Stumbling Together

Yesterday I talked about how no one can take your spiritual or psychological journey for you. That prompted a friend to quote me and ask the question, “If you can say, ‘once you’ve understood what you’re trying to understand, you realise that no one can take this journey for you, and so no one needs your help,’ then why do you teach this stuff?”

It was worth discussing. I had wondered the same thing myself. But in doing that wondering I realised that just as some people’s nature came forth as music, or woodworking, or dance, or raising children, or cars, or gymnastics, or math, mine comes from helping others see how remarkably beautiful the universe is in this very special way.

I don’t take the journey for them. Let’s not mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon. I see a lot of beauty in this world. To not share it feels unnatural, as though we’ve driven past the most amazing waterfall ever and I never mentioned it to the rest of the people on my tour bus. That almost seems cruel to me. It’s like hogging all the majesty for myself. It’s too big for me. There’s room for all of us in there.

If people can’t see that beauty and they’re living a dead, repetitive life, they come across to me like people standing still, stabbing themselves in the eyes, ears, mouth and nose and then cutting their hands off. They’re literally using a kind of spiritual violence against themselves. By doing things like thinking they’re ugly or stupid or worthless, they’re cutting themselves off from the universe.

How could I walk past that and not act? That would be like a musician writing a beautiful or powerful or emotional song and then not sharing it with the rest of us. What good does it do for her to keep that music to herself?

Keep in mind that even categorising yourself as attractive, or smart or capable, you’re creating division between yourself and others. Those are all comparative terms, and as I explained to my friend; the very act of comparison means there must be at least two things to compare, and if we’re separate we’re lost.

My friend doubted I never felt lost and he was right. Of course I do. Why have feelings if you’re not going to feel them? I asked him why he felt it was necessary to avoid something like that? He claimed it was because it felt so painfully lonely, but I argued that were it not for that painful feeling, we wouldn’t place such a great value on togetherness. You can’t ride the downhills unless you peddle up the uphills.

All of our lonely suffering is like a thought bubble within the dream of something greater than us. If I fall down in life I land in the palm of the universe. Our feelings are just nature generously steering us toward the good life. Not the good life in the sense that if you’re good you’ll enjoy life, but more that if you enjoy life you’ll be what often gets called good.

What confuses us is that sometimes the world needs us to play villain, so we all take a turn. I’m sure we can all remember a lot of the truly crappy things we did to people thanks to some misunderstanding to be sorted out now or in the future, or because we ourselves were feeling low and we pulled them down because because we desire togetherness and yet we can’t figure out how to get where they are. That’s why if someone makes you angry, you instantly feel a little to a lot better once they get angry too. At least now you’re in the experience together.

We were given all of the tools we need. Our emotions weren’t the point, they were the pointer. They not there for us to rate and rank. They’re to be lived. And this is a giant improv. So no one knows your lines but you. No one knows who your character is but you. They’ll all have a guess about who you are out of habit, but that’s their reality, just like you have a view of them that is your reality. Those were never designed to be reconciled.

We’re not supposed to argue over whose reality is right, we’re just supposed to share what we see and then we let the universe unfold. Sometimes we take action, sometimes not. But that’s irrelevant because we’re not competing. Our only job is to be ourselves. And sharing that binding, central truth is what leads me to feel connected.

If it’s done right, all sharing is selfish. So to answer to my friend’s question about people’s individual journeys and my role in guiding them; I don’t help them find their way for their sake, it’s a selfish act. My connection to, empathy for, and experience with their lostness is what connects us. In that vulnerability our separate selves melt and together we become whole. That is what it is to be generous with your life. And that creates the greatest feelings I have ever known.

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.

Maintaining Awareness

1002-relax-and-succeed-drink-tea-slowly-and-reverentlyPeople often ask me if what I “teach” will last. The truth is, I don’t so much teach it as show you how to experience it. Once you know that you know it (like you know how to multiply numbers), you realise it’s just not something you forget. It’s a verb, not idle knowledge.

Now, my insight was the opposite of my students because they realise they are thinking and I realised the rest of you didn’t know you were thinking but the effect is the same: when you first encounter this profound truth there definitely is an extreme high of joy that extends for months, but even that feeling we can get used to. Our guard goes down and some ego creaks in.

