The Right Time

957 Relax and Succeed - Some pursue happinessWhen considering financial decisions, jobs, education, relationships, hobbies, friends, etc. etc., if you have a lot invested, when do you bail on something? When do you surrender, give up, change direction or grab something new? Your mind can whirl for aeons on a question like that and get nowhere because you don’t solve a thinking problem with more thinking.

Do you see how your rational ego searches for a rational solution? You want a pro and con column to add up to a negative number so you can tell yourself a story later about how careful you were before you made the decision. You want to be sure. You want to be confident. You’re a good person and you don’t want to do the wrong thing. Your problem is that confidence does not come from knowing you’re right and the idea of being wrong lives only within your thinking.

Confidence is a natural state. A little kid will swing a bat or kick a ball or any other thing quite poorly and yet still feel confident because that just means that they’re doing what they’re doing without self-talk interference. Insecurity is a thought-induced state. Confident people aren’t saying anything to themselves. They’re just being in the moment. I can assure you, we’re not internally going, “Oh yeah, I know what I’m doing, I’ve got this. I am totally good enough to pull this off easily,” Those are the words of someone insecure trying to bolster themselves with words. Confident people aren’t certain about success, they’re just ready to proceed.

957 Relax and Succeed - Only the truth that is your ownRight and wrong are also value judgments. If a little kid does something and a parent notices the difference between how the kid did it and how a pro would do it, then they’ll teach them the language of wrongness and that’s how they’ll talk to themselves in their heads even after their parents are long gone. They’ll always notice what’s missing.

A parent that notices what the kid did well, or if they just show enthusiasm without specifics, then that child can develop securely, certain that the parent’s support isn’t connected to external achievements but rather to the actual child. You shouldn’t love what your kid does, you should love your kid.

So how’s this help with decisions? Do we really think humans never made a decision prior to language? We needed language to turn right or left on a path? No, you could just have a sense of knowing and then go. We do it all the time but we never give it value because we can’t turn it into words and share it with others. It is an entirely personal, internal experience. So it absolutely is possible to know things without being able to explain how. Explain how you love seafood. Explain your love for your pet. Explain red.

957 Relax and Succeed - Don't cling to a mistakeJust live. Trust yourself. When it’s time for you to stay or go, trust me you’ll know. Because all the words do is define a range of time. You’re thinking about leaving your job for a year and then suddenly you leave. It’s not like you finished thinking. It’s not like you came to a conclusion to some calculation and then told them immediately. You still had to feel the time was right. So why do all the thinking if you’re just going to get that feeling and act on that anyway?

Even if we later feel we left early or late, that’s just another person’s judgment in another time. That’s literally the person that benefited from the wisdom of the decision looking back and wondering why the person who didn’t have that wisdom didn’t make that decision. It’s crazy. You weren’t that person yet. The decision is what created that person. So that decision wasn’t right or wrong, it was just appropriate for who you were at the time.

If you want to hold on to something too long or let it go too soon, just overthink it. That’s the only way to screw that up. Because right and wrong, good and bad and should or shouldn’t all live in thought but not in reality. Reality has actions and consequences and that’s it. You’re always fine. The rest is just a story you tell about yourself, to yourself.

957 Relax and Succeed - Your journey has molded youGo quieter. Look less for answers and instead wait for spontaneous insights. You get them all the time, but the thinking of science has convinced you that spontaneous insights have no current scientific explanation, so they–you–must not be trusted. Better to trust an abstract scale outside of yourself that is not built for you, but for your entire society. You are you. You will know what’s right for you personally if you just stay quiet inside and wait.

The issue is, we’re not good at being internally quiet and waiting. And so people think. And they get impatient for answers. And so the suffering goes. In the end you’re still not lost. At any time you can reconnect to your wisdom and access that higher knowing, and those connections will come from simply being quiet enough for long enough that you’ll actually be able to hear the voice coming from the confident soul you always were as a very little kid.

