MoK: Casual Kindness

There are many ways to spread kindness into life. Most people remember the direct ways, like doing things for people or offering them a compliment, but there are also the indirect ways. Since people are experiencing what they’re thinking about, changing how someone thinks is to change how they feel.

Parents do this with their kids all the time. You’ve seen it. The kid is screaming about something, and then the parent introduces something new to bait the consciousness of the kid. Hopefully it’s not a threat or a gift, because if that happens too often that person will end up unhealthy. But if it’s an experience then it can be expansive.

So there’s the screaming kid at the grocery store, and the parent says, Do you want ride your bike this weekend with the adults, on the adult trails? And the kid starts thinking about that and they switch from anger to excited in no time. So why don’t we do that as adults? Adults actually argue with you to hold on to the idea that’s painful to them. Don’t try to change the subject on me! (Even though all the discussion in the world wouldn’t fix anything.)

You don’t want these efforts to feel forceful. It’s not some wedge of distraction you hammer into a conversation, but if you’re truly listening the way we all should–very intently and with no other purpose than listening–then you will find yourself struck with opportunities to turn the conversation toward something more enjoyable. It’s your nature. The trick will be getting out of its way.

If humans were designed to tune to negativity we never would have made it out of our first cave. We’d have been too scared. But instead we’re tuned for possibility. We see opportunities. So if you give someone an opportunity for positivity, well, that’s like bait to a fish. Eventually they’ll bite. And if you’re a patient fisherperson who doesn’t try to force the hook in, then you might find that you can succeed on your first try.

Today in the March of Kindness you want to listen carefully to the overall tone of a conversation. If it’s angry or sad or defeatist, listen intently and a natural response will occur to you that would pull the conversation toward something more pleasant and more productive. If you do it well people shouldn’t even notice that you did it.

That’s all that happy people do. When someone shoots them a ball of negativity, they gracefully give them back an easy play on a winning shot. You abandon the subject of their conversation and you focus instead on the tone only. You don’t argue any point, you simply offer a route to something more enjoyable.

You might have to offer it three times if they’re really upset, but eventually everyone would rather pedal their bike on a downslope. Just don’t listen with an agenda. Patiently listen and what to say or do will occur to you. Trust it. Your doubts are only made of thinking.

This is a very subtle form of kindness, and yet once you’re good at this it will be the one you’ll get to use the most. The sheer subtlety of it means it faces less resistance and it gets better results. So join the rest of us today and find some silver linings and help some others notice them too. Because in the end, we’re all in this life thing together.

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 Eightfold Path

1016-relax-and-succeed-all-beings-trembleYesterday we discussed two common descriptions of the Four Noble Truths. In the other common expression of those Truths the final stanza is different from those discussed yesterday in that it tells you that the path to the cessation of suffering is The Eightfold Noble Path, which relates to the Truth’s daily manifestations. In short, you must live in daily alignment with your spirituality lest your spirituality be a hollow theory rather than enacted enlightenment.

Right View merely means that you must perceive things as they truly are, which are manifestations of your thoughts about reality. Your ego must not colour reality and then react to itself rather than to the world. Your opinions about people are not those people.

Right Intention relates to the respect contained within your intention. This is why some people can use what gets called a racist word in a non-racist way; people are confident of their intention and so the word’s meaning can be altered. Likewise, people can use all of the right words but still fail on The Eightfold Path because they maintain status-based intentions, even if that’s just who’s right and who’s wrong.

1016-relax-and-succeed-the-eightfold-noble-pathRight Speech means that your words must heal and not harm. This gets trickier when it comes to telling people painful truths like talking to them about an addiction but, even in those situations, if we calm ourselves we will know those times when the only thing preventing us from speaking up is that our ego wants to be liked more than our spirit (which is the same in all of us) wants to be respected. Use your words to heal and not harm.

Right Action is to take the same positive attitude with behaviour that you take with communication, so if your friend is going to leave a party drunk and drive home then you have to not only say something, you have to take the keys too. You cannot worry about your ego being liked the next day; you have to do the right thing in the moments you’re in and not wish you did them later. Most guilt comes from non-action.

Right Livelihood is one of the trickiest ones for people because we can get good at justifying things when they reflect well on our ego and make our material life better. When it comes to relating Right Speech and Right Intention and Right Action, to our work, it’s suddenly easy to understand why Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it.” There’s a lot of people who pray regularly who will still comfortably prey on a fellow human being. Those would be useless and hollow prayers.

Right Effort means that you want to move in increasingly more loving, nonjudgmental and cooperative ways so that Right Action and Right Words flow more naturally from the direction your life is always pointed.

