What Death Provides

1290 Relax and Succeed -English countrysideChurches in England often look as though they’ve sunken into the landscape. That’s because the buried bodies around them have, for centuries now, biodegraded to create far more earth. So the churches didn’t sink, but rather their parishioners melted back into the nature. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust as they say.

The atoms and molecules that comprise ‘us’ and that carry our consciousness are only ‘us’ temporarily. If we think about that in a certain way we realize that this means we are free. Even the worst of our mistakes will merely melt into obscurity, as they did for the people who surround those churches. This is the grand perspective.

Far from avoiding thoughts of death, troubles are less troubling if we put them in the context of a natural death. Regardless of how much we choose to think about our ‘mistakes,’ they too will fade into larger and larger historical pile, where billions of people’s mistakes are added every single day.

Suicide is unnecessary because clearly we are not alone, and since that’s the case –a natural death generally leaves barely enough time for some really cool experiences so we have to keep having them. If we pay enough attention we’ll notice, when we feel worst is when we’re experiencing the least. So we can be bold about having experiences.

Our egos and ‘lives’ are just bits of ice temporarily floating in a sea of universal water. One day we will all melt back into all that surrounds us. Just like those people in those cemeteries. Who today thinks about those people’s mistakes? Even if they’ve only been gone for hours, most people just want the dead person back because they loved them, ‘mistakes’ and all. That shows us how much mistakes truly count for.

Each of us is preciously unique. Our identities get created when bits of the universe are frozen together by our independent thoughts. That’s why people can change; we can change our thoughts. But when there’s no one to think our problems into existence they cease to exist as our problems and they too melt into some new reality.

The clicking of our ice with other ice is what we call ‘life.’ People can see that as dismissive if they view it the way I don’t mean it. But the way I mean it, the ice is like a wonderful shadow theatre putting on shows for our entertainment and we too are characters. In seeing this for what it is, we gain a stunning reverence for the generousness of the water in allowing the whole thing to happen.

Religious readers may be familiar with that feeling of the water; something huge and powerful and trustworthy at the heart of everything. That’s what allows ‘life’ to happen and it’s everywhere, which is why we can find beauty in everyone and everything. We’re all bits of nature flowing together in the most amazing ways.

1290 Relax and Succeed - When we feel worst is when

The freezing action everyone knows personally as well, because what we freeze is an ego –a collection of perspectives. Our ego is where we tell ourselves the story of our lives. It plays a role in life with others so we don’t want to be rid of it entirely; we have to be someone. We just don’t want to take who we are too seriously and think that we are our thinking.

Remember; our consciousness does the freezing, but it is not the shape that we are left with. Those are only our personal, changeable thoughts. The real us is who thinks them. If we meditate on this enough we’ll fall into a way of being able to actually see life as a less personal dance of water and ice; like beautiful entertainment for our soul.

But imagine if your TV gave you the same level of feeling you get from being in real life? Conscious life is like the ultimate sensovision TV. But unlike TV, living in reality gives us the opportunities to have profound and joyful and awe-filled personal experiences, including painful ones.

Do we sometimes get caught up in our character just like we do in movies with the hero? For sure. But the lights eventually come up and we come to our senses. Those lapses don’t change the fact that pain or joy, it’s all an inconsequential dance that just happens to be profoundly beautiful.

We have to be in a certain place to feel motivated to truly slow down to genuinely contemplate these ideas. But if we do, what we find is that we can live with courage. We can live as ourselves, with the conscious awareness that our successes and failures will both only melt into the past regardless. Our job is to merely be.

If we truly grasp that, it really takes a lot of pressure off of life, and that allows us to be ourselves. We need to surrender into our reality instead of trying to always make it better. We need to slow down and exhale. We need to let go. We need to simply let the universe be, and through our resulting and profound appreciation, we can become one with it.

peace. s

PS This is a two part answer, but it makes the case above quite nicely. It also demonstrates that we can contemplate ourselves into a lifetime filled with life.

