The Voice of the Soul

Hey, you guys wake up. You see this?

What?

She’s just sitting there again.

Like before? Just sitting there thinking about all the things that she doesn’t like about her life? Why does she do that? It’s like putting us in prison. Doesn’t she feel how much it hurts us?

Oh she feels our hurtin’ bad kid, she just doesn’t understand.

Doesn’t understand what?

See, unlike animals, humans have language so they develop this framework they call ‘psychology.’

Psy…cholo…gy…?

Yeah. See, they can use their mind to talk to themselves, and they mistake their own talking for us.

Why would they mistake their own talking for their soul?

Well, see, they’re kind of loving their pain more than they’re loving us. That’s where they’re focus is. They don’t get that we’re a collection of experiences to be lived. When they’re lost they think that a soul is like this perfect shining thing, and so they keep sitting still and then they use their thoughts to compare themselves to their other thoughts about whatever their personal idea of perfection is.

Perfection?! And they each have their own ideas of perfection???

Yeah. Some wanna be skinny, some wanna be smarter or more popular or richer.

And they think if they get that they’ll get closer to us?

They think those things are us. Like I said, they think we’re a thing.

I’m still confused. What do you mean a “thing?”

Like, uh… an entity. They think we’re like a blob of glowing perfection or something.

A glob of…?

I know. But you gotta understand, they’re innocents. They all start like that. The boss figures if we lose them early, then they have their early life to learn to relax when they’re lost. When they do that they’re immediately home. It actually works pretty good. They call it, surrendering.

So if they go quiet they surrender then we start getting lived, but instead they’re trying to find the peace of surrendering by thinking about some blob of perfection?

They’re ‘better self,’ yeah. And, usually they won’t use the blob, they’ll use some other person –which is even crazier I know –but look– I’m not explaining it good. See, they think we’re like this thing that stays forever. They don’t get that we’re a collection of experiences that leaves oneness and returns to oneness. They don’t get that they have to spend us. They think they have to expose us, or be like us, or be pure, or extra nice or something. They think we’re a thing they get or achieve and not an activity they do.

So why don’t you just tell her!? Otherwise she’ll cry all night again for no reason and then we never get lived!

I know. It’s painful. But that’s all we can do is make it hurt. That’s us yelling as loud as we can. She’s the one that has to get up and walk us toward some unhurt. It can be anything. Peace, relaxation, kindness, generosity, fun, laughing, togetherness, love. She could use the legs and move toward any of those things, but we can’t just whisper in the ear. Her thought-words would drown us out. We talk in feelings.

I dunno why she wouldn’t listen. Otherwise she’s just letting us die inside her for no good reason.

I told you, it’s not like I can turn our feelings into words and then whisper them in her ear.

Then let’s signal someone else and get them to tell her.

Sure. Right. Now how the hell do you propose we do that?

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.

Recognition of Involvement

Winner: 2016’s Blog of the Year #10!

So this week we know two things: our Dominant Negative Emotion and our Dominant Positive Emotion. Your mind has lots of things wired into those two emotions and so those are the ones to which you have the most effective route. Your brain’s like that–the more you do of something the better it gets at it.

861 Relax and Succeed - Today I listen to my feelingsFor our example today we could use sadness or anger but since it’s so popular, let’s say you spend most of your day anxious. Maybe you got laid off and there’s no work so you started your own little business but every day you’re freaked out that in you’re in over your head, it’s more than you can handle and you feel lost and afraid about your future and you lack trust in yourself. Again, it can be any emotion; this is just an example.

And let’s say the enjoyable thing you can easily experience is compassion. You can be having a terrible day–be all caught up in your own egotistical suffering and then you can see an injured dog being rescued on social media and suddenly you’ve switched from anxiety about your future to a form of caring love for the animal and thoughts instead about its future. You’re so invested in the animal that you’re not even creating a you to do any suffering.

This example works particularly well because compassion is tied to someone else’s suffering. For your mind, it’s not a giant leap to stay in suffering mode and yet focus on someone else. That once-removed understanding of the pain is the same thing that makes watching suffering in a movie actually resonate. It’s not your pain, but you feel it as pain you personally understand.

861 Relax and Succeed - Feeling unsure and lostWell it’s time you got to understand your own pain like that. That way, if you can’t shift to a better-feeling emotion you can still feel okay being in a painful situation. That’s an important distinction. Pain is mandatory in life. Everyone feels it. But suffering is the egotistical thought layer we place over the world and we invent suffering and claim it’s pain. It isn’t. Psychological pain is very fortunately a choice.

