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

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Provided 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.

We don’t limit ourselves to the expected when we’re a kid. Those expectations haven’t been reinforced enough yet, so we see more possibility at those ages. This is natural.

As we age we could argue that the odds of the unexpected happening are long, and yet it is also true that even long odds are ultimately true sometimes, so the kids always have the chance that they’re right.

We can live in a boring adult world where the boarded-up houses we walk by are presumed to be the result of a death or bankruptcy, or we 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. And doing so, we find more of them.

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. We start to think that’s how life is, rather than how we allowed it to be. Yet still, our child-mind is still alive within us. We still maintain the ability to see things another way.

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Think 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. Which group feels like they actually contribute to making the world better? The dark truth-tellers, or the excited and creative?

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

In the deepest spiritual sense, our friends wouldn’t love us more than our enemies, they would just see us more clearly. It’s their thoughts about the other people that make them their enemy. But kids don’t judge that much.

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. We disregard more and more kinds of people unlike us, and then we wonder why we don’t have more fun.

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Our life is a set of beliefs about things we think can’t happen or have to happen, but those beliefs are not the actual world they’re just our idea of it.

People’s lives change every day, but in most cases it’s when we actually begin to do things differently. The first different thing we can do is truly monitor our judgments about things and find our own limits within those judgments. Again: those limitations are not the world, those are ideas we have and they prevent us from experiencing all that life has to offer. We will all be healthier if we’re more childlike.

It’s a worthy thing to study the fabric of own limits. We need to ask ourselves, how have we actually changed since we were children? What things did we think were possible that we’ve talked ourselves out of since?

We benefit from being open to more possibility. There is nothing wrong with imagining a life bigger than our current ego would allow us to ever feel we deserved. That is the only place those lives come from, the rest of people were held back by their own self-imposed limits.

We can have something bigger. For whatever ‘faults’ he may have, people call Elon Musk’s dreams crazy, but does he care? He doesn’t have the time or thought-space available to waste time thinking about other people’s judgments: he’s too busy building a spaceship! And if his lack of limits can get him to Mars, where can ours get us?

peace. s