1016-relax-and-succeed-four-nobel-truthsRight Mindfulness relates to your internal thoughts. Are you an ego talking to itself in words, or are you your spiritual self; a wordless observer who acts wholly based on the steps above? Without proper mindfulness it would be impossible to maintain the other aspects of the path. Your mind must be quiet and your understanding of The Four Noble Truths must be solid.

Right Concentration means that your mind needs to practice the underlying focus for all of the other steps in the Path. If you cannot maintain a relatively steady and active understanding of The Four Noble Truths then you cannot see those steps manifested in your path even though they may be right in front of you.

Look at your life. See where it does not align with these behaviours. You will feel a resistance within yourself wherever your behaviour requires justification. You might be able to explain it to yourself using ego-based words about what’s good for you, but in the end we all know we can feel when we’ve done something wrong. So in the end, when he said “When I do good I feel good, when I do bad I feel bad. That is my religion,” even Abraham Lincoln proved he was living by The Eightfold Path even though he wouldn’t have ever heard of it.

The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path are not difficult concepts to understand. They are challenging to live on a daily basis if we function from a place of ego, so make sure you quiet that frightened, judgmental voice within you and your path will appear before you. From there it’s really just a matter of you deciding to be as absolute as possible about sticking to your path, and even that’s not hard when you get to see the kind of people walking that path alongside you.

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.

Maintaining Awareness

1002-relax-and-succeed-drink-tea-slowly-and-reverentlyPeople often ask me if what I “teach” will last. The truth is, I don’t so much teach it as show you how to experience it. Once you know that you know it (like you know how to multiply numbers), you realise it’s just not something you forget. It’s a verb, not idle knowledge.

Now, my insight was the opposite of my students because they realise they are thinking and I realised the rest of you didn’t know you were thinking but the effect is the same: when you first encounter this profound truth there definitely is an extreme high of joy that extends for months, but even that feeling we can get used to. Our guard goes down and some ego creaks in.

1002-relax-and-succeed-be-not-afraid-of-going-slowlyI get asked if the glow of my initial realisation still exists today and I’m clear that I have no idea. Maybe I’m just as well off but that awareness is now so common it’s nearly invisible to me, or maybe I’ve slipped back into more ego but not all ego. There’s no solid ground to judge something like that from, so it really falls to our nature: do we feel like more study would deepen our connection or are we happy with where we are?

Now, all this said, we all still go through those roughly eight year cycles I often write about. Once you’re good at being someone it’s time to be someone else, so it’s during those times I usually hear from former students/clients. They’ll wonder if they need the guidance because they can see they still perceive the world differently than the full-time egos around them, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to explore. This journey has no end. In the end it’s up to them.

The first part of the process is often about a series of small realisations that add up to a much different perspective, but even in the cases of profound and sudden change (those are very exciting), that first blush is the first step into this new reality but it certainly doesn’t show us that entire reality. I’m lucky, I’m constantly reminded to stay in my health because it’s my job to wander around inside this truth and show it to people.

D1002-relax-and-succeed-life-is-a-one-time-offero I know I make the world with my thoughts? Yes. Can I still get caught up taking those thoughts too seriously? Yes. But without not-path you can’t have a path, so that in itself is not us being outside of the truth, it just means we’re failing to recognise it as the truth. In this way the path is like a Mobius Strip. If you think you’re off the path you’re off the path. Believe you’re on and you’re on. The rest is awareness management.

There comes a time in a more advanced student’s life where they’re ready to get past managing emotions and they want to truly delve into the constructs of reality. This is deep work for me and it’s my favourite to do. This is where psychology meets spirituality. It still makes surprising sense for such ineffable subjects, but it is also grand and mysterious all at the same time. The challenges in the journey definitely get more pleasant once you’re through the door.

How far people want to take their study is up to them but they certainly don’t need me, Buddhism or Yoga. You’re always your own best teacher. At the same time, if you’re the sort that prefers to have an experienced guide along the way, that’s valid too. Which one is right for you only you can feel, but either way, the yin and yang of the path and not-path will always be where you are and you always be safe there regardless of what you think.

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.

Emotional Conclusions

You have a primary one of these. It’ll be invisible to you because you’re blinded by your ego’s narrative justifications but it’ll be what most other people primarily know as your personality. We have those angry friends, or the passive ones, or the judgmental ones, or the make-peace ones and we’re one of those too. Won’t it be interesting for you to figure out which one you are?