1002-relax-and-succeed-be-not-afraid-of-going-slowlyI get asked if the glow of my initial realisation still exists today and I’m clear that I have no idea. Maybe I’m just as well off but that awareness is now so common it’s nearly invisible to me, or maybe I’ve slipped back into more ego but not all ego. There’s no solid ground to judge something like that from, so it really falls to our nature: do we feel like more study would deepen our connection or are we happy with where we are?

Now, all this said, we all still go through those roughly eight year cycles I often write about. Once you’re good at being someone it’s time to be someone else, so it’s during those times I usually hear from former students/clients. They’ll wonder if they need the guidance because they can see they still perceive the world differently than the full-time egos around them, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to explore. This journey has no end. In the end it’s up to them.

The first part of the process is often about a series of small realisations that add up to a much different perspective, but even in the cases of profound and sudden change (those are very exciting), that first blush is the first step into this new reality but it certainly doesn’t show us that entire reality. I’m lucky, I’m constantly reminded to stay in my health because it’s my job to wander around inside this truth and show it to people.

D1002-relax-and-succeed-life-is-a-one-time-offero I know I make the world with my thoughts? Yes. Can I still get caught up taking those thoughts too seriously? Yes. But without not-path you can’t have a path, so that in itself is not us being outside of the truth, it just means we’re failing to recognise it as the truth. In this way the path is like a Mobius Strip. If you think you’re off the path you’re off the path. Believe you’re on and you’re on. The rest is awareness management.

There comes a time in a more advanced student’s life where they’re ready to get past managing emotions and they want to truly delve into the constructs of reality. This is deep work for me and it’s my favourite to do. This is where psychology meets spirituality. It still makes surprising sense for such ineffable subjects, but it is also grand and mysterious all at the same time. The challenges in the journey definitely get more pleasant once you’re through the door.

How far people want to take their study is up to them but they certainly don’t need me, Buddhism or Yoga. You’re always your own best teacher. At the same time, if you’re the sort that prefers to have an experienced guide along the way, that’s valid too. Which one is right for you only you can feel, but either way, the yin and yang of the path and not-path will always be where you are and you always be safe there regardless of what you think.

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 Fear of Work

There’s an idea afoot that there is some kind of disconnect between spirituality and hard work. It makes sense that younger people are seeking a way to work less and/or more meaningfully than their parent’s generation, but the fact remains that there are people of all ages that are avoiding the struggles that create expansion, increased strength and resiliency.

975 Relax and Succeed - As you work to spiritual advanceIt’s one thing for a person not to have kids because they don’t find themselves with common desires for children, but it’s another altogether for them to not want them because they’ll cramp their style, or be painful to give birth to, or because they require a lot of work. The idea that profound self-actualisation only happens when you focus on yourself is a myth created by misinterpretations of spiritual ideas. In fact the very desire for enlightenment has now become just another selfish personal goal.

I’ve said it many times: enlightenment is not a state it is an action. It is a verb, a motion, a way of being. What it doesn’t involve is self-reflection because in that state there is no self. You are simply doing/acting/being. So an enlightened person is not sitting idle in the lotus position having someone else attend to their daily needs, the truly enlightened person will be that happy, self-less person who generally needs very little and gets great satisfaction from bringing happiness, peace and comfort to others.

It is an entirely market-created ego-based idea that you get up at 10:00am, have a leisurely gourmet coffee before going to morning Yoga, then an organic lunch of tofu and beansprouts, and then finally sitting at your home-office desk at 1:00pm before checking social media for an hour, and then be distracted by notifications and texts and other interruptions “all day” before leaving at 4:00pm for a jog, the gym and a healthy dinner with red wine and cool friends at a jazz bar before pottery class that night. That’s an ad for coffee or Yoga or the gym, not enlightenment.

975 Relax and Succeed - Suffering is due entirely to clingingThere’s some who have wealthy enough external resources that they can live that life of leisure noted above but those are my addicted, lost and suicidal clients. The ones that have those resources and aren’t in trouble are the ones that act more like the group in service. They’re working hard, expanding themselves and they’re finding ways to contribute to those around them.

