Balance and Transition

1383 Relax and Succeed - Balance and transition

The words ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are so heavily equated with the sexes that our biggest issue in discussing the terms is in trying to see past our own biases about what we think people mean when they say things about either.

For the purposes of this writing, the let us say that the ‘feminine,’ represents the strengths exemplified by our compassion, tolerance and kindness. Rather than striking it it heals. Rather than forcing it flows. Rather than chasing it invites. Rather than pouring it is filled.

Also for the purposes of this writing, let us say that the ‘masculine’ represents the strength of our convictions, righteousness and courage. Rather than concede it consumes. Rather than accepting it achieves. Rather than accommodate it requests. Rather than giving it takes.

For many people the divisions between these two states are quite commonly seen as someone being loving, compassionate and forgiving, versus those that are more passionate about creation, protection or justice. Those of us raised by two parents will often immediately know which parent is which in this scenario.

Both of these qualities exist within every single human being, and by adulthood most people also know from experience that both approaches to life can lead to enormous advantages, or enormous problems, if the wrong one is applied at the wrong time or in the wrong context.

Balancing these two ‘aspects of being’ is why we often perceive the world’s most respected people to have a unique but quiet strength.

Those sorts of people hold these two sides of themselves in a good –though never perfect– balance. Whether it’s a man or a woman, it’s hard to imagine knocking these sorts of people off their own course, and yet all of them also seem like people that would be comforting to others. They could represent us in court, or be our caregiver in hospital.

No matter where our own ‘balance point’ is on the larger spectrum, given our respect for those with that near-centered balance –no matter what their sex or gender is– it makes sense that people generally come to me when they are in a period where they feel like they are losing their balance.

If people feel they are too timid and emotional, they want more strength and fortitude. If they feel they’re too angry and aggressive, they want to know how to be more tender and open. Isn’t it wonderful how wise we all are about what we need?

1383 Relax and Succeed - Balance is something

Keep in mind, none of these people arrive ‘wrong’ as they are. The world needs super strong people sometimes. And it also needs those that have the strength of vulnerability. But if we remove extreme circumstances, everyone tends toward balance, even though our personal balance points may not actually be all that ‘centered’ by nature.

 

We should not see where are on that scale as being either right or wrong. We simple are where we naturally are, despite our compulsion to constantly move toward balance. No one ever really gets there, but our wobbling journey along the way is the yin and yang of living a life.

This also explains my role as a guide. Just like some people have healthy lifestyles and visit gyms and eat healthy and do regular medical check-ups, there are some who prefer to see me regularly to ‘maintain’ a healthy balance and grow in their own balancing abilities.

Others tend to move through life less conscious of their health, so if they subconsciously feel balanced then they will feel no impulse to talk with me. For those people –as with medical emergencies– it will only be when life offers a major change that I will hear from them.

At those times the latter people will often feel they are struggling or failing. In reality they are being a bit hard on themselves because in most cases life will simply and understandably have thrown them off balance and they are reaching out as we all rightly should. My job is to help them to calm their minds and help them to regain their balance.

Even if someone only sees me in ’emergencies,’ each time we go through the training process, the student/client will grow more resilient themselves. The more time we spend together, the stronger they get. But this does not happen because they are getting something from me.

In either the maintenance or emergency situations, a new strength doesn’t move from me to them. I can simply see them in a very particular way, without the cloud of their own debilitating thoughts. And with that practiced vision I am able to effectively communicate to them how strong they already are.

If you feel weak or afraid or confused or lost, remember that we all feel that way at times in our lives. When we do, it genuinely is difficult to marshal ourselves in a way that allows us to find our strength again, which is where I come in. Fortunately, that weaker sense of ourselves is merely a temporary, thought-based identity that is masking the strengths that are always within us.

If you are currently troubled you have my full compassion, but fear not, for we all will rise again as we have before. For these are simply the hills and valleys of our journey through life. Our job is only to keep going, and to ask for help when required.

peace. s

World Kindness Day

1379 Relax and Succeed - Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness

As promised, I am working on some pieces about my experience, the fear, and dealing with intense pain. Due to the depth required for those subjects I will need more time to fully assemble those ideas. You are better served if I can find ways to make my experience useful to you in the most material ways possible.

In the meantime, I am grateful that it happens to be World Kindness Day. That fact allows me to take the time to write and finalize those pieces, as well as celebrate this day by discussing how we can extend our sentiments beyond this single day, so they may imbue our lives throughout our year.

We can often see our kindnesses or our gratitude as things we give to others, but this is only because we tend to see our reality as being ‘out there,’ in some external sense. With a deeper understanding, we realize that all of our ‘experiences’ happen within our consciousness, which means genuine expressions of gratitude or kindness are even more our experiences than they are those of the people we may be helping or showing kindness toward.

Today, and going forward, I would strongly encourage everyone to join me in the daily meditation of seeing life not as something happening to us, but rather an experience we are co-creating with the universe, moment by moment. Like the cells of a single organism, our state does impact the state of those around us, just as those parts of reality also affect us, so control is not our answer.

