing about. That was sure convenient for a drug company.

865 Relax and Succeed - Go 24 hours without complainingSome people had parents who had extremely resistance thoughts about winter and they taught some of their kids to conjure those resistant thoughts too. End of story. The people who tell themselves healthy cuddly cozy stories about the cold like the Norwegians do will always be happier than some person bitching in a street half as cold in Canada. Because it’s not the cold that hurts us–it’s our resistance. Our resistance to what Is. Thinking is resistance. Trust yourself. Stop the thinking. Stop the resistance. Surrender and accept. From there all you have to do is switch from wanting to appreciating and you’re miles ahead.

Take 24 hours–until you read my next post–and use that time to notice your resistance. Note the things you’re resistant about. Try to determine what things you’re valuing in your life in what ways and how that leads to your suffering. Follow these strands of thought and you will see they are tied to nothing. You always are and always have been free. So you can be happy. Because if you’re reading this then you’re definitely on the way to being a soul that lives itself out in freedom.

Now go use the focus of your attention to hoover-in whatever you see to appreciate. That simple act will lead you to a wonderful day. Do that more often than not and you have a wonderful life. Enjoy. 😉

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.

Other Perspectives #89

This is true although it’s important to point out that this choice–this decision–gets made every moment of every single day. It’s not like one decision makes you a good or bad person for the rest of your life. People are all the same–they all hold the same potential. Their behaviour is not who they are, but at the same time their life will be made up of that behaviour. So you can develop a reputation for a certain behaviour but that’s not the same as being a bad person. Everyone still has other behaviours available to them. So never lose sight of yours or anyone else’s potential. It’s always only one moment–one decision, one choice–away. After that you just have to know with certainty that you will choose bad behaviour occasionally no matter who you are. But if you’re awake and paying attention, the consequences that result will be all the motivation you need to return to more rewarding choices. Make those choices starting right now. Give the next person you meet a compliment and start off their time with you by helping them to recognize their ability to make good choices about their life too. Have a great week everyone.

peace. s

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

00 Relax and Succeed - Other Perspectives Footer

Other Perspectives #74

If you don’t read this blog carefully you might think I would unequivocally support this statement. It seems to fit with a lot of what I talk about: Your thoughts are powerful, you feel what you think, so be conscious of what you think. But experiences do not bother you when you feel you have chosen them. So feel that way about the whole of your life. Yes, understand how powerful negative thinking can be and do not do it for its own sake. But without not-path there can be no path. So to have things you prefer you must also accept that there must be things you don’t prefer and that the only way you know one from the other is by experiencing them. Negative thoughts aren’t worse than positive thoughts. They just feel different. If you don’t find a feeling to be rewarding in this moment you can always change it in the next. The important thing isn’t whether you chose positive versus negative, it’s that you stayed aware of your ability to choose between them.

peace. s

00 Relax and Succeed - Other Perspectives Footer

The Friday Dose #67

680 FD Relax and Succeed - Life is not about success

Let’s use today to move through the stages of life. We’ll finish with dying, and we’ll precede that with aging, a look at the middle of your life and we’ll start off here with kids. As I’ve written before, most of the world group-sleeps. Brothers and sisters and other family members cuddle up, using each other as pillows and they sleep to the sound of each other’s breathing. There’s an epidemic of people who have trouble falling asleep and that’s a huge reason why. Here’s a talk with James McKenna on how our society urges us to train children to be unnatural:

A Conversation with a Co-Sleeping Expert

*

Next David Cain takes on the next stage of programming of your life. This is where you learn to work instead of live. He talks about the simple joys in life that are surrendered without us even realizing it. If this short article doesn’t get you to really think about your life carefully I’ll be surprised, and the comments are almost as interesting as the short article:

Working to Live

*

Next we’ll hear Maurice Sendak, author of books like Where the Wild Things Are, as he discusses aging and dying and how life only becomes more precious and where our tears are generated more by great thanks and appreciation than over loss or sadness:

*

And we’ll close with a talk by the great Alan Watts on what you’re supposed to do before and after your life:

*

No matter what stage you are in life I hope you found this helpful in getting yourself to where you’d really like to be. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

peace. s

00 Relax and Succeed - Friday Dose Footer

FOMO

It’s a relatively new acronym. We didn’t need an acronym before because this fear was so rare. You might experience it a couple or few times a year, whereas now you can experience it many times in an hour. Most social networking has inadvertently become primarily about activating that fear: the fear of missing out.

