1263 Relax and Succeed - Simply be it's a mindful activityMake no mistake, as inactive as it it might seem, it is an entirely serious psychological and spiritual practice to simply be. Today the lesson is no lesson. Today we practice the idea of understanding. You always were perfect and always have been. Try actually living like that’s true just for the day, even if there’s a part of you that has trouble believing it. Just for the exercise, try it.

Today your job is to be clear. Allow all you encounter to pass through you, only offering your own input when it is absolutely necessary, but avoid the tug and pull of unconscious habit. Do not think, avoid opinions, keep your mind silent. Today, only respond to what is necessary to respond to, and spend as much as your day as possible in a pure state of being.

It isn’t easy at first, but it is natural, so practicing is easily worth it. Free yourself. Put all of your attention on it. 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 Friday Dose #134: Your Mind Your Body

1043-fd-relax-and-succeed-90-of-your-bodyYou could do the experiment without risk anyway, but most of you have waited until science caught up before you would even consider that maybe your mind could impact your body. You are starting to accept that our attitude about healing could actually impact our physical healing, etc. How you think you feel has a lot to do with how you actually feel. This is a large part of a shaman’s power.

I’ve put them in previous Friday Dose’s: people whose behaviour defies science. Some stop themselves from freezing, others generate large amounts of heat, some demonstrate bizarre strength or unusual healing. Physical feats are done regularly today that were believed impossible only a few years ago. There’s a hospital in France that doesn’t use anaesthetic for operations; it’s all hypnosis; it’s all in the mind.

Placebos are likewise. There’s no company pouring money into research and who knows, maybe even some money preventing it. Even our health is a threat to someone’s market if they make money off us being sick. But that doesn’t mean placebos don’t point to a general impact your mind can make on your body. You’re a giant system. Start living like that’s what you are and you will begin discovering strengths within yourself that begin in your imagination.

Dr. Michael Tétreault Discusses The Placebo Effect

You’re stronger than you currently think. It’s time you accepted the idea that you too can be a peaceful, powerful person. Tune your mind. It’s yours and it’s remarkable.

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 organisations locally and around the world.

Mood Music

I think this metaphor will really stick and be effective for a lot of readers.742 Relax and Succeed - You are wise

Lots of people will charge themselves up for a workout with music. They’ll plug in their earbuds and play their era’s version of Eye of the Tiger. The associations your brain makes to that music lead you to react chemically, which in turn gets you physically aroused and you feel stronger. You can choose music to stir an emotion but that system works both ways. That’s why Rene Zellweger is playing All By Myself at the start of Bridget Jones Diary. We can musically incite emotions or, emotions can incite our musical choices.

So if you’ve loaded some angry music up on your player it’s to match your tone. And that  holds for whether you feel happy, energetic, tired or contemplative. That’s why Songza is divided up by mood. So people are already sound-tracking their lives. And more and more that’s what they’re doing. They’re not listening to music as many will argue. They have morphed into sound-tracking their thoughts.

In a previous blog I mentioned a test where I pulled out a bunch of people’s earbuds as an experiment and I asked them each what they hearing. Shockingly few had any idea what song they were just listening to. They were lost in thought. So we gotta get you un-lost. That way you can enjoy life more fully by living it more consciously and deeply.

742 Relax and Succeed - How does one becomeThink of your emotions like you would think of listening to your song choice. You choose them from playlists of possible thoughts that fit into various genres. So you have happy songs or sad songs or angry songs or victim songs or worry songs or blame songs and you go through your day and you keep choosing a song for the current moment. You either say it to yourself or you say it to other people but unless you’ve practiced being internally quiet and open, you always have something playing on your emotional tuner. It’s only a matter of whether or not you’re aware of what kind of song you chose.

Fortunately you have the perfect feedback mechanism: you can check in with how you feel. Make that simple thing a habit: every 15 minutes check in with how you feel. Know that you chose that playlist out of countless. Yes, your boss or lover or whoever might have highlighted some tracks they strongly suggested you play, but that was then this is now. You’re an adult. You can run with scissors. You get to be truly powerful as a person when you know that the choice is always yours despite whatever apparent pressures appear to exist.742 Relax and Succeed - Be okay with where you are

Whether you pay attention to it or not you’re listening to music all day. You feel emotions all day. Stop putting more time into your musical choices than you do your emotional ones. Because you can blame others for how you feel. You can blame a situation, a diagnosis, a parent, a disease or any other thing and that’s fine for a time. But eventually you have to explain Stephen Hawking. You can use your personal thinking to crush yourself out of existence or you can expand yourself to the ends of the universe. The choice is yours.

You are the universe’s HP3 Player. The Human Potential Player. You sit in potentiality, with the world suggesting a song and you choosing one, the world suggesting one and you choosing one. And you cycle through life like that one moment, one song, one feeling at a time. You never have to worry about the future because you have all of those choices in between. And you can forget the past because those are songs already played. The band cannot take them back once they have graced your ears. You can play the same song again, but you can never hear it again for the first time.