Then there’s many many many more who absolutely cannot afford to live that life of leisure but they try for too long and just end up buried in stressful debt because there’s little reason to think anyone was saved by some stroke of genius. Einstein read a lot about mathematics and he sat in that chair for a very very long time before he came up with E=MC2. You can’t look at a YouTube millionaire today and have that as a plan to support your spiritual growth because that success on YouTube will almost always demand that you appeal to ego a huge percentage of the time.

The real question is, how selfless were you today? Did you go through your day expanding your mind and body through work of some meaningful kind? Did you work hard and accomplish something? Did you gain a new skill? Did you help your fellow man? Do you act for charities, do you contribute, or are you just a protester?

975 Relax and Succeed - The art of being happyThere is nothing unspiritual or anti-enlightenment about getting up at 6:00am to work as a garbage man, or social worker or a lawyer or anything else. There is nothing unspiritual about raising kids and dealing with their mayhem and complications. It’s no coincidence that people who voluntarily choose a more difficult path end up with more capabilities, confidence and calm.

If you’re investing yourself in what has been sold as the spiritual life then it’s you that has sold out. The real enlightened people are working in refugee camps, they’re stay-at-home moms and tradesmen doing a hard day. If they write they write every day like it’s work. What you put in is what you get out. There’s nothing unspiritual about that and there is no path without suffering. So if you’re hiding from life you can stop and go live. Because it’s not a peaceful path that creates more peace, it’s a selfless path that creates connection and connection creates peace.

Look at your life. How much of it is aspirational dreaming and how much of it is motion forward? Because there’s a lot of stressful sitting still going on today and knowing the lotus position won’t help that. Enlightenment is a verb. Find your verb today. You can still wear your tights and you can still be a vegetarian, you just won’t get the reward without the sacrifice. So rather than avoiding hard work try running towards it, because it’s along the way that you’ll stumble into the peace that you’re currently searching so hard for.

peace. s

PS This was the least-read blog ever and bizarrely so. That fact prompted a popular response the next day. If you did agree to read this one then you probably stand to benefit less from the following one, but regardless they do work well as a pair.

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.

Conscious Creation

961 Relax and Succeed - You don't change your lifeYou can actually build a body that is good at being sad. You can also build one that is good at being angry, or good at being a victim or even good at being happy. Each of those emotions are created by chemical signals from your brain to your body and your personality is defined by which chemicals your body is most addicted to.

When a cell splits it’s paying attention. Each cell makes this little contribution to your consciousness. They’re awake and alive and they’re doing their best to create the reality you are asking for. So if you’re angry a lot then your cells are most likely to split when you’re angry and so that’s what the daughter / sister cell will be tuned to. Over time you end up with a body made of so many cells made in angry that you have literally become an angry person.

My clients are generally addicted to sadness or anger although occasionally I get one addicted to happiness. They’re never seeing me for relief though–they want to go higher. They want to feel exalted. They’re hunting enlightenment and you can’t do that until you are experienced at being in a conscious state, so the first step is to consciously build a healthy mind-body connection.

961 Relax and Succeed - If you knew how powerful your thoughts wereIt’s like you’re a clear plastic container shaped like you. Every moment a grain drops out of your food and each moment you have to add a new grain to the head of your container. Each grain is a different chemical. At the end of about eight years you will have traded almost all of your grains of identity and, if you’ve changed your thought patterns, you will look entirely different to everyone. People would say you have changed.

You must take ownership of this process in order to guide it. You cannot just surrender to what the world wants to throw in your head. You can be lucky you got home from war or happy you survived; both grains will be thrown toward your head but you’ll decide which one gets inside. You’ll think the thought. Someone else’s actions are just the toss, you are the catch. You decide what you allow to enter you. You can either make excuses for ugly chemistry or you can collect the qualities that make you beautiful.

No one is pure, not even an enlightened being. Without unenlightenment there can be no enlightenment. It’s like heaven. It lasts for eternity, which is means it’s also now, and every moment has the potential to create many different identities. You decide if you which ones you include within you with your attention. What you focus on is what you get.

961 Relax and Succeed - I have chosen to be happyYour thoughts are powerful things. With them you literally shape who you are. Do not allow this process to be habitual. Don’t just throw in whatever your childhood taught you to throw in because most people’s parents weren’t conscious and so you got a happenstance identity not a conscious one. This is the next stage for humanity. We get the material world pretty well. It’s time we took on the world of consciousness and energy.