984-relax-and-succeed-anxiety-girlThat is the definition of a meditation. Use thought to take the thinker apart. If someone brings you a bald fact like; something broke, are you inclined to immediately want to ascribe blame? Do you immediately get angry? Do you immediately offer help? Do you apologise even if you had nothing to do with what went wrong? You’ll do all of these, but you’ll do one or two of them a lot. Those are your most common emotional conclusions. You’ll look at facts but you’re subconsciously heading toward a particularly family of negative energy conclusions.

This is why it is important to become conscious. Your brain should not be allowed to chew through the world all willy-nilly without someone guiding it. It doesn’t matter what happens you always have choices about how you react to anything so it makes sense that we would want to practice that sort of control. That means slowing down our processes.

We have to get off autopilot by forgetting our objective. We can’t have a destination we’re trying to force a conversation toward. That silent objective is our enemy. It is created in a false future by our ego. We need to be fully aware of the person we’re communicating with in the present moment. We need to hear what they say with no expectation and we have to simply let the information be, and trust that our real answer will emerge naturally. We must be patient for wisdom to become known to us.

984-relax-and-succeed-conclusionYou’ll have a personality. There’s nothing wrong with that. Bands need both lead singers and drummers. So don’t be afraid to be yourself, but be a conscious self. Be aware that your ego tilts towards particular types of thoughts. Some people are more afraid where others are more adventurous. Some are strict and some play fast and loose. Some are very serious and others are very humorous. Some are helpful others are selfish. And some of these people are us.

You’ll still get caught in ego and have reactions you regret, but as you get more distance between your true self and your automatic ego-responses you will find it easier to apologise for your ego. It’s almost as though it’s another person, like it’s your dumb twin that often does the wrong and selfish thing.

Egos think the world is about them, although they see those times as the world being “wrong.” Your higher self has no personal perspective at all and it’s that very open awareness that helps your soul divine the direction of your path through life. To struggle is to swim across or against the current. To soar is to float in the centre of the Tao, in the flow of not-being. Don’t let subconscious thought habits prevent you from experiencing the clarity of that reality. Find your primarily conclusion today, become conscious and be free of needless suffering.

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.

The Positive Life

Winner: 2016’s Blog of the Year #6

896 Relax and Succeed - Good things are comingWith no blogs on Thursdays, that means this is your final mediation as a part of the March Kindness Challenge. You’ve been kind through small actions like politeness and through big things like apologies. Now it’s time to try the hard stuff: being kind to yourself.

You have some habits. They have become so ingrained in you that you almost see those habits as who you are. You unconsciously engage with them every day in much the same ways. So today we’re going to take the major element from the negative side and we’re going to switch it out for something positive.

Today you stay conscious and you find that one thing. You know the one I mean. That thing you think often. That discussion you have in your head every day. Maybe it’s about your weight. Maybe it’s about your ex. Maybe it’s about your mother, father, sister, brother or boss. Maybe you worry. Maybe it’s some insult that was hurled at you in your youth and you’ve never shaken it. Maybe you have to forgive yourself.

896 Relax and Succeed - Amazing peopleThere is some chunk of thinking you regularly do that is about that particular subject. It’s a daily recording about how useless you feel; how ugly, how lost, how incapable, how tired, how sick or how meaningless. Maybe you were adopted and you wonder about your birth mother, or maybe someone hurt you badly and you have a speech you want to give them, or maybe you just look in the mirror and literally hate yourself. Find that thing. Know it.

Look at the time. Within two hours of reading this you want to have figured out what that narrative is. It really shouldn’t be hard. Now: it is critical to remember that your opinions about the truth behind your narrative are meaningless. You can weigh more than you feel is right for you and yet still surrender your thoughts about being overweight. You can have the weight without the thinking. Same with all of the other potential issues. It doesn’t matter if this narrative is true, it only matters if its negative. Negative goes.

Okay, so here we reach acceptance. Acceptance can be tricky for people because it’s a spiritual act not an intellectual one. If you intellectually know you’re overweight then you’ll feel as though you’re justified in your narratives–wrong! Narrative are always ego, no matter what they are about. The problem is not actually the weight, it’s the self-talk. That’s what’s keeping you down.

896 Relax and Succeed - Speak only when your wordsSo you take a couple hours to find this thing and then you commit to replacing that thought with a positive one. I’d prefer it was about you but if that feels difficult you can make it about the world in general. But you need an actual swap. Then you start to keep your consciousness on guard for that class of narratives. And no matter how justified they seem, you simply switch to your positive one.

