The Friday Dose #108

909 FD Relax and Succeed - How long to napThere are a lot of people whose lives would be greatly improved if only they had the ability to function outside of social convention. I routinely see people tortured by the gap between their instructions and their sense of reality.

Bosses tell us not to eat when we’re hungry, despite having sensations of thirst we let a university tell us how much to water to drink, parents need permission from a Principal for their kid to be accepted as sick, adults sleep-deprive themselves to solve problems for work, and people will actually defer going to the bathroom to help meet a deadline. Not trusting our nature is leading to a sick and stressed society.

Bosses, universities, authorities, clocks and bathrooms are all inventions of thought. None of these things exist in the natural world and they only exist if people believe in them. You can cooperate with all of those things to assist you in relating to others, but to be a slave to them is to kill your humanity. It’s okay to eat when you’re hungry, to take a break when you need to, and definitely to sleep when you’re tired.

909 FD Relax and Succeed - Paper cut outPrince died yesterday. He was only 57 so it caught people off guard. What made Prince, or David Bowie or any other person truly great? They ignored the rules. They ignored what was considered acceptable and instead they showed us what was was inside them.

Prince wore the outfits that other people dream of wearing but don’t because they’re afraid of being judged. He danced in front of people the way others dance when they’re alone. And he sang his songs with volume and heart because he believed they belonged in the world without anyone else saying so. We could all use a bit more of Prince’s boldness in our lives.

And how did Prince react to adversity? When he was told it was pouring rain for one of the biggest shows of his life, Prince’s reaction was: “Can you make it rain harder?” And then he went out and ignored what everyone else would do and he blew everyone away. This is what freedom looks like:

Documentary on Prince at the Superbowl

 

So stop letting the world tell you how to be and start being yourself in this world. Don’t be a slave to society. Life is precious. Live accordingly.

Have a great 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.

Your Emotional Reality

870 Relax and Succeed - 30 years from nowThere are certain things that make sense and then there are some things that make an unexpectedly profound sort of sense. So yes it makes sense that people don’t like feeling anxious. But, while it’s a bit counter-intuitive at first, it makes sense that nature has given us the sensation of anxiousness for a purpose, so there must be times where it is appropriate.

We’re learning through doing these meditations that it is appropriate to feel hyper aware of danger in high-stakes situations. But it is also appropriate to keep in mind that real danger is much different than feeling anxious due to your narrative thoughts about what past or future events might mean to you right now.

For instance, it makes sense to your ego to not like it when your reputation gets hurt. Your ego is fundamentally who you believe you are, but your identity to other people is who they think you are. Just knowing those two things proves that a “reputation” doesn’t really exist. It would be more accurate to say, anyone who is aware of your existence will have an opinion. That’s it. So if it’s that certain and arbitrary then what’s the point in having an emotional reaction to that? You might as well spin a bottle.

870 Relax and Succeed - What other people thinkSomeone not liking you isn’t the edge of an actual cliff. Even if you’re correct, those are ideas someone will think for a while inside the confines of their own head. Whether people like you or don’t like you, that has almost nothing to do with you and almost everything to do with them. So that’s a big difference: a cliff is real danger and a useful place for a cautionary emotion. But creating / experiencing that emotion over a zillion people’s casual fleeting opinions is like begging to be neurotic.

Status and reputations matter to people who don’t understand what those things really are. People thought many brilliant scientists were wrong. At a certain place and a certain time that made sense. Same for Van Gogh. It appeared he hadn’t succeeded as a painter but it turned out we needed time to understand how brilliant he was. So what is Van Gogh’s reputation? To someone dead from his era they could easily rise and pass a lie detector saying he was no good. And they would be telling the truth–their truth.

It makes sense that people will think the worst things about people who have hurt them but that does not mean hurting you was what they intended. Even if it was, from their perspective they may have been trying to neutralize something that threatened them. So the mean pretty girls in high school pick on the girls that make them feel dumb, ugly, shallow or less cool. Can you see having a personal reaction to that sort of general fear-based behaviour makes no sense? You’re above that.

870 Relax and Succeed - Don't ever feel badPride, status, reputation, regret, guilt, worry–these are thought-forms in your consciousness. You need to replace them with something, because to exist is to create the world with your thoughts. That’s why people like me can have bad accidents, have their bodies die but yet the other aspect of them survives until the body is inhabitable again. Your life isn’t your cells, it’s the experience you have within your consciousness.