 

Pick Your Poison

When we’re looking for change we almost always want major change. We want some big part of our life to be different, or rather to give us cause to feel differently about it. But when talking about the change of all changes, the shift is very subtle and the effect very simple. What is remarkable is how profound such a small change can be.

The other day on the radio I heard a woman talk about a blog she had written under a false identity. The perspective she wrote from was strong and capable and she had a voice. The woman then lamented that she wished she personally could live her life more in alignment with her character than the person she was choosing to be.

Imagine that. She created that person and lived that person’s reality when she wrote the blog, and she could feel the joy associated with that person’s freedom, and yet she would say that she is someone else. She would tell us that she isn’t strong like her character. And someone like me would think that was bizarre. Why suffer being someone you don’t like when you know who it feels truly good to be?

Picking poisons. That’s all it is. We all re-create situations because we have coping skills that emerged from our experiences. We prefer the situations that match our skills and we feel uncomfortable being in ones that don’t match. But being good at being an ego is like being good at punching yourself in the face. You don’t want the life that you know, you want the want the one that feels good to live.

By choosing a life that the blog writer found stifling; one where she surrendered opportunities too quickly and failed to gain her own self-respect, she was doubling down on her lack of belief in herself. And yet there’s the person she wants to be, contained within her, writing to the world every day. If she would be willing to learn that person’s life skills she could step into the life that excites her spirit. But instead she stays safe and misses out.

You’re ego’s right. There will be people that will stop liking you if you change. If someone used to complain with you all the time and you don’t want to complain anymore, they’ll feel like you’ve changed for the worse. But while you lose those people, you find others, because the real matches to you can now see and recognise you for who you really are.

Seek a safe, encouraging, supportive environment with no violence or abuse and then find your nature. Because if fear or control take your ego over, you will live a life that is a thin shadow of an existence. But if if you are willing to accept the consequences of being the person that it feels truly good to be, then you will experience life’s challenges as that strong person. And that is much more rewarding than volunteering to be someone less capable and confident; someone who repetitively suffers through familiar problems.

It’s all just self-identity thoughts. The strong ones don’t use more energy than the weak ones. They’re not harder to  have. So be strong. It’s allowed. The crap was always going to come anyway. If you can’t avoid that then you might as well accept it and be who it’s most enjoyable to be.

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.

The Freedom of Possibility

1006-relax-and-succeed-this-is-just-not-going-to-work-outProvided they haven’t experienced powerful trauma, kids are naturally very skillful at enjoying life. In the healthiest situations they are excited by their fears; they want to stay up and hear the scary campfire story that will keep them up all night terrified. They believe they can do anything. And every experience is met with wonder. And they grow and grow and grow.

You don’t limit yourself to the expected when you’re a kid. You see more possibility. And we could argue that those odds are long, and yet it is also true that even long odds are ultimately true sometimes. So you can live in a boring world where houses get boarded up because people die, or you can live where kids live; where houses are boarded up because they’re haunted. Waves are sea serpents, basements contain boogeymen, and all meteor’s are spaceships. When we’re young we go into every situation anticipating adventure.

As we age repetitive experiences limit our imagination. If we’re abused long enough we’ll start to actually seek out abuse because that’s all we can fit into our highly limited imagination. And yet our child-mind is still alive within us. We still maintain the ability to see things another way.

1006-relax-and-succeed-the-idea-is-to-die-youngThink of the people you know. The freest ones are the ones who are willing to offer the craziest solutions. They just never say die. There’s always good news somewhere and they’re just as pleased to search for it as find it. Other friends see gloom and doom at every corner. They see the worst in others. They see lots of limits, lots of reasons that things can’t happen.

If you don’t believe something’s possible you won’t take the steps to see that thing happen in your life. If you think you’ll never have friends because everyone hates you, then you’ll never have friends because you never met anyone–because you guessed they’d all hate you when only some of them would. But even they would only hate you out of confusion.

Your friends wouldn’t love you more than your enemies, they would just see you more clearly. So even friendship is a childlike thing that we do less of as we age. When we’re young we’re more prepared to assume someone might be the source of good experiences but by the time we’re older we just sit in judgment all the time and then wonder why we don’t have more fun.