If you used to say you’re fat, learn to switch that as a habit with something good and then just think about that. Say you think this for about an hour of every day at a low level of consciousness. Because it’s a hot area for you, you end up with a route through your thinking that always includes your weakness, so if anything does go “wrong” you can easily pin it on yourself (unless your fault is blaming others).

If you switch that out to something positive then you are recovering at least an hour a day and you’re turning it from negativity to positivity. What you were negative about and what you’re positive about are irrelevant–you’ll be switching negativity for positivity so there is no chance you lose.

896 Relax and Succeed - No matter who you wereDon’t give yourself trouble when you screw up and think the old thought. I don’t care if you catch yourself an hour or two into it; just stop it when you do notice it and switch it to the positive thought. What we want to get good at here is the switching even more than the positivity. That’s a skill unto itself. So when you notice it isn’t important it’s that you noticed it.

Over time you’ll develop a real vigilance for this thought. Your vigilance will become the habit instead. You’ll be aware and alert and ready to respond with a healthy mindset. People are amazing but they’re always telling themselves they’re not. It’s a ridiculous exercise that undermines our progress as people on this Earth. There is no value in criticism there is only value in choosing something better.

It’s time to choose something better for yourself. It’s time you once and for all began the process to end that thought. Otherwise people have these for their entire lives. There is no upside in that. It’s like beating yourself throughout your life. Stop. It’s okay. You’re still far more good and worthwhile and meaningful than you could ever imagine. So there’s no need to veil yourself in negative thoughts about yourself. It’s time to come out. It’s time to enjoy a rewarding life. Start today.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations around the world.

Another Life

Today we’ll work on your awareness, your focus and your listening. Raising your awareness will get you out of your head and taking more into account. Increasing your focus will keep your attention off you and on someone else, and by doing both of those other things you will be able to listen much better and thereby take in far more actionable information.

883 Relax and Succeed - A wise man can learn moreFor your awareness we’ll get you to choose one specific co-worker or classmate or other person you see regularly. Someone you have opinions about, good or bad. Rather than think of yourself you’ll think about them for the day. So you have to understand them. This might lead to observations or questions, but again–it’s all focusing on them not you, so it’s all helpful.

For focus you just want to make sure that you really do consider that person’s life instead of your own. Instead of complaining about your office chair, wonder how uncomfortable someone heavier or taller than you manages to sit on the same one. Think about how others treat the person, think about their food choices, their schedule, their budget, their family commitments or lack of friends or whatever–them not you.

For listening, if you’ve managed to do the first two things then you’re clear-headed enough that you might just pick up details you’ve never noticed before. Maybe they use a lot of nautical references and it turns out they’ve always wanted to live on a boat again, the way they grew up. Or maybe you hear them talking about a dream they have that you’ve never noticed before. In short, pay attention.

883 Relax and Succeed - Be kind for everyone you meetYou should be able to talk to a person you see regularly and yet still notice something entirely new. If you can’t then you’re still talking to yourself about them–that’s not the same thing as simply taking them in. You’re interacting with your judgmental thoughts about them and not with the actual person. This is what egos do. This is the thing we want to prevent you from doing.

Stop filtering the world through your own personal thinking. Have a perspective but don’t take it so seriously. If you can do that then you have flexibility in all sorts of aspects of life. You can see your opinion as just an opinion rather than the way it is.

“The way it is” is always open to interpretation. Maintain that flexibility and you will always find yourself in a position to create a positive mindset. If you believe what you’re seeing is how it is then you’re doomed to live inside your ego, inside your judgments, inside your limited perceptions. Instead, throw the doors and windows open wide and be with the world with a silent, non-judgmental mind. What it will reveal to you from that perspective will explain to you why so many people are able to love life, and why you can too.

Listen. Feel fortunate. Get out of your head. Study the challenges of another soul. Quiet your mind by listening. This is the path to inner peace. This is the path to understanding.

Enjoy.

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.

The Friday Dose #103

881 FD Relax and Succeed - When was the last timeThe most challenging times for you will be when you face prolonged sections where you feel more suffering than joy. Good feelings will still be available to you and you will have positive experiences, but there is no doubt there are times when the struggle feels acutely uphill. I refer to those times as your (roughly) eight year cycles.

To stay healthy through these periods, it’s important to maintain an awareness of a longer perspective on your life. The struggle for change is often preceded by a growth. You might need some new friends, a new job, maybe you change where or how you live, you gain a new perspective–a turn into a new you. You’re the caterpillar fighting it’s way out as a butterfly.