Be aware. Be conscious. And if you catch yourself adding negative chemistry, don’t attack yourself for failing or that will just be more negative chemistry. You must love yourself before you can love others. This is an important mission. You cannot tell the world a story about how you don’t deserve it. There is no such thing as deserve. We are all one. You will be who you ask to be. So start today and ask to be who you really would like to be. Because if you can think like your hero for a few years, you will literally become your own hero.

You’re human, I know you can do this. The only question is, when will you start? Me? I try to do this every day. So let me start off my own day be choosing to love you, because in the future I would like to be even more loving than I already am. That is my goal, that is my aim and that is what keeps me conscious. I love you.

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.

Body and Soul

799 Relax and Succeed - Leap of faithIf you’re paying very close attention you’ll note that my blogs actually fall into two distinct categories. People come to me seeking two different things. Some just want straightforward psychological peace. They want what they would go to a counsellor or psychologist for–some answers about how to feel better about their past, their life and about themselves . No problem, I can help with that.

I also write about your spiritual life, which exists in a different sort of way from your life inside the illusionary world. The world you generally live inside is the world of your thinking. The world of your beliefs. It is shaped by your language, your status, health, wealth, height, weight, education, friends, the media, random experience and everything else. That world is where your problems are.

Your spiritual life is the life that watches and enacts your thinking life. There is a thinker and then there is the person that emerges from the thinking. Those are the same but separate. One is the shadow of the other. They co-exist like a wave and a particle.

799 Relax and Succeed - I didn't changeMuch like Newtonian Laws and the Laws of Quantum Mechanics, these two worlds can appear contradictory when in fact they are just different perspectives on the Oneness at the base of all reality. Yes you’re a person from the country you’re from, but you’re also your cells and you’re also vibrating energy at a nuclear level. These things are all simultaneously true, but sometimes I blog to one aspect of you and sometimes to another.

One is ideological and biological so I’ll talk about beliefs and ideas, and brain chemistry and thought–and yet another is about the divine sensations that emerge from giving serious consideration to the pure vibrational energy at the base of the universe. The stuff the scientists at the Super-Collider are looking for. These definitions are all true and in person I would address whichever one you wanted addressed.

Philosophically, just remember that you are the only person who sees things exactly the way you do. Everyone has a separate sense of reality and values. In regards to the physical world, the main point is: don’t over-think things. Be as much in the moment as you can and take things as they come. Do not use your internal voice to argue with the world. No matter what comes in the physical or psychological worlds, stay spiritually aware of the fact that these are all ultimately psychological events. They all take place in that energy-soup and they’re all made of energy-soup. We might experience pain but we cannot remain there. We always maintain the ability to create more happiness in our future.

799 Relax and Succeed - The best dreams happenUltimately we can choose to lay back away from life more as an engaged and empathetic observer, we can become involved in sharing our sense of peace, or we can even choose to dive into a full and human life without regret and to simply live it deeply and fully. All three of these things are accomplished through the maintenance of a genuine sense of mindfulness.

And even if you’re not mindful, that’s fine too because without an out there can be no in. Yin and Yang. So when you see yourself as failing, that event is still only taking place within the arena of your being. Even when you’re failing as a human your soul can still be succeeding. In the end there is no way to lose at existence. The universe is your stage, your can play any character you can imagine and there is no real judgment, so you are free to create a life using nothing but your own natural sense of drive and enthusiasm. And yet we are fundamentally so great that it can be intimidating to imagine life without the limits we place upon ourselves.

The stage is yours. Will you play the character you’ve historically played? Or will you begin testing your courage by slowly making the choices of someone else? It’s easier than you think. But no one can do it for you. It is you who must choose to come alive within your own life. What different choice will you make today?

peace. s

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

The Friday Dose #87

795 FD Relax and Succeed - And when you get the choiceThe Dose is always designed to either fascinate or illuminate. Today we’re going to keep it light and discuss the meaning of life. We’ll start off with this fellow who I know might appear insane. But if you listen to him closely, I have to admit he’s pretty much saying exactly what I am in the pages of this blog. It just goes to show that you can find wisdom anywhere:

Next we’ll take a look at the other end of the spectrum–this is a rational, scientific look at the meaning of life:

And we’ll end on an inspirational message because those always leave you feeling charged-up and enthusiastic about your own life–as you should be. Have yourself a wonderful, inspired day connecting to others in a meaningful way.