You can’t blame people a few years ago for thinking this was crazy. Common belief in psychology was that it worked the other way around. Your mental health affected your thinking, not that your thinking affected your mental health. Now they’re old fashioned if they think that people are victims. We can’t out-victim people who went through the worst of WWII, so if they can still have fruitful lives so can anyone else. It’s a matter of understanding our choices. It’s a matter of valuing this awesome opportunity called life.

Remember, because you have a preference for an experience that feels good that does not mean that the undesirable emotions and experiences are incorrect or otherwise something to remove from your life. You want to learn to spend the least amount of time there possible, but there is still tremendous value in the contrast that negative experiences provide.

861 Relax and Succeed - You are innately mentally healthyThere cannot be a path of enlightenment if there isn’t a not-path. And it’s not a path to enlightenment, because that makes it sound like it’s a destination when it’s actually an action–a verb; a way of moving through the universe. It is to be awake. To see the creation of your emotions and the possibility of a shift. Just wondering about that change for one day will do you tremendous good.

These are not small steps you’re taking every day. It’s you learning to see the world in a different way. If we do this long enough you’ll not only have the benefit of each lesson, but you’ll also have the larger total benefit of having assumed as natural, an entirely new way of seeing the world. A way so comfortable it can eventually replace the flawed version of reality you’re struggling to manage today.

That’s your assignment: watch your two biggest emotions. See how they each rise within you. Wonder about those sources. You’re wiser than you think. If you’re sincerely doing the exercises you’re likely to have a very helpful insight about how you can be more peaceful with yourself. It’s those little a-ha moments that we’ll stitch together into a new understanding. It’ll be fun. See you tomorrow for the act of the switch.

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.

A New Reality

Okay, so yesterday you figured out how you process some events. You know your brow furrows and you get tension in your neck, or you know you won’t be able to sit still, or that your feel nauseous, but you’ve figured out what your dominant emotion is and how it impacts you. You’ve already done more than you realize.

857 Relax and Succeed - Life is 10 percent what you makeMaybe you already noticed it yesterday. Just your awareness of where your suffering sits physically makes you more aware. Your stomach starts to tighten but now you have the association as to why. You may even have known why right away, but being in tune with that–seeing that information as a tool is not something you’re likely to have done. People think their emotions are results not signposts.

Let’s use the new job example I started yesterday. In that case our overwhelming unfamiliarity leaves us more vulnerable and therefore more wary or… anxious. That’s a natural reaction to all that newness. So if you were going to feel a bit anxious it makes sense that you would feel that just before a new job, where you’ll meet a bunch of new people. And in that context you’re essentially hunting–you’re going to use the money from work to buy the most basic things, like having food or shelter. So if you feel your food and shelter might be threatened then Maslow would suggest that it seems like the appropriate time for the very human emotion of very active concern or anxiety.

857 Relax and Succeed - Fall in love wtih the processCan you see how that you’ve already started the change you wanted to teach yourself? Because by becoming the real you who is watching for the fake you, you can’t think the fake you’s narrative thoughts. That’s a big deal–you’re now busy being the person watching those thoughts and their reactions in your body. You are now real you watching ego you. Congratulations! And that only took a day to get familiar with. You’ll only get better from here.

Starting tomorrow we’ll hone this skill even further. But for today focus on practicing being an observer. Don’t just notice that one emotion; start to add the others. Feel all those emotions. Feel the chemistry of your body not as your day but rather as the result of your thinking. Note that if you change your thinking or circumstances change it, you feel differently. So spend today focusing on that relationship between what you think and how you feel.

857 Relax and Succeed - Don't let negativity drag you downStop talking to yourself about your day and start being alive within it. Stop living the thoughts and start existing as the being that thinks those thoughts. You are the projector not the screen.

Remember, don’t add to negative narratives by chastising yourself. Chastise or not every thought is an act of creation. Watch them go as easily as they came. That is your day. That flow. You don’t fight that flow. You get comfortable with it and then you can start to feel its currents and use its forces. Before you know it you’ll be a Jedi. 😉

Have fun watching yourself. If you do it earnestly you’ll learn a lot. Get good at it. Then we’ll take that raised awareness and we’ll put it to good use. You’re now an active participant in your life. Congratulations. Enjoy your day.

peace, s

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

Meditating on Awareness

Okay, so far we’ve done meditations on gratitude, judgment and our physical selves. Now we going to make you aware of where you non-physical self touches your physical self. This is where your thoughts become your biology and your biology becomes your emotional day.

Where we have to start is in finding your dominant emotion and where it sits. So essentially we’re looking for the end of the equation. After you’ve thought something and your system talks to your hypothalamus and you get a complex chemical dump that rushes through your body and in you it tends to go…. where?