1006-relax-and-succeed-the-soul-is-healed-by-being-with-childrenYour life is a set of beliefs about things you think can’t happen or have to happen, but those beliefs are not the actual world they’re just your idea of it. People’s lives change every day, but in most cases it was because they actually began doing something different. The different thing you can do is truly monitor your judgments about things and find your own limits within those judgments. Again: those limitations are not the world, those are ideas you have and they prevent you from experiencing all that life has to offer. Be more childlike.

Study your own limits. Ask yourself how you’ve actually changed since you were a child. What things did you think were possible that you talked yourself out of? Open yourself up to more possibility. Imagine a life bigger than the current you could ever deserve. You can have something bigger than that. People certainly call Elon Musk’s dreams crazy but does he care? He doesn’t have the time/thought-space to think about their judgments: he’s too busy building a spaceship!

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.

Decision-making Simplified

If you’re looking to live a peaceful life then a principled life provides the greatest levels of consistency and the most positive results overall. Yes, statistically the principled life can mean prices can be high, but the reward is the calm equanimity of a life with a peace of mind. So how do these principles work?

654 Relax and Succeed - How you do anythingKeep in mind, this isn’t me reading a dictionary to you. This is my definition based on my understanding of how the human mind is wired up. A principle is like a conceptual limit. Anything outside of it would exist outside your definition of yourself. So if you don’t believe in murder, then imagining yourself killing someone would be highly unpleasant because the thought would conflict directly with your principles.

If you claimed to hold the principles stated above, then killing someone for money would be to sell your character. Because that deal means you’ll be forced to function outside the framework of the principles you claimed to have. As soon as you’re outside that line you’re behaviour lacks character and you are a wild card for the rest of the world and for yourself. A great deal of energy is expended in being this way because each experience becomes strictly an emotional outcome rather than the larger philosophical growth opportunity it could be. Because if we take enough of those growth opportunities and we add them together we eventually end up at wisdom. So if you’re operating from a basis of principles you can climb quite high in life. But if you’re only using your daily opinion then 20 years of experience gets turned into the same year re-done 20 times.

654 Relax and Succeed - The more you love your decisionsThe reason wisdom is important is because our mood—our thought chemistry—can drastically impact how we’ll react to any given circumstance. Something that seemed reasonable 10 minutes ago can suddenly seem horrifying, or insane and the opposite’s true too. So we can’t be making decisions based only on how we feel, especially during a pique of emotion. Even the Dalai Lama will admit to having a temper. So we need something to filter out the kinds of errors we’ll make when we’re overly emotional: enter principles.

These are like pre-decided conceptual ideas. If you claim to value human life then you are in principle against murder. That means that when you get asked whether or not the government should be able to use the death penalty you know the answer must be no because yes would exist outside of your principles. Likewise, if you value human dignity then you would in principle want people to be treated with respect. And that would mean you that you absolutely would not take advantage of a date who was under any kind of influence. To the contrary you would protect them.

You can’t buy character. You pay for character. If you believe people should be treated equally, then character dictates that if you work for a CEO that lays off a bunch of low level employees and then he applies their salaries to the bottom line to boost executive bonuses, then you have to quit or figure out what charity you’re going to give that money to. Because spending it would be to allow one group to take advantage over another, and if you truly believe in everyone being treated equally then you know the 654 Relax and Succeed - The ultimate measure of a manmoney was obtained through unprincipled means and you have to find some reasonable way to get yourself back on-side with your principles.

If this sounds expensive sometimes it really is. But do not underestimate how much easier it makes life. Because when you see tortured people trying to make the “right” decision in some tense or difficult situation, you can just calmly look at it and know what the mathematics of your principles would dictate and your answer would be spit out by your pre-determined belief structure, rather than your current brain chemistry. That often leads to much better long term outcomes, and the nature of it means that you’ll do less actual thinking than the people who are trying to feel what the right thing to do is, rather than calculate it based on their carefully chosen principles.

