Clearing Our Minds

1349 Relax and Succeed - We do not clear our minds

Today is easy. Do not over-complicate it.

We think our thoughts. We are not the thoughts, we just get that feeling because our mind gives those thoughts to our hypothalamus and it converts them into chemistry. That chemistry then spreads out into our bodies for us to experience as a feeling or emotion.

That’s why the thoughts feel so personal. But they’re still just thoughts and chemicals. They are what we are doing, they are not ‘us.’

If we don’t think we can change how much we think –or how much we think about which subjects– we just think that. Lots of people have thought that who now know how to take far more control over their minds.

Of course, no one ever gets exclusive control. We need our mistakes to grow from.

It’s a bit like evolution, where the mutations lead to growth and diversity. It’s hard to call those ‘mistakes’ ‘wrong.’ Similarly, within us, facing adversity expands our resilience and confidence. We do get something in trade for our pain, we just don’t know we have it until we or someone we love needs that ability in the future.

Our job is to remember the long game and see our adversity in a larger context. But to do that we must be prepared to challenge the ways we see the world now. In fact, that’s all I really do; I ask questions that people find it paradoxical to answer and I help them find their answers.

To develop the responses they need to answer to those questions about reality, they have no choice but to abandon their previous view of reality in order to replace it with something that fits their experience more accurately. It is by stretching their minds in those new ways that I lead them to change themselves. That’s why it sticks. It’s not a technique. They are different.

That’s how it happened for me too. I was just a little kid who wanted to know where people who were brought back to life were while they weren’t alive. That lead to questions about what is it to be alive, and that lead to questions about the definition of who or what the being having those experiences really was. Those questions change us.

Don’t overthink. Be aware of yourself as a biochemical reality. If we’re going to think anything, we should ask ourselves some very basic questions about the definition of ‘I,’ the definition of ‘life’ and the definition of ‘reality.’

The answers to those questions change how we use our minds, and changing who or what we think we are is at the heart of changing our lives and the world around us.

peace. s

Power Up

1323 Relax and Succeed - Leave ego behind

Today is going to be a good day. It is. There is no question. We all know that firmly.

Whether the day is filled with joyful reward or even if awful events transpire within it, we can still silently and wordlessly inform ourselves that the day will absolutely be faced by the strong and capable person that is always alive within us all. But…

We must actively conjure this version of our Self. We must feel our posture rise, and our breathing deepen. We must feel a sense of energy flowing through us. As physicists confirm, we are literally made of energy. Let us get it all pointed in one direction. Toward whatever life demands or offers.

Thoughts about limitations are irrelevant when 100% is involved. Today we are sure that, with whatever resources we have available to us, and in whatever balance is required, we will meet the day with the clarity that goes with giving the universe 100%. That is a small price for to pay for a sense of living with powerful direction and purpose.

Even if we experience events like frustration or anger, we must accept that sometimes we are the student and sometimes we are the teacher. If the universe needs us to be the villain for a scene or two, then we must accept that these events happen in all lives and move on with our strength intact.

Our job is not to use our little thoughts to question the wisdom of an infinite universe. Conscious, word-based, me-centered egotistical thinking reduces our sense of flow, which we experience as something having gone wrong for us. But…

Healthy rivers include both eddies and rapids. A flowing river moves past those in their own time, without complaint.

Breathe deeply. Let us live today with our souls open. Today, we make enjoying the experience of life a priority over liking the specifics of the day. That through-line is what allows our power to engage with our lives. Today let’s make life itself an active pursuit.

Deep breath. Let it out slowly. Focus. Breathe deep again and power up. Let us begin.

peace, s

The Conscious Unconscious

1256 Relax and Succeed - Until you make the unconscious consciousOur aim should be to have a rewarding life. Any external goal will takes us away from that and everything and everyone becomes about that goal. We like people who help us get what we want and we don’t like people who impede what we want; but only in hindsight do we recognize that some very unhealthy people or choices came from pursuing an external goal, and that the real value laid hidden; weaved into the smallest moments in our lives.

What does this look like in practice? It’s the athlete who pursues a gold medal with such fierce determination that they can yell at those around them for not supporting them enough. Whether they win the gold or not is irrelevant, but later they can look back at their own child, or someone else they influenced with their success, and they can recognise that they were often modelling terrible human behaviour in their blind pursuit of their goal.

A gold prospector can leave home to seek riches, but whether they strike it rich or not, they may primarily find discord, greed and mistrust. What was supposed to add wealth to their lives could easily add suffering and pain and loss. Yet later, whether they lay in a shed or a mansion, they will pine for the lost friendships that were developed through hard-fought experience, all while they recall the the incredible views from their mountaintop campsites that were all too soon ignored in favour of angry discussions about the progress toward “the gold.”

1256 Relax and Succeed - The alchemists in their search for goldJohn Lennon reminded us that “Life’s what happens when you’re busying making other plans.” Most people’s dreams don’t come true, and yet many people who’ve had theirs come true didn’t achieve their objective, they altered their perspective. Usually when they’re about to lose an important part of their lives, rather than focusing on their original external goal, people begin to notice the accidental value they have acquired through simply being alive.

Do that for yourself today. Ask yourself, what occupies your thoughts? What exactly are you trying to make happen in your life , including doing things to ensure nothing happens? Where do you currently see the value in that activity? What other value does it have other than how it relates to your larger goal? No one has a big family, people have individual kids that add up to a big family. The value isn’t in the size, it’s in the each kid, so that is where our focus should be.

We all need a place to start and an external goal is as good as any. We just need to induce ourselves into motion. Once we are active, if we’re paying attention, we’ll realise that the big smashes and hits at the start do break off large pieces of our largest self–the one with the most potential. But what they leave is an increasingly refined shape until, over time, we do not see those “losses” as losses. We come to realise that each experience shapes us, and if we allow life to do it, it naturally exposes who we truly are.

You’re somewhere along your journey. I starts out with zeal and confusion and steadily marches towards contentment and clarity. In the end your goals in life will have been largely irrelevant to your living of it, so figure out what they are and look at the prices you pay, and ask yourself how you’re likely to feel about your life after you’ve achieved or surrendered your goal. Will it have seemed worth it? If not, make it worth it now, rather than pine than you didn’t then. This is what it means to be present.

Have a wonderful day 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.