Once you slow your thinking down it will be easier to find these sensations but right now we’re just getting you back in touch with yourself so you can start to take control yoverself–over your determination or your eating or your anxiety etc. If you’re over 30 you’re starting to develop a face from your common chemistry. Meaning you think a certain type of thought so commonly that the emotion associated with it is starting to form how your face naturally sits.

Many people easily know their dominant emotions but if you don’t then your face will be a clue. Figure out if you spend more time worried, angry, hurt, anxious, sad, superior, curious, happy or loving. If you look mostly loving then you probably don’t need to read this blog but that’s very low odds–I can go years without seeing a new person who truly spends most of their time loving.

856 Relax and Succeed - Any fool can run toward the lightAfter we have the emotion we want to know where it goes. Of course it goes to your face and everywhere else, but where’s it sit. Do worry and it tightens your gut? Do you get angry and your chest tightens? Are you sad and your shoulders are heavy and your head is down? How about anxious and something’s always twitching? Spend a day homing in on yours.

Once you have that you have your most obvious signaling system. Once you know that your nervousness sits in your gut you can be at your desk and think to yourself, “Oh my God I have that new client this afternoon. I hate new clients. I always do something awkward and look dumb in front of all these new people who are just meeting me… ugh.” And then maybe you touch your stomach or reach for your antacid. Boom. There’s your clue.

So let’s say it’s anxiety in the stomach. Well–that just used to be it. You’d feel that and then you’d request more of that chemistry by continuing that anxious narrative about the job and the worries and predictions of how it will go and what they will think. Truly wildly speculative stuff that only seems valid because you only pay attention to your life in ways that self-reinforce these ideas. So you’ll only notice when you’re anxious so it’ll seem like you’re always anxious which will validate the narratives you’re exchanging.

856 Relax and Succeed - Keep up the good workRemember, in the end this is all just you volunteering to talk to yourself. Now that we’ve found the result of the common type of conversation, rather than continue on to a chain reaction of other thoughts you can use this blog as a signpost to say–hey wait a second: is this emotion valid? In many cases it won’t be.

The question is, what can you do about that? How does that help? That’s what we’ll cover tomorrow. Today’s about finding that emotion and where it sits. Do that and you are progressing just fine young grasshopper. 😉

You guys have a fantastic day getting more in touch and closer to your natural health. I look forward to the next step tomorrow. It’s a big one.

peace. s
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Rewiring Your Self

846 Relax and Succeed - When you discover that all happinessI know I said there would be no Thursday blogs this year while I worked on the edit of a new book, but since we took Monday to establish the plan for this year this week will be an exception.

Some of you started this exercise already pretty good at appreciating. Some of you are pretty terrible at it. A lot of people basically bitch all day. Every other driver, shopper, boss, co-worker, friend and family member draws out a judgement. Too many of you want too many things to be the way you want them to be rather than loving them the way they are. That’s why you suffer and why the world is robbed of the contribution of your genius.

Your brain makes adjustments every moment and it’s flexibility is stunning. There are functional people walking around with very large and complete components of their brain that are completely missing. A woman in the States has no frontal cortex and yet she functions quite normally. These weekly exercises are there to help you more consciously and intentionally do that rewiring so that it’s easier to make better choices.

846 Relax and Succeed - Stop focusing on how stressed you areIf you get up and do the gratitude exercise first thing in the morning–while your brain is still waking itself up–you are establishing a pattern within yourself. Just like if you go to the gym and build muscle by using that part of your body, if you make appreciation a daily habit your brain will get better and better at it. Then your body starts to listen too.

If you think a lot of stressful thoughts your body will produce all of the necessary chemistry to create the sensations you experience as stress. Everything from a furrowed brow to a tight stomach to altering your cell receptors. If you always give your body a consistent chemical it will get good at handling that chemical–because that’s what it believes you want. You ask for it you get it.

Start choosing your thoughts instead of having them be just unconscious habits. Your morning exercise absolutely will change your brain. Change your brain change your chemistry, change you chemistry change your life. My body’s brilliant at being happy. My cells can do sad, but it’s not very good at it. Happiness flows through me and I feel elated. Sadness won’t stick. Many of you are the opposite. No problem. Just change that morning habit and over time it’ll change itself. Make gratitude the habit.

846 Relax and Succeed - Each day is a new beginningIt’s just a little 20 minute exercise each morning and it’s easy. What could be more important? Why work twice as hard to make more money to get more things to create a temporary sense of satisfaction when you could have your current life and just change how you feel about it?