See your day as a running commentary on a world that simply is, and even when it seems directed right at you remember that it is still just itself being itself in all of its chaotic glory. Don’t ask the ocean to shape its waves in very particular ways and instead just crash as many times as it takes to learn how to ride any wave successfully.

Forget managing your own and other people’s judgments. Your ego wants to be impressive but the real you just wants peace. Don’t let thoughts about non-real things like status and reputation and guilt be thoughts you choose to think when you have so many others available.

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.

Scott’s Favourite Blogs of 2014 #1

724 BY14-1 Relax and Succeed - I have found that

There is probably no greater issue plaguing our society than excessive worry and anxiousness. Phones are beeping, emails are piling up, the house is a mess, you’re late on two projects and you’re exhausted worrying about how to add more. Instead lets take some away. Because my favourite blog of last year was about taking all of the energy you use to worry and using it to live instead! You have more fun and you get more done.

CLICK BELOW TO READ:

Winner: Scott’s Favourite
Blogs of 2014 #1

peace. s

The Roller Coaster

We’ve all had them. We’re all likely to have more too. There’s even a huge twist just before the ride ends. Everyone eventually comes to know those roller coaster periods of life where it seems like more is up in the air than is settled. Where gravity is iffy and our stomach is all over the place and one minute we’re squealing with glee and the next we’re plummeting into terror.

702 Relax and Succeed - Just because it's notWe can think we’re going nuts but we’re really not. We’re just becoming. Roller coasters are generally only created when we’re either initiating a change already—like when we initiate a divorce; or when we’ve avoided changing—like when we find out we’re getting divorced. If you look closely at your life you’ll see that you live in about 7-9 year cycles. It’s why Shakespeare talked about the seven ages of man.

Life is as good as we think it is, but there are certainly times where we’re tipped toward exciting, courageous choices that make us feel bigger and stronger. It’s great when we feel like that but—as much as it’s a great place to work from, I rarely get a new student in that State of Mind. People usually call me when they find themselves on the roller coaster unexpectedly.

They call thinking I’ll tell them how to get off it so they’re a bit surprised in sessions when instead we start turning the roller coaster into an event unto itself. The people that volunteered to get on are still going for the same wild ride—but they’re enthusiastic about it. And you can be too even if you’re not right now.

702 Relax and Succeed - Never let the sadness of your pastI’ve been waiting to be in the position myself so I could write about it with more impact. But of course those only happen every eight years or so, so it took until now before I found myself in one of those periods.

In my own case it was fortunate that, by the time a really big one happened to me—I already knew what to do.

Acceptance is when you don’t argue with life. Acceptance is quietly living in your circumstances with minimal comparisons or complaints. So now when these times hit I remember that I knew these would happen and so rather than lament the roller coaster’s existence I’m immediately trying to line up just right so I get a good seat.

If I’m going to ride this thing then I want to be at the front where I can basically guess where I’m going and the twists and turns and drops don’t seem anywhere near as dangerous. Instead you sense the design of the coaster a bit better. You can feel the engineering. You can tell that despite the loops and the twists and sudden drops (plus the fact that it drops you off right where it left you), you get the sense that it was engineered just for you. Yes you may get off at the same point you’ll get on, but it’ll be a different person getting off the ride. You’ll have grown in a major way. Knowing that is why I like the roller coaster. I understand what it means.

702 Relax and Succeed - Sometimes you will never knowThis is where there are phrases like the second spouse gets what the first one paid for.  So in my case every woman after my wife was treated with more care and attention than I had previously had invested. I did a lot of loving things and I would have died for my wife, but that didn’t mean I was respecting her the way I should—and at our ages who knows, maybe she wasn’t respecting enough of how I was either, I don’t know. But I know that’s her journey not mine. I just know it made me better and I like who I became and I was sorry I couldn’t have been that guy for her.

If you jumped on the roller coaster you’ll love the huge chain-clinking ride up that first huge hill. You chose this ride and you’re determined to love it. And while it will scare you much more than you anticipated, and the excitement dies down over the course of the ride, you’ll still feel like you came out on top. For those who were pushed on—you can either close your eyes even tighter, hold on and end up being too much like the person you were, or you can open them up, accept the twists and turns as a part of the ride and then just relax as much as you can and you will become a new and better version of yourself.