100 years ago you might have felt this if you had to leave for university knowing that your brother was coming back from the war, or that the horse and carriage that you were riding on couldn’t hope to make it home in time for your sister’s birth. But today you can experience this feeling minute by minute just by watching social media. You can be told about all of the amazing places you aren’t seeing, or the amazing meals you’ll never cook. You’ll see the exercise results you’ll never achieve, you’ll see the parties and events 594 Relax and Succeed - We waste so many daysand concerts you didn’t go to, the clothes you can’t afford—you’ll see all the choices you didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t make.

The point is, you’ll be able to compare. It’s like internet dating: it’s easy to think of a relationship as disposable if you know there are websites with literal lists of other potential choices. But of course Barry Schwartz has studied choice (Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice) and what we learned was that more choice simply translates to more chances for you to be wrong and disappointed. So despite what retailers tell you, more choice does not make you happier it makes you sadder. And the same goes for choices regarding what to do with your most precious commodity, time. Too much choice can freeze us with confusion. Brains aren’t wired up to be able to track the myriad of choices and decisions that need to be made each and every day in today’s world.

So how does this translate to life? Here’s how a lot of 1st world people’s lives go today: starting around lunch or after work, people start watching the various emails and newsfeeds on their phones to help them decide what to choose to do that night or on the weekend. Of course, they might have already committed to an event two weeks ago via social networking, but the very nature of social networking means that even if something is scheduled, you’ll still compare it to what options have shown up since you made the “commitment.” The problem is that these choices just keep scrolling by much like our life will if we’re not careful. Because what a lot of people are telling me today is that they’ll get home and waffle between choices until it’s somewhere between 9:00 and 11:00pm and then they feel it’s too late to start 594 Relax and Succeed - Exist to be happyanything and so they end up doing nothing. Ironically social networking has inadvertently made everyone far less social.

Of course what you’re seeing on social networking isn’t what’s actually going on. Because most people aren’t really telling you what’s really going on. There’s no more ego-based world that social networking. Most people are just struggling to post lives that look as impressive as their friends’ appear to be. And so all unflattering but honest photos are untagged and any remaining photos will all be from what you perceive as your good side so we essentially get to see the same photo over and over and over. Plus any unflattering remarks or statements are deleted or edited or blocked. All weakness is hidden unless we actually want people to feel sorry for us, in which case the feeds will be subconscious solicitations for sympathy masquerading as love. But that’s the last resort, so most of what we’re seeing are social lies that are attempting to position people for Andy Warhol’s famous 15 minutes of fame, albeit often only within our own social circle.

Social networking can be very useful and I’m happy to use it effectively to achieve positive ends. But if I didn’t have to be on it I wouldn’t. Not because I’m against it, but because I would have so much living to get done that I wouldn’t have the time. You see this with people that live in the mountains. They often can’t get cell phone access and so their kids grow up largely without phones being their primary source of information. The world is their source of information and entertainment and enjoyment. So when they are exposed to technology it all just seems like lame approximations of life rather than life itself. To a kid from the mountains most city kids look like the people in the pods in the movie The Matrix. They’re not really alive, they’ve just been convinced they are by what they’re seeing. The truly interesting people are actually out doing interesting, exciting and expansive things in the real world not the virtual one. They don’t share and forward videos of lions doing cool things. They get on a plane, fly to 594 Relax and Succeed - Plunge boldly into the thickAfrica and they go see some actual lions. And half the time they don’t take a camera with them to prove to you their ego’s winning. It’s quite a difference from a life spent scrolling on a phone.

Don’t sit at home watching your options/life scroll by in some news feed. Don’t sit in a coffee shop looking at your phone or you won’t see the attractive, appealing person who’s trying to get your attention. And remember that life was meant to be lived. It’s not a show. It’s not a performance. You’re not supposed to be lauded for your wardrobe or hair or cinematography—your life is not a production. You are simply supposed to live. But to do that, you have to stop spending so much time watching life looking for the best thing possible, and instead get out into the world and just simply do the best thing available in the moment you’re in. That leads to an awesome life. So just make life a verb and the rest will be fine.

Now of course all of this is deeply ironic because you are likely reading this via some news feed on your phone or computer. But again, nothing is good or bad, it’s merely how we use something and then what are the consequences? So make your use of technology more conscious. Actually ask yourself if you’re using it like an addict uses substances to avoid dealing with life, or if you’re really using it to improve yourself or to make active, conscious and life-affirming decisions about what to actually do with this incredibly brief experience we have with life itself. Because as anyone on their death bed will tell you, time is the most valuable thing you have and so how you spend it should always be at the forefront of your mind.