Have a great weekend everyone.

peace. s

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

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Polyhedrons of Perspective

You can stop arguing, defending and wondering why people act this way or that. What will make you feel better is when you realize that the things you want to do are actually impossible. The paradox is that when you surrender into that awareness you suddenly realize that you’ve always had what you were looking for. But to get there, first there’s some things you simply have to accept if you want to live with the equanimity that goes with an enlightened life.

748 Relax and Succeed - Wisdom is what's leftThe first thing is to accept that there is only Now. There is only the Present Moment. You have never been alive in the past nor will you live in the future. It always was and it’ll always be Now. People read that and it half-makes sense and so they read on. Really stop and really think about that like Eckhart suggests. That’s not to be taken lightly and there’s salvation in that idea.

Okay, so you can’t fix the past. And if you’re worried about the future then you’ll be worrying in your Present Moments rather than being Open and Aware. That lack of awareness will lead you to make the sort of mistakes that will cause your fearful future to end up being a self-fulfilling prophesy. Your future is always made of what you do in your Nows. Quiet your mind about before and later and pay attention to your nows instead.

The second thing you have to do is Accept. You have to accept that every moment is a polyhedron. Every single moment has many sides—many perspectives that can be taken on it. Think of Moments kind of like soccer balls—they’re three dimensional but they also have those little sides–little separate realities. Except in the psychological world people are much more complex than soccer balls so those sides can be infinitely tiny. So there’s no correct perspective on a moment. There’s just the side you’re looking at. That’s all you’ve got. That and maybe glimpses of the sides bordering yours. But just glimpses.

748 Relax and Succeed - I removed your egoI often talk about how I agree with Shakespeare about the ages of man. We all go through about 7-9 year cycles where we become someone new and then eight years later, just as it’s getting boring, we find or push ourselves into a new role where we need new perspectives on old things. Where we’re a beginner again. A lot of this has to do with aging because you get more experience with that change. That makes you more comfortable and then aware, so it’s a spiritual journey as well as a physical one.

If we’re lucky and we work at it our life experiences can lead to the big discovery everyone’s looking for—which is when we no longer see just our side of a single moment, but instead we can see at least enough of the soccer ball of life to appropriately humble our own perspective. We see that how we’re seeing it is just one way of seeing it out of many….

I’ve written about it here before but I’ve got a good example of me getting a better view of the soccer ball. My ex wife and I were talking one gorgeous Saturday morning and she wanted to stay in and clean the albeit dusty house. We were both busy all week and I wanted to relax. I didn’t like arguing over cleaning so I suggested we get a maid so we could spend more time out together. Back then I thought you had to be out, rather than just truly together. And it seemed like a loving offer that was taking half the cleaning off her back. Her answer surprised me.

748 Relax and Succeed - When I do good

She asked how much I’d pay a maid. I guessed way too high and she said she’d do it for that. I didn’t like that idea because my point was I wanted to get more time with her. But in my young-man innocent idiocy I thought to myself, okay, I wanted to go the park with friends but I guess if she wants the money and thinks it’s fair for the work then I can just shift to doing something fun at home and that way I get my relaxation and she gets her money. Fair deal.

Every person reading this who’s been married for longer than six months is laughing their ass off at that. That is ridiculous. We were both nuts. We were calculating that was fair and that it got us what we wanted. We weren’t however thinking about how it would feel. Because how it felt was that I felt uncomfortably guilty watching F1 Racing while she vacuumed our livingroom and she resented me sitting there with my feet up while she worked. At that point the money in the bank was an abstract concept no one was even thinking about except maybe to use as a point in an argument.

As I’ve aged my view of the soccer ball expanded and I can now see how crazy that was. But I also know I’ll make “mistakes” like that again. There’s no way not to. Because I can’t know what someone else stitched in next to my perspective on the soccer ball. They’ll tell me that. I’ll find out from experience. And so all we can do is live in the moment and do our best and remember that we’re all polyhedrons looking at other polyhedrons so no one ever really knows what’s going on. And there’s real comfort in just letting all that go and surrendering into what feels good instead. And lo and behold, it turns out that’s what feeling good was designed for.

peace. s

The Friday Dose #68

685 FD Relax and Succeed - Meryl Streep I no longer

There’s Meryl describing the boundaries that define her. Good for her. No apologies necessary. The world’s waiting for everyone to just be themselves like that.