702 Relax and Succeed - The reason peopleThe ride is inevitable but you have a lot of control over how it feels. But to do that you have to stay conscious of your thinking. Because the ride isn’t really made up of the tracks and where they go, they’re made up of how excited or how afraid you are of the twists and turns. It’s what happens inside your head that counts. So spend less time trying to manage the outside and invest a bit more time on your accounting of things. Life may be tumultuous but you can still have a lot of fun while it’s happening.

If you’re on a roller coaster right now just relax as much as you can. Yes you’ll get jostled. Yes you’ll scream and cry. Sometimes you’ll wish it was over but some parts you’ll love like crazy. Just don’t get on and bitch that it exists. If you have to ride it, ride it your way.

Have a great time. And a great day. All the best.

peace. s

Creating a Day

Hate controls everything it touches, but love sets everything it touches free.”  Why did I want to use that particular quote on this blog? Because that’s what this blog is—it’s about going deeper into the meanings. Too many people post these things without giving them serious thought. It’s like they want Drive-Thru service on their spirituality. Stop off, grab a quote, post it on social media and you’re off to the races. Nope. That’s not to say it’s hard though. But you do have to spend some time on it. It’s time you’re wasting anyway. I’ll 694 Relax and Succeed - Hate controls everythingdemonstrate how as I talk about why I chose this quote.

So how does hate control everything? If you wake up after dreaming hateful dreams about your ex then you will be worn out before your day even starts. You spent the entire night using your dreams to cross-wire a bunch of negativity into your being. So hate has now touched how you physically feel when you wake up. You’ll notice that fact and you’ll ask yourself why, after which you’ll then remind yourself that you’ve been having hateful thoughts which have lead to hateful dreams.

Now you’re starting your day with your brain tilted in a negative fashion. As you ride transit, or walk or drive to work you’ll find people irritating or frustrating. You’ll be inclined to notice all of the things you disapprove of and you’ll ignore the more positive things that don’t match your mindset. You’ll fail to see the happy puppy in someone’s window but you’ll notice the overturned tricycle in their yard, and you’ll tell yourself some completely speculated chemically reinforcing narrative about how they’re irresponsible parents—just so you can keep your drug-flow going. You’re feeling hateful and it’ll be your subconscious objective to stay that way unless you intervene with open consciousness.

694 Relax and Succeed - You don't receive a good lifeYour interactions with others will be hostile. You’ll assume the worst in anything anyone says. They’ll ask a question and you’ll hear an accusation. Some people will go for lunch together and you’ll view it as they left you out. Small things will irritate you. Each of these things has the chance to escalate. And that’s if you’re not continuing to add wood to the fire by thinking even more hateful thoughts about the ex. That’s like drinking poison in an effort to kill someone else.

No, what will free you and what will save your day at whichever moment you enact it, will be a conscious change. It will be when you actively choose to turn toward love. It’ll be when you use those ugly feelings as a signal that you’re engaged in ugly thinking. And having done that, you will then nurture more charitable and positive thoughts in an effort to return to love. Before long you’ll have shifted yourself considerably, to the point where you’ll see reasons to be happy instead of reasons to hate the world. Then, rather than blaming him for a small mistake that you could easily make too, you’ll remember that it is not your barista’s fault that your ex dumped you.

When you choose love—and it’s an actual choice you can make—you’ll see how it can transform your dealings with others and the world. When you love people they’re allowed to be themselves. They can make mistakes, they can occasionally be unfair or unreasonable and all you’ll remember is that sometimes you are those things as well. You’ll be gracious. 694 Relax and Succeed - Look for things to feel good aboutYou’ll be empathetic. You won’t want them to change you’ll just be sorry they feel they should. Without any judgments you can be present with people. And in doing that you will begin to lift them up. By joining people where it hurts we can rise with them to something better. But we must always start from a place of genuine love. We must be willing to be with them even in the heart of darkness.

Patience and trust will lead to wisdom. We should love people for 100% of who they are even though we know there is no way that 100% of them could be a perfect match for us. Each person is an individual so some friction points will always exist. But as long as those are easily outweighed by the intentional feelings of openness and joy then it’s irrelevant. Love is still the way.