Don’t waffle over choice. Choose and make that choice a verb. Whatever else you might do in that same time is irrelevant as long as you enjoy or get some reward from what you did choose to do. And that is always possible and it’s entirely up to you.

Thank you for your time. Have yourself a wonderful day.

peace. s

Open Mind Open Heart

Okay here’s the deal. I know you didn’t mean to become the way you are, but in the end the ultimate source of all of your struggles is the simply fact that you are unwittingly an insanely selfish, self-absorbed egomaniac that’s only happy if you’re constantly getting your own way. I know, doesn’t sound like you, does it? But it is. That’s because that’s how every ego is.

512 Relax and Succeed - Happiness is a choiceWe can argue all kinds of great arguments, but in the end those will all be justifications for you being unhappy with things that you don’t like. The upside is that because everyone else is like that too, that points to the fact that no one can truly discover themselves if they never got lost in the first place.

So you’re born sane, you just slowly get your ego inflated without you really noticing—until it starts causing trouble. Because of the downsides, most people love it when I burst their bubble. But for some the bursting part is hard. I feel for them, but to help I have to be honest with them.

The area that’s the hardest for the largest number of people involves their application of their personal “rules” to the rest of the world. The days my various pages will get the most un-likes is when I challenge people’s choice to be offended. If they’re upset or their feelings are hurt, people don’t want to think that’s their responsibility, they want to pawn it off on someone else. In short, they want someone else to take the blame for the emotional experience created by their own thinking.

There aren’t good authors or good bands or good TV shows, there are authors you like, bands you like, and TV shows you like. So when one of those songs plays you think it’s the song that made you happy when really it’s your judgment of the song. Because of course other people are also listening to it and they’re hating the same song you love. We all live in separate realities, but you want everyone to pay special attention to yours. Of course, you’re not doing that for anyone else, you’re doing it for you, which is why the whole thing is so insanely self-centered.

512 Relax and Succeed - Life is all aboutStart taking responsibility for your own suffering. Stop whining for your right to whine. You don’t need a right for that. Whine whenever you want to. But don’t whine pretending you couldn’t stop if you didn’t choose to. Who is it that you think is thinking the offended thoughts? Those thoughts are yours. Offense does not exist in the world, it exists in your imagination. That’s again why one person can like one book when another person doesn’t. So those preferences apply to only you, so stop being offended when people express their preferences because they have as much right to theirs as you do to yours. And you know what? Those differences can comfortably co-exist in the vast majority of instances anyway.

A lot of people discover considerably more mental health, calmness, patience and understanding after working with me. But invariably I’ll say at least one or two things that really piss them off. Like when I say that the person who’s insulting them isn’t the problem. Every ego around them agrees that the other person is a jerk, so I’m an asshole for pointing that they’re not a jerk, they’re simply living out their own belief system in direct proximity to yours. The conflict you feel isn’t between the two of you, it’s between the differing ideas you choose to think into existence.

So here: if you want to keep living in ego and suffering a lot, then get angry and stop reading me when I say that your happiness is your responsibility. Go ahead and tell yourself that other people should do this or should do that. You think it hurts me that you think those thoughts? Sorry. No. I’m fine. You’re the one suffering and I’m opening a doorway and I’m saying, “Hey take a look in here. This works for every earnest person I show it to.” The people who are sick and tired of being sick and tired—they are happy to try anything other than suffer more. But if your suffering hasn’t lasted long enough or been bad enough, then you’re not lost enough to truly want to be found. It’s a nice theory, but you won’t surrender your suffering for it.

512 Relax and Succeed - A mind like a homeSo you can move forward from here and truly try to live a different way and try to consider ideas that are initially uncomfortable, and that will lead you to peace and wisdom and patience and success. Or, you can continue to live in ego where you’ll be angry, sad, frustrated and insecure. The choice is truly yours.

This awareness doesn’t belong to me. I’m nobody. I’m a messenger. You’re just like me. Your mind can be free and healthy in the same way enlightened people’s are. You just have to make the right choices. And I do sincerely hope you choose to keep reading my work and sending it on to people you know who are struggling because I know I can help anyone whose mind is open. And if yours is closed right now—that’s fine too. Drop back again when either joy or suffering has opened it up a little wider. That’ll let your natural wisdom out and then I can show you how brilliant you truly are.

I wish you the very best.

With love, s