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.

Losing Our Spark

Winner: Scott’s Favourite Questions of 2014 #1

I love my husband. I really do. And I 100% believe he loves me. But 90% of our exchanges are criticizing each other and complaining. Hardly any of our contact is enjoyable anymore and a lot of it is pretty negative. We can tell that we’re going to start hating each other and we already feel like our marriage/lives went the wrong directions. We’re lost but what do we do?

Missing Spark

Dear Missing,

You know why it’s hit-and-miss getting these ideas through to people? Because they read what I write, or listen to what I say, and they assume that what I’m talking about is loftier and more complicated than the actual truth. Little kids can do this. It doesn’t require adding anything to 392 Relax and Succeed - Who looks outsideyou. You have to subtract “You” until all that you’re left with is clarity. When our ego’s out of the way and we can see things clearly, having positive relations with others is much, much easier.

You simply have to accept one idea: that reality is not out there, but instead that it is in here. You don’t experience the world. You experience your thoughts about the world. Unless you practice watching for it, for most people it’s subconscious. Their focus is not on watching their ego, it’s on being their ego. Most people have no awareness of the thinker Their life is a stream of thoughts, but they never wonder who’s thinking them. That’s the advantage my accident gave me. It made me wonder about thoughts and who was thinking them. I was an accidental Buddhist by five.

So reality isn’t what’s happening, it’s what your thoughts are. You will feel what you think. So most couples think uncharitable thoughts about one another and so they get the feelings that go with the thoughts. The problem is when they assign the blame for those feelings on the person they are thinking about. That’s ridiculous and it will get you nowhere fast. No one is reaching inside your head and squeezing your hypothalamus. It’s not their fault that you’re thinking what you are. That’s your choice, 100%. And even though that right there is the secret to your eternal freedom, no one wants to grab it because it seems like a huge responsibility rather than what it really is: a huge opportunity.

392 Relax and Succeed - What is loveSo here’s how it is in a relationship: Most couples don’t get along simply because they make one simple choice: they focus their consciousness on their judgmental thoughts about the behaviour of their partner (past, present or even future), rather than focusing it on how awesome any human being is, let alone the one in seven billion they chose to marry. In short, if they’re that bad leave them. But I’d think about that carefully. Because you also have to start asking yourself how appealing you are. Because the divorce rate for second marriages is higher than for first ones, so clearly a lot of people didn’t feel they traded up. Yes, if it’s painful in any way, leave. But if you’re just suffering over opinions and old events, then that’s a silly reason to end an otherwise good marriage and/or breakup a family.

You wrote that you genuinely love your spouse and you believe he genuinely loves you. Can you see that the onlyAND I MEAN ONLY—thing that’s standing in your way is a veil of thought? You have stopped paying attention to (aka focusing your consciousness on), the qualities of the person in front you. There were actual reasons you got married. Most of those reasons will still be true. You just started quietly taking them for granted, which is another way of saying that you just don’t stop to think about the value in those qualities anymore. You assume they’ll be there so they’re invisible. Until you 392 Relax and Succeed - I don't know a perfect personstart dating. And then you realize all kinds of qualities that your current partner has that you’ve become blind to….

People naturally love each other. It is only our personal thoughts that build the narratives that create the sense of separation people feel from others. If you were going to break that spiritual bond, it’s most likely that your first peek into enlightenment would come from seeing your spouse in the way that Mother Teresa saw Jesus in every leper. That way you don’t have to improve your marriage, instead you can become clear-headed and realize that the only difficulties you have with people are thought-based, self-created, conflicting narratives with very emotional outcomes. Egos are forever intersecting with other egos. There’s no peace in that. Better that we quiet our minds and notice the incredible, stunning beauty of every single aspect of this magnificent universe—your spouse included.

It’s easier than you think. Keep a quiet mind. Smile. Hug. Do fun things. Notice each other. You’re good people. The rest will happen naturally.

peace. s