Don’t let hate eat your days. Choose to have love infuse them with patience and kindness and joy. It’s up to you.

peace. s

The Thought Suit

You do it almost every day of your life. You don’t have to but you act like you do. It’s just this routine that is so embedded in your being that you don’t even recognize it as a choice. It is the suit of thoughts that you wear through life all day. It’s an idea you have about yourself and you behave as though other people can see your thoughts rather than theirs.

678 Relax and Succeed - It's not an egotistical actMaybe you think you’re fat. Or too old to find true love. Maybe you think you’ll never financially recover. You put those ideas on each morning. You repeat them to yourself. You pull on your pants and remind yourself of your weight. You put on your shirt and think about your broken heart. You check your empty pockets and remind yourself that you are poor. And you pile these ideas onto yourself to the point where the real you is completely obscured by your self-critical thinking.

No one else sees that suit. Did you get that? They don’t see your thoughts. They would see the suit they have for you, which will be totally different than yours because it will feature moments you didn’t know were included, or lies from other parties, or misunderstandings etc. etc. No one really knows anyone. It’s too complex a question because you have to ask, under what circumstances and in precisely what context? So we must either decide people’s spirits are pointed in generally the same direction as ours and then let the rest of the details wash out, or we need to find people who are more aligned with us. But even then, you’ll still need forgiveness just as much as everyone else.

Even if people could see the suit you see for yourself, they wouldn’t notice because virtually all of them are fully invested in worrying about the comparison between the suit they have for themselves and the suit they have for you and everyone else. In short, they’re doing exactly the same thing you are. They are wishing for the life they imagined rather than the one they have, and like you do, they think we see the disparity between their two stories when we’re not even aware they exist. So if you don’t think you’re beautiful, that presumes you know what people think of as beautiful, plus you’re forgetting the enormous impact your 678 Relax and Succeed - Every moment is newpersonality can have on someone’s assessment of your beauty. Everyone’s dated at least one person where, no matter how good looking they were, they were overshadowed by ugly behaviour. You don’t live with beauty, you live with behaviour.

Each day really reconsider the silly futile quality of having that thought suit. Why on Earth would you repeat those ideas to yourself? Why would you put that outfit on every day? Because you know the feeling when you don’t put it on. Those days where you feel smart and sexy and capable. Your good hair days. Well those are created within your own consciousness. You don’t become that person you have to actually be that person. There cannot be wishing. You must act as though it is already true and it will be. It is a leap across nowhere. There is nowhere to fall. Just take it. Take the leap. Believe that you are already great and you will begin to act from a place of greatness. That’s always how it’s worked. I know it’s weird to do but it really does work.

Take your life back. Walk naked through it. Allow people to see the real you. Yes, some won’t like it. But what difference does that make? That’s true now. The point is, the people that really matter to you will never have found you if you hadn’t revealed yourself so honestly. Forget the thought suit. Be a spiritual nudist. Go right past clothing and skin and strip right down to your soul. It’s a wonderfully freeing feeling and it creates stronger bonds than you may have thought possible.

Trust yourself.

Much love. s

Confident Humility

If we lack confidence we cannot be humble. Humility requires us to own both what we can do and what we cannot do. This is the fulcrum that lies between the extremes of over-confident egotism and crippling insecurity—between bold pride and shameful hiding. So the world was 657 Relax and Succeed - By being yourselfnever asking you to be perfect. But it does want you to contribute and you have much more to contribute than you currently imagine.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a street person tortured by an addiction, a worker in a company where you feel tortured by the meaninglessness of your work, if you’re an artist tortured by a creative block or an athlete who is in a torturous slump because you can’t find your groove—each of these states emerges because we have impaired ourselves. As we encounter normal hurdles and challenges and statistically anomalies it is easy to forget that absolutely everyone encounters these times in their life.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in jail, the Dalai Lama had to flee his own country and behind every business and sports success there are countless failures that those people pushed their way through to get to where you chose to notice them. But do not doubt that they too have had their hard times. Times where they felt they could not go on. And during those times we will all be inclined to start using limiting, self-defining language that talks more about what we can’t do that what we can do. And the problem with that is you will be limited by the size of your self-image instead of growing into your much larger natural self. This is a moment by moment action, so it is time you learned to quell the language that 657 Relax and Succeed - One side will make you largershrinks you and live in a way that expands you in a rewarding way. Because the world needs you. You have much to offer. And the world wants it now.