Take the pressure off yourself. Set your principles and then live by them. You’ll be surprised at how good you feel when you pay a price to live up to them. It’s only then that you realize that most of the heroes in the movies and books and shows of your life have all been the one who exercised strong principles—even if you didn’t always agree with their values. But in the end, the closest thing anyone can consistently be is the decisions that emerge from their character. Their thoughts will change, their cells will change, but only by experience and by choice will their decision-making change.

Figure out where your lines in the sand are. What are your absolutes? Build yourself a framework of principles and then spend some time living with them. They’re trickier than you first realize if you’re serious about it. But after you fall into the habit they make a wonderful decision-making tool.

Here’s to easier decisions that are more in alignment with our values and which should therefore create more peace of mind and the opportunity to more deeply enjoy the very act of living. I wish you the very best.

peace, s

A Room Full of Toys

What’s the advantage of a should-have-been-dead accident when you’re five years old? It teaches you very clearly that any human being can die on any day. Any of us can watch the news and see that half the world struggles with even surviving basic hunger. And even if you’re lucky enough to be born or move to the 1st World, you’re still human. Cars, diseases, work-place accidents—people die every single day. But that’s not depressing. It’s exactly the opposite. If you’re really paying attention, that’s actually invigorating.

649 Relax and Succeed - How are you investingIf you watch people closely you will see that the majority of you are remarkably timid about your own lives. Even though you’ll be a capable adult, you’ll still be afraid to be the first person to put your hand up to ask a question at work or in school. You’ll routinely see people standing a long distance away from the line up here sign as though being front and centre and next-in-line is somehow too big a stage for their insecure selves. People will speak so softly and timidly that you routinely can’t even hear them, which only forces them to repeat themselves over and over, which frustrates the listener and only further adds to the speaker’s fears.

You’re not a vampire. You are not immortal. And as Bram Stoker pointed out, the agony of being a vampire is the absence of mortality. Because if you cannot die you cannot truly live. Because unless life is precious it’s much like kids with swimming pools—they only swim when someone who values a pool is visiting. Whether it’s diamonds, gold, Ferrari’s, Faberge Eggs, or time, anything that’s limited in supply will have its value increased. But you’re not investing your time in joy. You’re not going on that big trip or starting that new business or quitting that lousy job because you’re afraid. You spend all of your time calculating the downsides and too little thinking about what you might accomplish and how you might grow. You’re too worried about what others think to really dive into life and live it large.

649 Relax and Succeed - It is not how much we haveYou know people who do live deeply. Everyone knows at least one. Someone who’s bold and excited by their life. Someone who says yes a lot. These people are quick to volunteer. You can actually hear them sing the anthem at sports events. They’ll karaoke, they’ll wear outrageous Halloween costumes. They’ll have had a kid and still wear their bikini to the beach even though they have a C-section scar. But these people aren’t any better than you. They just understand one simple idea.

Imagine that everyone you know is represented by four other people. Now imagine life is a room filled with 500 fantastic toys in it. These toys are metaphors. Some are objects like clothes or houses, but some are also capabilities like job skills or personality strengths. And now imagine that your lifetime is represented by the fact that you only get eight hours to play in that room and then you’ll will be locked out forever. So one lifetime equals five kids, 500 toys and eight toy-room hours.

Inside the room twenty of the 500 toys are broken. So you when you enter you have the option to have a ton of fun playing with 480 toys for eight full hours! But you know what most of you do? Out of 480 other choices, you will notice that people are judging the toys and then collecting the ones that they deem the most valuable. So soon virtually no kids are playing because every kid is too busy grabbing toys and placing them in boxes with their names on them. If you’re aware of it you’ll notice that they spend a lot of time keeping an eye on their boxes so that no one else steals the toys they’ve already collected. This is why adults surrender fun time to meet with security companies.

As they’re busy collecting the kids will periodically stop to compare their boxes. The kids with the best toys will be described as successful but if you were watching closely they will have spent the most time 649 Relax and Succeed  - Are you trading the hours of your lifecollecting and protecting their toys rather than playing with them. And they’ll be further convinced that ownership is better than experience because most of the other kids will gather around the closed boxes and they’ll sacrifice experiences with their own toys in order to worship or want what’s inside the better collector’s box.