If you pick some angry or sad music every now and then there is nothing wrong with that. But don’t dwell unnecessarily for too long in any emotional state you’re not finding genuinely rewarding. To surrender that choice is to deny the legitimacy of your own music, your own song. And that’s a big deal. Because the universe created you with no other purpose than to sing it. So go sing. Confidently and aware of your choices. You are loved.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #66

676 OP Relax and Succeed - Life heart vs mind

This is such a common metaphor but it really doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. What we really mean is that we make one argument to represent our desires and another argument to represent our fears and we bounce them back and forth inside our own heads in the hopes that we can stay balanced and on some fictitious tightrope of life. But of course there is no tightrope. That would imply there is some correct way to live and there isn’t. There is no right step for you to take. It’s not a battle between your mind and your heart for the right thing. You’re just going to pick a thing, not the right thing. So the battle in your head is over an answer to a question that doesn’t exist, meaning the entire mental exercise is a waste of time. So since both the heart-voice and head-voice are both just your hopes and your fears being relayed back to yourself, that’s all pretty meaningless. You might as well just save yourself the drama and be quiet-minded instead. Because without constructing the notion of a rope that you then need to balance on, the possibility of making a mistake disappears. And that’s what real freedom is. The freedom to get off the narrow confines of the rope, where any wrong move is sure to tumble you out of existence. Instead you can be firmly on flat ground, free to move in any direction you choose. Stop your mental arguments with yourself. Get off the rope. Go peaceful instead. Live with a quiet mind. The rest is all theatre.

peace. s

00 Relax and Succeed - Other Perspectives Footer

Scott’s Favourite Blogs of 2013: #3

265 Relax and Succeed - Change your thoughtsAs the year winds down I wanted to take some time to recognize some of the blog entries that have really stood out for a variety of reasons. The text might be the same but the reader is always changing, so even if it is one you’re familiar with I would urge you to consider reading it again. It just takes a few moments and you might just be surprised at how different a reader you have already become….

I’ll break them down into three sections: one for my personal three favourites of the year, another for my three favourites from external sources, and then I’ll end with a countdown of the 10 most popular Blogs-of-the-Year. Today I will begin with my #3 pick for my personal favourite blog of this past year:

Making Magic Tea

Imagine an ocean of consciousness. Imagine a teapot submerged within this ocean. That teapot defines what will be us. It contains the portion of total consciousness that is our sense of individual consciousness. While it never leaves the ocean, when the teapot rises to the surface it loses contact with much of the universe, and our very first sense of separation is what marks our ‘birth’ into the physical world.

Mental health versus mental struggle are determined by how much of our teapot feels ‘outside’ of the ocean. Do we feel we almost submerged and connected and healthy? Or are we barely touching our spiritual reality and understandably feeling isolated and vulnerable as a result? We’re always connected, but we can think we’re not.

When we are born our water is clear and our minds are like sponges. We grow by observing everything very closely, including the other teapots near us. We notice how they fill themselves with types of tea so –for better and for worse– we learn how to initially make tea from those around us. Families are our first culture.

How this works is that we’ll find a central person to mimic and one we’ll deem as living wrongly, and we’ll often try to do the opposite of what they suggest or do. Everyone else we like we still mimic, just less than those central sources of identity.

265 Relax and Succeed - Each morning we are born

If that person in our family gets angry a lot we’ll either be motivated to make that angry tea too because it’s familiar, or if they’re the person we think suffers for being wrong, we’ll actively avoid getting angry because we will have noticed its negative effects because we were watching for the person for that and negative effects are always there simply due to the duality of nature. There are no one-sided coins.

In the end, whether we copy or oppose them, those close to us will largely dictate which cues will lead us to prepare –or specifically not prepare– this or that particular emotional tea. Spiritual growth is when we begin to selfishly take conscious control over the preparation of our own tea. In doing so, we become more present and less unconscious.

Our consciousness is like the water. It’s an opportunity. The life-force convection of our very Being allows us to make any tea we choose. But to drink deeply and to really taste the tea of life we must take ownership of the brewing process. We must consciously choose to make the tea we wish make to flavour the experience of our lives.

The biggest challenge to that is that we often losing track of our sense of choice. Fortunately, that is where our taste comes in. We have to actually start thinking about what flavour various parts of our day have.

If we just throw in whatever tea our Dad or Mom made in this or that situation— then we’re not really actively alive at all. We’re not choosing our life at that point, we’re just following a script they accidentally set. We’re just drinking whatever we were told to drink like we’re Pavlov’s dogs.

That kind of reaction can lead to things as minor as crying at weddings to as serious as domestic abuse. But even if we like crying at weddings—it would be much better that it was us choosing that, and not our history dictating it.

