Ultra Spirituality

JP Sears
YouTube: AwakenWithJP

We need more of this in moden spirituality because true spirituality is humblingly pedestrian. As I’ve written many times, Eckhart Tolle is the real deal–he is describing the same thing I am here, which is the same thing Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, and the Dalai Lama are all talking about. But it’s a mistake to think that everyone has to end up sounding profound like Eckhart.

Healthy people will appear to us as individuals, but that doesn’t mean we will personally like the manifestation of their true selves in that moment. But that’s not them lacking spirituality, that’s them not giving any attention to your opinions about the living of their moments.

Don’t look to be lofty, or even calm. There can be great activity in the calmness that’s being discussed here. You can play a sport or be on stage as a comedian and be calm in a spiritual way. But there is no singular ‘way’ to be spiritual. When you’re truly being spiritual there won’t be a ‘you’ for ‘you’ to define as anything at all, and free of those egocentric barriers we can finally relax into being ourselves.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Have a wonderful 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.

The Cooking Test

You are being tested. This is the most meaningful test you will ever take. Your entire life depends on this how you handle it. And the universe itself is giving you this test. This is the test of your life.

713 Relax and Succeed - Act without doingFirst you helped Mom mix things and that was fun but you wanted to grow. So then you got to heat things. Eventually you matured enough to be able to chop things and you’ve had so much fun doing that you’ve entered cooking school. You wouldn’t think a couple words like “cooking school” could be very ambiguous, but like all words—they are.

Because you’re at a school for cooking you set about learning everything you can about the preparation of food. You learn basic skills, you learn about food types, and grading, and texture and colour and timing and temperatures and styles and cultural traditions etc. etc. And you work very hard at mastering all of them.

Most of the dishes are too big and too elaborate for one person and so your kitchen is filled with other cooks. Some are better at this, some are better at that, but all of them have much to learn which explains why they came to school. Everyone’s just trying to get it right. Everyone is studying their teachers extremely closely to see precisely how they prepare their best-tasting dishes.

713 Relax and Succeed - Don't try to follow others pathsAs you advance through the school each year your dishes and their creation becomes more nuanced and detailed as you can add things learned from both experience and ongoing education. Every year you add more, every year the bar for success gets higher. So does the pressure, but you accept that as the heat that goes with the kitchen. Yeah it makes you bark more at your fellow chefs and it really can make you sweat but you came here to succeed. This is a test you’re really serious about and you’re dedicated to doing what it takes to pass.

One of the trickiest parts about cooking school is that, as you advance, there will be things that you’re good at that others aren’t. And rather than notice that they’re good at something you’re not good at, they’re far more likely to undermine your cooking and insult your dishes as a way of not feeling like they’re failing. This is an important school and everyone knows it. Just to get in is a miracle.

As time passes some of the students will come to compare themselves to the other students around them and they will actually decide to give up on their dream of being a great cook. This is a naturally unhealthy state of mind for natural chef to live through but it happens a lot. Those too poor to continue, or those broken and defeated chefs—ones for which the criticisms just got too much—they eventually turn bitter and they will even actively disrupt and damage better chefs meals as petty revenge.

713 Relax and Succeed - To avoid criticismBeing attacked for working hard and being good at something tends to upset people and so you’ll get defensive when they attack you. You’ll attack back. You’ll spend some time going over their cooking and judging it. It can turn into all kinds of ugly and it often puts people off their food.

Eventually someone in a white lab coat comes up with a clip board and tells you that it’s time for your big test. It’s time to feed your dishes to Le Grand Fromage. The Big Cheese. God. Whatever you call it, it’s Judgment Day. Everything you’ve worked for builds towards this test and hopefully your graduation.

When the big day comes you can feel it. The weight of everything that’s come before it is lined up behind you. This is it. The Head Chef is going to taste what you’ve done and that’s it—there’s no more fixing it. You torture your fellow chefs through one final brutal preparation and then you load your dishes up and you enter the room. You go to the table and trembling with fear you set them down and take your place at the opposite side of the table and wait.

713 Relax and Succeed - Tension is who you think you are

The Head Chef eats. You watch her chew. She looks at you across the table. You’re sweating. This is the craziest thing you’ve ever done. You figure it must be okay, because she looks like she’s pleased with you. But seems like it’s taking forever. F-o-r-e-v-e-r. What is her judgment? Is it okay? Did you learn well enough? Are you good enough? Did you pass???

Oh my God, she’s wiping herself with her napkin. She’s finished. She ate the whole thing. She smiles at you and stands to leave. You look at her imploring. “Did you like it?” you squeak out.

“I really enjoyed eating it yes, thank you.”

“But was it good enough?” The Head Chef looks confused. “This was supposed to be my big test. I just want to know if I passed…?”  You’re almost in tears.

The Head Chef looks on sympathetically. “Oh my love I don’t tell you if you passed or failed.”