Yes good marriages and space launches and rock concerts and cool jobs seem awesome and worthwhile, but in the end those people’s lives are more like yours than you can imagine. The people who are deemed “successes” in life aren’t smarter than you. At most they’ll prevent self-limiting internal conversations that would undermine their confidence. But they’ll still have their doubts their failures and their giant regrets. Accept those as some of the stones you must step on to cross the river of life. Because to not step on them is to not live at all.

Be kinder to yourself. Invest more time thinking about the daily impact you have. Because on your death bed you won’t be thinking about Michael Jackson or your favourite car or your smartest purchase. You’ll be thinking about the millions of little graces that people showed to you in your life. And it’s often when we’re down and out that those moments happen, so we should always be ready for positive input regardless of our circumstances.

657 Relax and Succeed - You are the finestBe certain: you are a good and meaningful person and the harder parts of your life have only served to increase your sensitivities. Our challenging experiences provide us with a greater ability to respond to situations proactively and with genuine and meaningful empathy. You have strengths that others do not have. And your limiting thinking is exactly that—just thinking. So why is the real you being held back by ropes made of thinking that only exist inside the head of the real you? That’s you. Don’t you get it? Don’t do that to yourself. And don’t stop beating yourself up because it’s bad for you. Stop doing it because it prevents the greatness in you from emerging and the rest of us could really make good use of that greatness. So no more trying not-to-be-bad. Be great instead.

Remember: humility isn’t shyness or hiding your skills. It includes offering yourself, your labour, your mind and your resources toward life—toward moving life forward. Not just yours. But life in general, because the barriers between things only exist in our minds. And so by serving others we serve ourselves. We need only get in touch with the fact that we all have so much to give.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #56

626 OP1 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - Other Perspectives #56

Do you see that if you do something just because someone told you that you couldn’t, that you’ve still let them control your actions? This is why teenagers often come into conflict. A very low percentage of them will be aware of the fact that in their brain’s attempt to feign independence (no happy person is every truly independent), all they are doing is simply the opposite of their parents, teachers, coach whatever. They have no choice but to just choose the opposite because they are too young to have any nuanced references on what all of their choices must even be—and so they start at the only place they can—the opposite of whatever their oh-so-uncool parents would choose. And so if you want to be like the relatively short Martin St. Louis, and win the Most Valuable Player in the series that wins your team the championship, then that’s great because you’re using another person’s opinion to motivate you to achieve a goal that’s yours. But if you’re just doing it because you were told not to then that is what immaturity still looks like. If you want to know just how different the world can be just do some travelling. And if you’re too young for that, just start dating. If you’re in North America you’ll know something’s up as soon as Thanksgiving rolls around and you learn that your date’s Mom puts (or doesn’t put) raisins in the stuffing. Dating is usually the first real comparison we get they helps us understand how individualized the culture in each family actually is. So we don’t want to choose things just because they’re the opposite of what another person would choose, but we do want to become aware of as many of our choices as possible so that we can use all of the wisdom gained by all the world to help you find your way to the source of deep and abiding peace. Have a wonderful week!

peace. s

Note: Everyone who posts or shares a quote does so with the very best of intentions. That said, I have created the series of Other Perspectives blog posts in an effort to prevent some of these ideas from entering into people’s consciousness unchallenged. These quotes range from silly to dangerous and—while I intend no offense to their creators—I do use these rebuttals to help define and delineate the larger message I’m attempting to convey in my own work. I do hope you find them helpful in your pursuit of both psychological and spiritual health.