Do the exercise. If you won’t even do that then you can go ahead and keep saying you want to be happy. Because wanting it is what keeps it at bay. Wanting is always away from you. Appreciation happens within you. Take control over what you do control and you’ll see you don’t need to control the rest.

For my own part in appreciation: thank you for taking the time to read my work. I sincerely hope you’re enjoying the process. I know you will if you do it. So enjoy your day. Intentionally. 😉

peace. s

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

Fitting In

We all know that cloying feeling of wanting to fit in. We imagine a warm feeling, like a blanket that covers every part of us. The revelation is when we really go from intellectually knowing to truly understanding that absolutely everyone–within their own reality–feels the same way we do. They experience the same emotions all of us do. No one escapes, everyone wins.

757 Relax and Succeed - We all live with the objectiveYes, the people you feel are super confident, the ones who seem to fit in everywhere with everyone? They experience the pain of not fitting in too. Yup. Everyone feels like the outsider sometimes. And our identity is the narrative story we tell ourselves to explain our out or in-ness.

Our natural desire to belong is a healthy drive toward cooperation that has been turned ugly by modern life. We used to all live together and share, now we all live in separated boxes called houses that we have to pay for, many people are alone, everyone works and everyone has artificial light tricking their brain into thinking it’s daytime. So first people have insomnia and then they’re exhausted all day. Where is there any connection in that? Where is the value in that?

The truth is, if you have feelings of disconnection and longing you just have to understand them correctly. That isn’t you failing at life. You’re not failing at the Rat Race. You don’t add that lack of connection into your pathetic narrative of you–you use that feeling as an indicator of what is really going on. It’s feedback for steering your life. It’s feedback for taking action.

757 Relax and Succeed - The more I traveledIf you feel longing then don’t assume you’re a failure–go find people to be with. If you’re unhealthy, don’t beat yourself up. Use that same energy to join a running or cycling group. If you’re just lonely, go to one of those board games clubs, go bowling, take some classes in a field of interest, learn to paint in a class, walk your dog in a dog park during busy times. Whatever.

Don’t blame yourself for having human feelings in an inhuman world. You’re healthy and correct to be pushing back against many modern bits of life. If you could break free of all of your programming you would be absolutely amazed at how much of our lives are a bizarre collection of rules created by us, for us. Even the keyboard I’m writing to you on is laid out to slow typists down because typewriter keys used to jam.

But after the world’s typists had learned how to work around the machine by training their fingers to move rather unnaturally, there was no way anyone wanted to learn a new machine pattern and re-train their fingers and brains when we changed to computers. So instead of being healthy, we do what modernization tells us to. Then when we don’t feel connected to others we attack ourselves instead of the frameworks we live under.

757 Relax and Succeed - Comparison is the theif of joyWe don’t need to find out how to be better to feel better. We have to get conscious and start caring about the world and our place in it in a different way. A way that prioritizes how life feels and not how well we fit into a larger patterns. The things we’re taught to do as a society are acts surrounding life but they are not life itself. Those things are representations. But that’s like saying a Profit and Loss Statement is the same as the business itself, rather than saying it is a picture of the business taken from very specific angles that show some things and hide others–as every perspective does.

Don’t look to be more popular or more successful or hipper. Those are illusions. Try to make your life more humane instead. Ask yourself what brings you joy as a person and then look to build opportunities for that to happen into your daily life. Create connections with others that are meaningful and personal and deep. I’ve said it here before: the two dates on a tombstone are brackets. The dash in between is your life. It’s shorter than you think, so start living it like it’s yours–because it is.

peace. s

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

Other Perspectives #80

This seems like a no-brainer, right? This is what everyone’s saying: be happy. Happiness is becoming the new rich. But that doesn’t do us much good if we’re still pursuing it egotistically. We can’t want peace and happiness because it’ll make other people think we’re successful. Those things are useless without freedom and that means doing whatever feels natural for us in any given moment–and sometimes that moment might prefer us to cry or get angry or otherwise feel the sting of dissatisfaction. What good is enlightenment if I can’t profoundly experience the death of my sister completely? What good is enlightenment if it cuts me off from the very pain that teaches me to value those who are still alive? If we’re free and relaxed do we end up happier? Yes, that’s how it works. But you can’t pursue that with the goal of more happiness because that’s a want and wants are egotistical. But if you fall in love with the process of being a human being instead, then you can move through each emotion without getting stuck. Because if you believe the emotion you’re experiencing is somehow “wrong” then you can’t relax until that wrong feeling is gone when in truth, if you truly understand, even the most terrible moments in life seem as fitting as the most joyous.

peace. s

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

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