Of course the kids also stumble upon some of the twenty broken toys. They want to own as many toys as possible so that they win the contest, but before they can show the broken toys (traits, abilities etc.) to anyone they feel they need to repair the damage. So as with “personal faults” the problem with this is that if people believe that they will be judged for having a broken toy then they will invest far too much time attempting to hide and repair it before anyone notices. Do you realize what this means for your lifetime? So for your short eight hours of time to play you will spend most of it hoarding, hiding and fixing your toys, but you’ll spend surprisingly little time in actually playing with them. And then there’s people like a small percentage of us.

We come in the room and we start playing right away. We grab a toy and we play with it. It naturally leads us to another toy and we play with that. If someone takes it we’ll just grab a different one and keep playing. We don’t see the room as a competition. It’s an open opportunity to play. So while others are busy hoarding, hiding and repairing their toys, we just play. And if we 649 Relax and Succeed - The happiest of peopledo run into a damaged toy we just set it aside and move on to the next toy. Indeed, by the end of the eight hours we’re the only kids who have the potential to have a box filled with the broken toys.

The other kids will obviously have a few broken toys in their box too, but they’ll invest a lot of time hiding those, and even more time in collecting the good toys to distract you. But me? I had that bad accident when I was young, so I remember that I’m just going to get kicked out of the room anyway, so I don’t really care what broken toys are in my toy box. I don’t really care what the other kids think of my toys or what my tally of toys was compared to theirs. We all leave the room. Ownership is essentially meaningless. Like the Pharaoh’s wealth it’ll just be entombed in a room anyway. I’d rather be exhausted from all of the playing I did than be exhausted from building a big vault.

Stop wasting your valuable life trying to get the most coveted toys in your box. There are no windows into the room so whoever built the room is definitely not studying you to judge whether you won or lost, or whether you were deserving or not. The room is merely an opportunity for you to exercise your ability to choose this toy or that. There’s no right toys to get. No one gets to keep anything. In the end when the buzzer sounds and the door opens back up and we leave the room, that’s when most kids realize they never really did play much. Don’t be those kids. Don’t squander your life trying to fix your 649 Relax and Succeed - You don't have to live foreverproblems or hoard all the toys. Play instead. Because in the end the kid that won the game was the one that did the most playing. Yes, they had to accept that their box had some broken toys in it. But what does that matter in the face of having had so much more fun?

Stop being so timid. Stop worrying about being judged for the toys you have or don’t have. Just play with them. You only have eight hours. You’ll be amazed at how fast it goes by. So if you want the time you have to feel long, then the best thing you can do is play a lot. Because in the end life is a verb. So the real winner isn’t the person with the fewest broken toys, or the person who has the most or best toys, the real winner is the person who spent the most time playing. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to play. 😉

peace. s

Addictive Behaviour

Through my years of practice I’ve had numerous addicts express the same curious concept to me: their addiction had a limit. Now not all addicts have the same limits, so while one person might be able to do one thing, another could do something else. So, for instance, one alcoholic couldn’t stay sober unless there was an event important to her daughter, yet in another case531 Relax and Succeed - And once the storm is over another alcoholic couldn’t stay sober even for a wedding, and yet they could if they were going to church.

There’s all sorts of forms of these limits. Crack users that stopped at needles even though they fully believed the next high would be even better. Or people who will crave painkillers but they won’t touch the one that killed their mother even if they’re jonesing. People that think they can’t control their eating and yet all day long they control their eating by making choices. I’ll give you a great example of that last one.

I like to travel by mixing with the locals and trekking etc. I think I’ve tried everything else except a cruise. I was once on a bus trip (that will seem so strange to my friends) in Europe. We arrived at a hotel where we picked up some other Canadians who had just landed late the night before. I was seated behind a woman who could be fairly described as obese. She got on the bus with a very large purse/bag, and in it she had an assortment of snacks like chips and cheezies and candies, and she shot through them very quickly.