713 Relax anx Succeed - I am a human being“You don’t?”  You’re lost. “Then who does?”

“You’re asking yourself the wrong question.”

“It’s not about my cooking?”

“No, it’s not about how much me or anyone else likes the dishes.”

“Then how do I know if I passed?”

The Head Chef smiles. “You passed if you enjoyed your time in the kitchen.”

peace. s

 

Parental Limitations

Our mind could have any habits or choose to recall any part of its past, but our very sense of identity means that we get up every morning and load the same software-us into the hardware-us. That brain could be bold instead of shy. It would just have to do one instead of the other. But we generally don’t. We generally surrender that freedom and instead we play out the role we’ve unconsciously written for ourselves. That’s what our ego’s for—it recites who we are to us. If we’re not constantly reminded about our limitations who knows what we might try?

677 Relax and Succeed - A teacher is never a giver of truthI was fortunate enough to have two parents that didn’t really set limits for me. They were stricter than most of my friends parents in most ways, but much more relaxed and open in the most important way. I was expected to live up to commitments and carry my own share of the family chores and pass in school etc. etc., and rather than an allowance I had to pay room and board, but I was not pushed toward any sports or any grades or any post-secondary or employment choices. My parents spent more time asking me who I was as opposed to telling me who to become. That’s huge. That, in my experience, was the biggest fundamental difference in how I was raised. Now, when I asked Mom about this tremendous wisdom, she simply said,“Oh we learned from your [much older] brothers that you can’t really tell a kid what to do.” So they focused on principles and let me find my own way and that has lead to a fantastic life that I’m very happy to have lived.

As with many parents mine each took on different roles. Mom was the one who taught me to follow rules and Dad taught me to question who made the rules and their value. Mom taught me to be polite, Dad taught me to respect others. Mom taught me to vote, my Dad taught me to care for others just as much as for myself or those I loved. Mom made sure I lived up to my commitments regardless of my personal resistance and Dad made sure that I understood that apologies helped people feel better. Mom wanted me to be responsible. Dad wanted me to have fun. Mom wanted me to be a good citizen and Dad wanted me to be a good friend.

677 Relax and Succeed - The rules for being amazingI routinely get all aspects of this wrong but I nevertheless know that I’m always genuinely pointed in a loving, caring direction and so I live without regrets or a sense of judgment. I respect others so much that they are welcome to not like me. If I’m going to be a specific way it only makes sense that I won’t mesh with some people. Meccano can’t be Lego. My parents acceptance of whatever I did as long as it was respectful means that I feel good as long as I am respecting other’s perspectives as much as my own. I may not always agree, but I’m free to have my views and I have no conflict with them having theirs. People are welcome to have their conflicts with me but I do not have any with them. It’s very peaceful.

People could easily look at my life and see that I could have used the skills from my accident in a different way. They can see that I could have done more of this or that, made more money, been more famous or had more status or whatever. But in this weird subtle way, the way I was raised didn’t lead to any of those desires. But it did create a real value around the idea of freedom, respect and openness. I like that I never hold grudges, never hate people, and that I find it easy to forgive. I can’t imagine what money or fame could get me that would equal the value of just thinking enough of others and of myself that I essentially have no real quarrel with anyone. It’s a nice, simple, clean way to live.

We can teach kids how to manage money and understand how loans work and we can teach them to change the flapper in their own toilet or the oil in their car. But if we don’t teach them to value their own life enough to enjoy it then we have spent all of our time paving perfect roads that ultimately lead nowhere. Life is not a destination. There is no particular perch from where it can be lived in total happiness. But at least if happiness is a priority then the child builds a life around what brings them joy rather than what brings them externals. A nice car is only there to bring joy anyway, so why not skip the expensive middle man and go straight to the joy? But that’s not even on the menu unless someone has separated the idea of the car and the joy. One is to get the other, it is not the other itself.

677 Relax and Succeed - My philosophy isIf you want the best way to teach a person to value joy, value it yourself. Laugh more, do more things that are frivolous but joy-filled. Stop teaching kids how to protect themselves from bad things without telling them how to go and get good things. You need both for a successful life. What you don’t need is a cookie-cutter pre-conceived idea of who your children are. Let them be known to you and support the life they choose for themselves just as you wish the people around you would have been fully supportive in whatever you chose. I had that in life. It feels fantastic to have that support. It breeds a lot of confidence and that’s also where a lot of happiness resides.

Don’t worry so much about loading your kid up with every possible skill. They’ll get hurt terribly just like you did. Everyone does. But that’s okay as long as they know what to do between disasters. As long as they wring some joy out of those in-between times they’ll be fine. That’s a lot of life. Most people die without ever having even started to live. So just love and respect your kids and teach them to value their own enjoyment of life and a lot of the rest will just sort itself out. The best thing you can possibly do is be the best version of yourself that you can. Enjoy your own life. The rest is osmosis.

peace. s