Fortunately we have great intuition when taste-testing teas. If we don’t like how a tea tastes then that is not our tea. That is all individuality is: personal taste.

179 Relax and Succeed - What sort of experience

Other people can tell us that chamomile is amazing, but if we don’t like it then it’s not for us. The fact that it tastes bad to us is what’s supposed to prompt us to stop drinking it and stop making it. It’s a signal to change emotional teabags. It’s a signal to change the contents of our thinking.

That change is contained within our consciousness. That’s why as conscious beings we really can’t blame others when it’s us that’s drinking something we clearly don’t like. Old habits die hard. But if we take responsibility for an ugly flavour, that also means we’re assuming control. We’re recognizing our control over our choice of teabags –control over our life experience.

We all make tea all day long. We just go from this moment/sip to that moment/sip. But we are always having some tea, even when we sleep. So we are better to stop complaining about it as though someone hands it to us. If we don’t like the tea we have we’re free to pour it out and replace it.

When it comes to living with wisdom, it’s really only a matter of practice. The more we consciously change tea bags the better we get at changing tea bags. That ability is an expression of being conscious. After we have that skill, knowing what we like to drink (from the choices available) is easy. Our tea is the tea that tastes good to us.

It is good for us to get conscious of the process of being alive. This is our short-lived opportunity to be a tea-maker. We should not feel ashamed to make some terrible teas. Drinking those will be what teaches us that the tea-making is ultimately our responsibility.

Over time we experiment with other people’s tea choices and a few of our own and eventually we figure out which teas are truly our favourites. From there we simply have to remember to brew those every opportunity we get, while also knowing that forgetting is a part of tea-making.

Over time we replace the triggers we have to make emotional teas we don’t find productive in our lives. We’ll still have emotional challenges because life ensures pain. But if we stay conscious we can make the sort of teas that reduce our suffering.

Before we know it we will casually remember that we are mortal, and that the pot of consciousness that is us will eventually drift back out into the larger ocean of consciousness that surrounds it. And that will be the end of the tea held in the shape of what we think of as us.

At the end of our lives, freed from our vessel, the real essence of us is finally free to flow and mix without judgment, as the former us melts and become an integral part of the vast and infinite ocean of consciousness from which new tea pots will be scooped up to be reincarnated as other individuals with their own opportunities to choose the teas that will flavour lives of their very own.

peace. s

Think Less Feel More

You are a natural animal attempting to see your way through a haze of abstract thought. Mankind was originally concerned with fundamental needs. Food, water, shelter, procreation. And to deal with that we used labels like carrots, juice, shelter and person. But then we added things like trustworthy, and proper, and right, and wrong. We layered these ideas over-top of the world around us and then judged the world as though our ideas were relevant to it. So goes the ego’s self-centeredness. We’re all the same.

41 Relax and Succeed - We think too muchSo because of these ideas, you now have people walking around afraid. Not of lions or tigers or wolves. They’re afraid of social unacceptability. People think that there is some number that is wrong for a waistline, and by continually replaying their wrongness to themselves via their thoughts, they effectively prevent themselves from doing things like going to parties, or buying clothes they like.

These judgments are all abstract thoughts. Stop to think about that a second;  people are imprisoned by their own abstract thoughts. Meanwhile, the world passes us by.

If you quiet all of that thinking, fairly soon your nature will arise again. Unbound, with the cage-door of thought open, you will become curious like a child. You’ll become more aware of your surroundings. Every single sense will become more finely tuned. You won’t be as clumsy. You’ll feel more in your own body. And you will be. Because you won’t be space-time travelling to somewhere else, leaving your body teetering as a physical manifestation of your wandering thoughts.

41 Relax and Succeed - Sometimes you gotta quit thinkingCome alive. Wake up to the Present Moment. Without all of that noisy thinking in the way you will be able to feel the world around you. Many of us have seen animals do it—literally sense a person’s disposition. You can do that too. Not by talking to yourself about your reasons pro and con. This won’t be the winner of a debate. This won’t be a guess. This will feel exactly like quiet knowing. Because that is exactly what it will be.

People will tell you to think things through but their life will have just as much crap in it as everyone else’s. So if all of that thinking and re-thinking is still leading to the same amounts of pain, then why not just surrender and stop trying to figure it all out? Why not just go quiet and feel? The thinking isn’t doing anything except getting in your way anyway. As a kid you did almost no thinking and yet you spent all of your time laughing your head off and creating things. That’s the way you do it.

So relax. It’s too big to figure out. That was never what you were supposed to do anyway. You don’t think your way past obstacles and win. There is no such thing as winning. There are no such things as obstacles. Thinking creates the illusion of both. But really there is just life. And in life you can always always always only deal with the step you are on. Because everything else is just thought.

Go quiet. Feel. You’ll be fine.

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.