Just as we will sometimes not be at our best, so too will other cells in the organism that is our larger society. There is no hope of us fully grasping or controlling that reality, but we can learn to accept it in ways that are profound, and that permit us to understand what people mean when they say things like, “Before I was enlightened I suffered. After I was enlightened I suffered.”

Acceptance adds a form of grace to the latter portion of that statement. By living in that way, we build no residual resentments, attachments or expectations, although we may experience them fleetingly. Likewise, we all regularly experience enlightened moments. What everyone seeks is a somewhat efficient route from their suffering, and to their moments of grace.

While we are never free of what the Buddhist’s call the cycle of samsara, we can learn to move within it with greater awareness and psycho-spiritual skill.

How this takes shape in real time can be demonstrated with my recent pain, and the fears around potentially losing my sight. As with anyone, the pain was agonizing, and the fears were based in very real potential outcomes. We can come to see that external reality as ‘our environment,’ much like the banks of a river are not the river, but they do form –and are formed by– the flow of our lives.

What gives us grace is our ability to remember that, like the river, periods of tumultuous rapids and frightening waterfalls are only parts of our overall flow through the moments of our life. All rivers change as they move through the geography of our reality, so all states are temporary. This is why I often refer to a wise Buddhist monk who once told me that the secret to living is that “everything changes.”

As we experience intense pain, we can become aware that our state is temporary. This turns our agony into a waiting-game of positive anticipation. We don’t know when or how we might feel better, but we know that the river of our lives continues to flow even though our pain can leave us inactive.

The above describes why suicidal thoughts can be natural, and yet ultimately foolhardy, because they operate on the presumption that nothing is changing if we are still. But whether rapids on a river last for 10 miles or one, our surrounding geography will eventually change our flow whether we act or not. In this way our own patience is a form of meditation or prayer.

If we can see this clearly, it allows us to simply let our suffering ‘be.’ That wisdom is reflected in Paul McCartney’s advice to John Lennon’s son in the song, Hey Jude,” wherein he reminds the boy that despite our periods of personal darkness, it is worthwhile to maintain our conscious anticipation and movement toward better experiences to come.

1379 Relax and Succeed - The level of our success is limited only by our imagination

Again, while our suffering in life is often unavoidable, what allows us to flow forward is our deep knowing that all of our states of mind are always temporary. This also means that, when we see others in states of suffering, we should not see our acts of kindness as merely gestures –in fact these actions are what shape the banks of other’s rivers.

In many cases, our own ‘rapids’ will dissolve thanks to the efforts of others, both seen and unseen. That being the case, in closing, I would like to thank the many people who very recently and greatly contributed to the gradual easing of my own suffering.

Without these people I would surely have struggled far more, and while my gratitude is my own to feel, I do hope they each saw their own kind acts as their own meditations on gratitude, empathy and compassion. In this way, my own pain can act as an opportunity for grace for those around me.

In terms of specifics, I would like to take this opportunity to single out those who have, and continue to, allow this struggle through the rapids of my life to move from near intolerable, to places where I can now feel deeply grateful to no longer be in the worst parts of the experience.

To this end I offer deep and special thanks to Doctors Baker and Sia, as well as the entire remarkable staff at the Alberta Retina Consultants. In addition to them, I would also like to thank the support and surgical staff at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, as well as the family and friends that supported me throughout this process.

These people include Don, Anita, Henry, James, Nick, Mike, Kirsten, Christina, Brian, Jarrid, Christian, Sausan, Sue, and for the compassion shown by Tracy, Beth, Rob, Dwayne and Charlotte (and any others my addled state may have forgotten).

As I also live in a nation with nationalized health care, I would also like to thank my fellow Canadians for your contributions toward making such a system work in my time of need.

In closing, today, as you move about your own World Kindness Day, remember that you are not only lifting weight from the specific people you help but, in total, you are also adding to a much larger force that, along with others, is easing suffering throughout the universe itself.

peace. s

Holiday Blog: Other Perspectives #39

It’s a holiday here in Canada so here’s a reminder for today:

522 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - Change the voice in your head

Ideally we are quiet-minded and there are no voices in our head. But okay, if we can’t quiet ourselves enough to point ourselves toward that silence, we can at least direct ourselves toward thinking charitable, compassionate and loving thoughts about ourselves.

That’s not ego. That’s the real us. We are decent people, we do care and we do want to love and to be loved. And of course like everyone else we have some struggles and peccadilloes, but that doesn’t change our worthiness in the slightest.

We are as integral to the universe as anyone else. So keep in mind (no pun intended) that every single voice inside our head is just us talking to ourselves. It’s absurd that we would pay attention to that voice as though it has some profound meaning.

Silence. Silence has profound meaning. Talk is all ego by nature. Maybe it lines up with reality, maybe not. Self-talk presents us with a divided world where comparison leads to suffering. Ego divides and describes. Our spirit doesn’t.

We should all do our best to try to use our minds as an awareness and absorption input device and not as an opinions and language output device. And we always always always always need to remember that any voice in our head is meaningless and it holds zero power to make us do anything unless we inexplicably choose to act on hollow thoughts.

If we’re going to think anything, think positive thoughts. But as much as we can, we should just try to be really, really quiet. After all, ff we’re quiet enough, wisdom is all that’s left. Take care.

peace. s

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