The Friday Dose #55

620 Relax and Succeed - Use what talentsI’m pretty excited about today’s Dose. This should leave you feeling a lot more passionate about living in a way that truly suits your nature. So how about if we take about 20-30 minutes for some very enjoyable activity and literally come up with a plan to change the world? Okay, let’s start with—where are we now? Even though the crime rate has gone down steadily for about 40 years, all we see on the news is people treating each other terribly. Fraud’s, thefts, violence, murder and even rape. We all see enough of that. Instead, let’s use the best version of ourselves as a starting point. The problem with modern culture is that everyone is forced by their work to be disingenuous. Accountants will proudly state, “I can take a two million dollar profit and make it a four million dollar loss and still meet all the generally accepted rules of accounting.” Fancy words for lie. $4.99 is a lie. It’s five bucks. At a dealership it’s always so hard to get the price of the car! No one’s cooperating. Everything’s faking like these are genuine relationships, with first names and handshakes or even hugs, but this is no tribe that’s grown up together and would die for each other. In our system it’s literally structured based on the fact that each person is motivated fairly strictly by their own needs. So like a telephone, we lie through the numbers or words and other people pretend to listen to us for an entirely artificial conversation. So has anyone fixed that problem yet? This guy’s off to a pretty good start. 🙂

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Okay that was pretty cool. Do you see how already that felt so much better than the duplicitous version where the person or business pretends to be helpful? But that’s all a magician’s trick where it’s just to get you looking the other way so they can pad a charge somewhere. I know people try to stay in that healthy, respectful zone, but our social structures sort of force us into those roles as though we’re in a play and our role is the bad guy. Okay, so how do we become our own director? How do we take a healthy form of control so that we can use that energy in a focused way. Well this guy here has an absolutely beautiful encapsulation of what I do. I will still engage with certain things, but because I want to, not because I can’t control myself. This is brilliant. I really think this is going to add up to something, so think about sharing this page of videos. I really do want to change the world. Okay, so let’s here this young genius:

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Nice! Okay, so now we’re under control so we don’t have to be so hard on ourselves. Now what? Well, if we’re not engaging in much negativity then we’ll have a whack of energy to apply to other things, so how about we think about shaking that cage that makes us act in ways that we don’t feel good about? We have to remember that it’s not really a cage. It’s in our minds. All of these controls are only in our minds. Here’s a pretty inspirational video on breaking out. And I love that this is how farmers and artists and craftsmen live:

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Now that we’ve decided to dismantle what we had in order to build something better, what do we want to build? What are our aims? Well, we all would like to find a way to be in a physical and psychological place where it’s possible for us to really and truly love ourselves and our life. So let’s stop all the problems in the world. Gandhi is a pretty impressive role model, and we all know he said be the change you want to see in the world. Well some people are already modelling that behaviour.

I have some soul-close friends I’ve travelled the world with who attend Burning Man semi-regularly. We’re all planning a big trip with a large group of friends soon, but we need a lot of lead time because we really want to do something smart and spectacular. Because Burning Man isn’t like anything else. Burning Man is the future. And best of all, we can truly be our own uninhibited selves. Imagine if you actually felt so awesome acting in public the same way you only do when you’re dancing in front of your own mirror to your favourite song! True freedom. And you feel great about it because everyone around you is doing it too. And that combination of collective spiritual freedom of the soul is actually the culture of Burning Man.

Your joy and creativity in realizing your true self is what that culture is all about. So let’s change the energy for a minute and I’ll provide a list of videos that collectively will give you a good sense of why the festival is so unique and famous for how it feels. Here’s an overview so that all the super cool stuff will make sense. In many ways it really is the most important part. It’s the framework for the plan to save the world:

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Here’s a video that gives you and idea of what the festival actually looks like. And remember, this 60,000 person city rises up out of nowhere for one week and when everyone leaves you’d never know they were there. The art projects, the fantastic vehicles and the amazing costumes all flow into the culture and spirit and the whole place sort of feels like a church during a wedding—it’s just got such great energy. Consider joining us. We want the city to expand until it includes the entire world.

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And finally here’s a TED talk delivered by a seven year old about her experience at Burning Man. It’s from a seven year old, but at that age she does a fantastic job of capturing the key reasons why people love Burning Man. They also got a lot of great shots of some of the amazing things her and her dad saw. Here’s her talk and pictures:

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So are you with me? Let’s all start by not taking those bombs from people. It’ll take a while to remember to do it, but if you practice you’ll have it down in no time. And it leaves you with way more energy and enthusiasm. So think about how you would revolutionize your life. Even if you never go, actually plan a trip. Maybe even come up with some creative project. The whole point of Burning Man is that you start to actually wholeheartedly participate in your own life.