Throughout the drive the woman was telling her seatmate all about her various attempts to lose weight. Each time she said she just did not have the will-power necessary to succeed. Keep that statement in mind for later in the trip when she’s run out of cheezies. Because as an inexperienced traveler she was shocked not to see all the brands and items she would expect to see at home. Everything looked different. She was fickle and she curled her nose in distaste. No. No, none of this will do. She’ll eat at the next stop.

531 Relax and Succeed - Believe in the powerThat happened stop after stop. She would go in, not recognize any of the packages for the foods that she ate, she would turn up her nose and she would leave without eating. There were other foods she recognized—like many chocolate bars—but she didn’t like those. She was craving a bag of Old Dutch chips or Hawkins Cheezies but they—especially way back then—didn’t have anything like that in Europe. They had their local brands. And so she went all day without eating. Not because there wasn’t crisps or chips or whatever. And not because there wasn’t chocolate in various forms and shapes. She didn’t because her thoughts told her not to. Her thoughts told her that those other foods weren’t foods because she didn’t like them. And so she does have will-power against food. She just doesn’t have it when it comes to her own thinking.

The simple fact is, that woman was hungry and there was food all over the place and yet she stopped herself by simply telling herself a story that there was no food she would accept. Because if she stayed in Europe long enough, eventually she’d get hungry enough and she would try some new things and she would eventually develop new favourites and then she would have the same problem she has now, only with European foods. The point is, on that bus trip her barriers to those foods are were made purely of thought. She didn’t believe those were foods for her so they weren’t. And until she changed that belief, turning those foods down was easy for her.

531 Relax and Succeed - Try notIf you’re battling an addiction you’re not really battling the substance or behaviour. You’re battling your thoughts about it. You see yourself as an addict and everything is weighed against that. That identity holds you back. Instead be no one. Study your thinking. Study your addictions and your restraints closely. Get to know them so well that you can see that they are subtle forms of the same idea. Your thoughts will lose power and control over you, and you will be able to exercise more volition over what you do with your time on this Earth.

Thinking you have no control is having no control. Knowing that you are capable of control means that it is simply a matter of enactment. Turn your wisdom into a verb. As Yoda said, “Do or not do. There is no try.” You don’t try to quit an addiction. You simply no longer see it as yours. Change who you think you are and a different life will seem more appropriate for you to live. Enjoy.

peace. s

Psychological Burnout

I’m working as a youth counsellor and I love my job. I love helping. I love it when people do great. But when they fail it kills me. I want to keep the parts of my job I like. But I can’t sleep for weeks any time one of them ends back up addicted or committing crimes. This is killing me. Do you get burned out working with your clients? And if you don’t how come you don’t?

signed,
Wick’s End

Dear Counsellor,

If you’re a counsellor and you’re willing to ask your question then I know that we don’t have to worry about you lacking humility, and that’s important. We cannot learn something unless we begin with 340 Relax and Succeed - When we are no longer ablenot-knowing.

I’d like to start by thanking you for the compassion, sincerity and dedication you appear to put into your work. These are professions that attract caring people but it’s always nice to see people getting their oar dipped into the public pond. There are many souls starved of love and we need all the angels we can find. Also, with you being a caring person I can appreciate why you would find it painful when your clients are suffering. The world is fortunate to have you working within it.

Now, to answer your question: no, I don’t really get burned out. Can I book too many sessions and tire myself out physically? Yes. But other than that do I ever get tired of discussing the Truth? Not really. Because it’s a fascinating subject and everyone uncovers it in their own unique way. I don’t sit around talking about people’s problems. I’m sure I wouldn’t enjoy that. I can listen to their problems long enough to learn enough to be able to do my thing, but I don’t want anything close to the majority of our time together to be focused on unpleasant things. You can’t get peaceful by feeling not-peaceful. My sessions are usually fun. They’re like treasure hunts.