Okay, after giving a woman the first word, now we’ve got these three old men, from three different parts of the world, from three markedly different experiences, and all of them share the same wisdom. It’s no coincidence. That’s the Truth. You keep searching for meaning. You want to accomplish whatever it is, collect your spiritual-psychological understanding and then go do that important thing that everyone feels compelled to do but are rarely sure about what it actually looks like. Well, it looks like your life. Because you don’t need a promotion, you don’t need to become someone, you just need to see that the only reason you saw yourself as too small was because your vision was limited, not because you were. Let’s start with holocaust survivor, psychologist and teacher, Viktor Frankl:

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Next let’s spend some time with the very humorous Anthony De Mello. Raised around Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus, De Mello became a Catholic Jesuit Priest and psychologist. Known for his affable manner and his willingness to actually shake his students awake, this talk is taken from a series of lectures that De Mello gave to a conference of Priest-Psychologists. These talks were later compiled into the excellent book Awareness.

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And let’s finish on a favourite of mine, philosopher Alan Watts suggesting to you that you are much bigger and more powerful than you realize. And you are never not connected. I sometimes use the metaphor of a disco ball. If the ball is the point of singularity and the light turning on is the big bang, then the early universe is where the light and where we are is where the light is. So it’s the same light, from the same source. Just as atomic science teaches us, we are all made from the same atoms that formed the early universe. The light is still travelling outward and we are its current manifestation. And after we “die” the light that is us just continues on in a new form. We are an epoch in that infinite beam of light. We are as big and as powerful as our idea of ourselves. It’s time we started living that way:

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Have a fantastic Friday and a great long weekend everyone. Much love.

peace. s

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Crazy Talk

Ever since the concepts of sane and crazy were invented everyone has spent at least some time wondering if they’re nuts. But what if there was a test that you could administer to yourself that told you conclusively if you were or not? What then? Because such a test actually exists and I will give it to you in this blog.

529 Relax and Succeed - I have reached a pointOkay, are you ready? Go to a mirror or hold one up to your face, or use that mirror app on your phone. Take a good look at yourself. Do you look human? If the answer is “yes” then you’re crazy. Because all humans are crazy. How do I know? Because if I didn’t know that then I couldn’t properly write this blog. I’ll explain.

Everyone lives inside their own thinking. What the Buddhists call the illusion is the layer of words and descriptions and opinions that we layer over the real world which simply Is. Through poignant events, or rapturous moments, everyone spends some time in an enlightened state. When we’re laughing and thrilled with life. When we’re exhilarated and fully alive. It’s whenever we’re appreciating the Isness of things. The healthiest people do that by choice and they do it often. So people caught up in the illusion will argue over whether a movie or a book was good or bad, whereas someone who can see through the illusion finds the whole discussion meaningless.

An enlightened person can appreciate that everyone lives inside their thinking and so people don’t see a book or a movie, they see their thoughts about it. So knowing that, it seems so unnecessarily unfortunate that good friends would invest any amount of life getting into arguments over their opinions. What difference does that make? Why would you ruin your day to have a pointless debate where you both compare beliefs that exist only in your own consciousness? Even if you won that argument, what did you win? So to the contrary, an enlightened person can even be called crazy and they’re okay with it. Because they know everyone looks crazy to a lot of people.

529 Relax and Succeed - Happy is the man who canTo a meek non-physical safety conscious administrator, working as a whitewater rafting guide or a heli-skiing guide can look crazy. But then then the professional skier probably thinks much the same thing about the administrator in his little cubicle all day staring at a screen. Someone giving a speech or doing a radio show can seem insanely brave to a quiet person, and yet to a talk show host, they might find being alone a huge challenge whereas the quiet person likes it. Likewise a guy going to school and getting into debt for a decade past high school so that he can be a doctor and swab sores and stick his fingers in people’s bums—that can look insane to a kid who’s getting good money to work outdoors at a job that keeps him in peak physically shape. Meanwhile the doctor is relieved he doesn’t have to live a life of menial labour. So what’s crazy? It depends completely on who you ask.