There’s so many great photographers at Burning Man, and I know I’ve mentioned him a few times before, but a favourite of mine is Trey Ratcliff. No one can sell anything from Burning Man, but Trey has a lot of other amazing work you’re very likely to find spectacular. Enjoy the site. They’re all as good as this but they vary widely so check it out:

TREY RATCLIFF

620 Relax and Succeed - Trey Ratcliff - The Dock in the Desert-X3

I’ll leave you with a link to a great collection of TED Talks about the various aspects of Burning Man. There’s also a great collection of documentaries on YouTube featuring various perspectives on the festival. As you look at them, do not think of those as ideas isolated out in the desert like a sanctuary. Instead take them into your world and breathe life into them with your own being. That would be very Burning Man. 😉

peace. s

PS 😉

Matthew Schoening

THE BURNING MAN GALLERY

peace. s

The Friday Dose is a collection of cool, interesting and surprising things that are chosen for their potential to distract you away from any painful thought loops that may currently be disrupting your sense of perspective. Save these for when you’re feeling low and you want to change your perspective. They’ll help Enjoy. And please let me know if you bump into any broken links. Thanks!

Comprehending Duality

Are you ready? This one’s gonna be pretty deep.

517 Relax and Succeed - Water which is too pure has no fishMy clients pretty much fall into collections of people that have very similar issues they’re struggling with. For instance, people who have a history of being religious—it doesn’t really matter what religion—often come to me in middle age with a combination of dread and confusion.

By then they have lived long enough that they know the world includes all sorts of inhumane, cruel and unjust horrors, and this sits uncomfortably with their belief in a good and all-powerful God. The question is so obvious little kids often ask it: if there’s a God and he is loving then why does He let wars happen? The lack of a satisfying answer can cause people to question their fundamental belief that the world (and their life in it), is worthwhile.

Let’s start off by altering the notion of God. Instead of God being a chess-playing separate being that orders other parts of reality around, let’s just make God be reality itself. So you can’t be away from God. You can’t get lost or separated. Even you are made of God. Everything’s God. That’s how awesome God is. And yes, being infinite, God includes war and pestilence and death and disease. And the reason that’s okay is thanks to duality.

Without duality nothing exists. God can’t be aware there is a God unless there is duality. There must be a decider. Someone or something that does the judging of the other. So if the whole world is dark, then there is no such thing as darkness. Because without something opposite to 517 Relax and Succeed - You can't calm the stormcompare it to, there is nothing to be aware of. Once you have light you can recognize dark. You cannot have heroism without danger. Nor love without indifference, or introverted without extroverted–you can’t even have up without down or hot without cold. Can you see that this fact of reality means that we cannot have the good we desire without accepting the creation of bad?

So what’s the answer that allows us to feel better and still somehow know God? If we accept the facts above—if we cease to argue with them in our head when they’re encountered—then we can know peace. If we accept that a wave needs both the crest and the trough for it to exist, then we can stop arguing with and resisting the world. That frees up more energy that can then be applied to paying more attention to the crest, while still acknowledging the existence of the trough.

To want the trough not to be there, or to spend time wishing it away is futile. Without it we cannot have our precious crest. But it’s not the trough itself that’s hurting you—it’s your thoughts about the trough. If you take the same brain energy and use it to ponder the crest, then you change your life. Boom. That easy. There’s a lightning storm happening inside your head and you direct which direction it goes. If you want to feel better then spend time focusing on your good fortune in the present moment. And if you do the opposite you will feel worse.

517 Relax and Succeed - Some days life is all aboutAccept that duality is necessary before anything can be. Do not rail against aspects of life that are fundamentally necessary to the grand beauty of this world. Accept that with autumn comes spring, and live in the moment you are in without protest. Don’t wish for better times, don’t want for more things, don’t desire a life other than your own. Be fully present and you will realize that your life is just as fantastic and incredible as any other.

You need to know what psychologically unhealthy is before you can choose to be psychologically healthy. It’s not a problem if you’re ever feeling things you don’t like. Just don’t dwell there by fighting against it or feeling it will last. Just accept it and watch for better situations. That is what it is to be wise. That is what it is to know that you have a large amount of control over your mood. Don’t argue with the necessity of suffering. But always watch for reasons to be grateful. For you cannot have one without the other. But you need to be able to see both before you can choose the one you really prefer.

Now go choose yourself an awesome day.

peace. s