When it comes to your practice, what you have to get is clear. You have to truly and profoundly understand that you are not there to save anyone. That is to misunderstand your role. You cannot get attached to outcomes. You can’t imagine futures where it’s all worked out for everyone. Because you don’t have control over them. All you can do is communicate with them. And you can only function in the now. And in this moment you either love someone or not. You either help them or not. You either judge them or not. There is nothing else.

Imagine that your patients are like peaches growing on a tree. You value all of them equally, but some are harder to reach than others. Even with the ladder of your education helping, you are still unable to reach some of them. You can make yourself sad wishing you had a longer ladder or a shorter peach tree , or you can be happy you’re able to save all that you are. And remember that while yes, the others will eventually 340 Relax and Succeed - Lighthouses don't go runningface the cold and they will wither and fall and bruise on the ground, that too is the natural order of things. Because it is those lost and forgotten peaches that dissolve and disappear into the landscape only to later emerge as seeds and soil for a new generation of family trees.

Don’t get caught up in results. Don’t build castles in the sky you can’t live in. Just live the moment you’re in. Do the loving, caring, compassionate thing and leave the rest to the universe. Because your clients lives are their own, not yours. Just as your happiness comes from your choices theirs comes from their choices. You can love them and educate them but you do not choose their thoughts for them. So keep it all in perspective.

Enjoy loving them and anyone like them for as long as you’re able. And revel in your successes. But there are no failures. There are only those that were too far to reach.

peace s

The Barriers of Belief

234 Relax and Succeed - The are no seven wonders
You have a bunch of lines in your head and they prevent you from appreciating how amazing the act of being truly is. Ideas like responsibilities, rules, status, obligations, and problems prevent us from engaging with the incredible world around us. Because we are so busy in our heads, we are tone deaf to the music that exists everywhere.

Children’s brains are wide open. There is zero judgment at the start. Slowly, preferences are constructed via experience. They establish ideas like permanence, possession, and expectation. This is why kids will often calm with a parent after fussing for even the nicest stranger.

Over time kids are taught a set of beliefs either directly or through subconscious exposure. This includes everything from the languages we know, to 10’s based math, to the concepts of north, legal, correct and border. People then then apply those thought-judgments to all kinds of situations and in doing so they then cut themselves off from potential responses that they feel are outside their identity; outside their belief system.

This all means that people’s egocentric reactions are dictated by their identity, which is nothing more than a rigid sculpture created by whatever remains after everything that is outside the belief system gets removed. You don’t build a healthy identity by avoiding what you’re not. You become all that you are by advancing the things that are important to you.

If you do anything that’s physically or intellectually stimulating and enriching and yet requires real effort, then make that your work. Move not between the barriers of certainty and predictability and instead move toward heart, passion and love. Either love what you do, or love those you do it with. The rest is slavery.

Meditate on your beliefs. What ideas do you have that limit you? When you listen to the radio and a news story comes on and you react to it, who is reacting? What is it you care about and where did that sensitivity come from? Know yourself. Be aware of your limiting ideas so that you can dismiss those borders as you reach them. Open up your eyes, your ears, your hands, your nose and your mouth to the universe. Sing, dance, laugh, cuddle, play, make love.

234 Relax and Succeed - Wise men hear and see

We spend half our life trying to build a successful identity. If we’re awake, what we learn from those life experiences is that we should spend the second-half of life shedding that identity. With fewer opinions come fewer conflicts. With fewer beliefs comes increased freedom.

If you function knowing that the world is already perfect in its unfolding then there is nothing to fix or accomplish. We are here to explore and uncover the mysteries of the universe and creation. So the next time you’re outside in the summertime, kneel down and watch some bugs. You might just find that the healthy open child is still alive inside you, and that all you had to do was slow down enough to see again.

The fences and borders you’re crossing are only brought alive by you thinking them into existence. Do not be limited by your beliefs. Do not look for the right team, or idea, or party, or concept. Shed all of that for love. Trust love. The Greeks had a lot of different words for all of the different manifestations of it. Move toward any of those and you can be assured that you are in fact, being healthy. And that is the only kind of success that’s really worth believing in.

Have a wonderful day.

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.