Having kids, not having kids, being married, not being married, this job, that job and on and on and on. We’re all just walking swirls of opinion and when we get in proximity to the opinions that make up other people—if our opinions are too solid they tend to impact other very solid opinions. But if we’re more ephemeral and flexible and open, then we can pass through each other and feel the experience without it containing a harsh impact.

Go ahead and be crazy. Know that there’s people who will view your life from the outside and they will have harsh and negative and incorrect opinions. But whatever. How does that actually affect you? Even if they say it, words are just sound waves hitting your eardrums. They don’t demand that you engage with them.

529 Relax and Succeed - Tacenda things better left unsaidYou can be open to others views even if they’re about you. After all, you have some opinions about other people too. But instead of sharing them or even complaining about them, how about if—as much as possible—we all stayed conscious of our thinking and we just dropped the combative thoughts about differing opinions? And not just our internal thinking, where we poke at their statements even as they’re speaking. I mean the external talk too. The arguments, the put-downs, the needless opinions. That should all be muted as much as possible. We should favour input over output.

Instead of spreading negativity, what if we also focused on what we do like about the world? Because there is no point in striving to be seen as sane or healthy or smart or successful in the eyes of someone else. Their opinion lives only inside their head, and whoever else they can convince to believe it too. But there’s seven billion people in the world. They don’t all have to like you regardless of the reason. And even the ones that are your friends don’t have to agree with you about everything. So just relax and listen to people without feeling that their views have anything to do with you. Do that and people will still think you’re crazy. But at least you won’t care because you’ll be enjoying life so much more.

I hope you enjoyed reading today’s blog as much as I enjoy writing them. Thanks for your time. Have an awesome day.

peace. s

Partly Cloudy Partly Sunny

The reason you have difficulty realizing an enlightened state is because you see it as some high-level guru-inspired nirvana-achievement. It’s something special. Something you don’t normally do. But that’s the trick—you do do it all the time. You just don’t account for it.

499 Relax and Succeed - When things are going wellYou hit some super long putt, or a free throw in basketball or a wrist shot in hockey—and you know know know you’ve scored the moment it leaves your control. Sometimes you’re busy doing something mundane and you look up and you can’t believe how much time has passed. Or when you were just enjoying yourself so much that you felt entirely secure and therefore your ego had no reason to perform. In each of those cases you were in an enlightened state.

In those cases you’ll note that you weren’t investing much or any energy on creating a you. Instead you were busy taking in the world. You were an input aspect of the universe, not an output aspect. You were enjoying the universe itself. And that can take all forms. You can be mesmerized and thoroughly absorbed by baby pandas, and you can be just as riveted by a pride of lions taking down a baby gazelle. One thing is cute and one thing is natural but very harsh, and yet both experiences are equal in that they are fully engaging; meaning they leave us with no space to insert our egos. There is a great lesson in this. To improve your daily life, you simply have to apply this same response to less compelling aspects of life. Stop reserving this skill for mountain-top sunsets and baby animals. Start using this with frustrating co-workers and stressed spouses.  Because even those things are ultimately not about you.

A499 Relax and Succeed - You simply have to acceptccept that there will be days when people who are usually reasonable will suddenly be difficult. This is not the secret-them coming out. This is not some gross miscalculation of character on your part. This is normal human existence. How’s our diet? How about sleep? Are there challenging and unavoidable things going on in life and how good are your support systems? These are things that will impact a person’s reactions, not to mention big shifts in hormone changes that can be the result of everything from bodybuilding drugs to puberty, to menstrual cycles and menopause and changes resulting from drugs or diseases and their treatments. There’s a lot of reasons for all of us to occasionally get snippy. We’re better to learn not to be so quick to judge. Watch people over the long term. That’s the closest thing you could call who they are.

The world isn’t perfect when everyone’s unnaturally polite. The world’s perfect when everyone is compassionate enough to let themselves and everyone else be a fully realized human being leading a full and rich life. Because even the greatest life includes frustration and agony and doubt and struggle. So we must let those moments be. Those are merely clouds hovering over the landscape of our life. They only obscure the sun. They do not actually make it go away. All we have to do is wait and when we see rays shining through up ahead, we must set that course as our destination. Because it is by moving toward the light, that we realize our own path through life.

Accept not everything feels good, then as soon as possible move toward what does feel good. That’s pretty much the whole secret to life in a nutshell. Go for it.

peace. s