Doesn’t it make sense that you would need to begin a new life? Not entirely new–but it really does feel like another section; another level of being a person. It’s a particular kind of maturing. We tend to mark our life by these events. So learn not to lament them while you’re in them. The dentist doesn’t always feel fun at the time but they’re worth it. Same with the awkward and unpleasant feelings that go with growth. Rabbi Dr. Twerski does a good job of explaining the concept:

If life’s enjoyable, enjoy it. If it’s a struggle, enjoy the chance to grow toward even broader horizons. No matter why, have some kind of a wonderful 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.

Attachments and Forgiveness

880 Relax and Succeed - There are only two daysHave you noticed yet that I’m structuring this like the New York Times crossword? Every day gets a bit more challenging with the Wednesday-Thursday post being the one you’re better to spend a couple of days getting a good grip on. Again, do these meditations and you will come to the same conclusion everyone else has, from the Siddhartha under his tree all the way to today.

Attachments in the present are easy to find. But attachments to the future or past are more subtle. Going backward attachments are things like regret, guilt, bitterness, resentment etc., and attachments going forward are things like expectations, hopes, worries, fears and even anger. These are the things you get stuck on; the things you have trouble letting go.

But of course there is no letting go. In fact, the issue is your lack of understanding regarding what exactly is bothering you. You think it’s the events when in fact it is your thoughts–your judgments– about those events. And those are happening now, not earlier or later. Again: you do not live where your body lives you live where your consciousness is.

880 Relax and Succeed - Life is like riding a bicycleFind your darlings. Ask friends what you talk about a lot. Study your ruminations. Pay more attention to what thoughts you are feeding through your consciousness processor. If you ordered a horror from iTunes then it’s a bit strange to be complaining that you’re scared. You asked for it. Same with this. Thoughts are like bicycles. You don’t want to pedal in circles–you want to move your life forward.

This is of course one of the biggest issues for most people. These are the illusions that you can create with your thinking. You can think you have a problem or an issue but what you really have is some thoughts that attempt to deny what is. There is no escaping the is-ness of life.

Stop wishing reality away, stop hoping it will go away, and stop regretting that it’s not already gone and you know what…? It’s just an emotion. Just something to feel. It won’t kill you. It’s just some unnecessary suffering. So stop being so scared of reality. Little kids go past stuff like that in no time because they haven’t learned pride and resentment. They let stuff go and get back to the moment they’re in. If you have kids it’s worth it to watch them recover. They prove to you what you can do.

880 Relax and Succeed - Inhale the futureOnce you’ve discovered your repetitive ruminations simply recognize them for what they are–just some conversations you’ve had with yourself. That’s what worked for Eckhart Tolle. He wanted to kill himself he hated himself so much–but then he thought–wait! There’s two of me? That’s right. There’s the thinker and the thoughts. Don’t get them confused. One is a puppet, a shadow, an idea. The other one is the real you.

Quiet your mind. Use your Dominant Positive Emotion to shift your thinking. You’ve learned more than you think by now. You’ve had 60 days of meditations. For the next two days it is time for you to simply turn it all into a verb and literally practice the art of a still mind.

Now go find yourself an awesome day. Big hugs.

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 Home

858 Relax and Succeed - You attention pleaseHow was your awareness throughout the day? Of course you lost track of your focus countless times, we all do. How quickly and how often you recover the Present Moment is a sign of your development.

You want to practice (there’s that verb again) being aware. You want to practice watching yourself. You want to have it become second nature that your ego is not allowed to run your life without your awareness.

You know from your Monday meditation what your dominant emotion is and what happens to you when you experience it. Don’t lament having a Dominant Emotion–you’ll always have one that shapes your personality more than others. Yes, ideally that would be love or compassion, but all of the emotions are valid. They just shouldn’t be experienced in isolation. Too much of any emotion dilutes its value–including too much happiness.

858 Relax and Succeed - You don't have to be greatSo maybe we want peace, maybe love, maybe compassion, maybe strength. Once you know how to manage your consciousness you realize those are all pretty close together so any will do fine. But if you’re reading this then presumably you rarely visit the positive emotions–maybe you even miss them. It’s not fun living life if on a daily basis you’re spending too much time with the emotions you find difficult.

Sadness, guilt, worry, anxiety, anger–whatever–it doesn’t really matter which one you’re coming from or going to, in the world of consciousness they’re all equal. It’s not that one is harder than the other–what’s tricky is the changing from one to the other. But I say tricky and not hard because all it takes is practice. That’s the value in the Dominant Emotion–if it’s where you are most often then it’s also your most frequent opportunity to practice changing.

The value in this exercise is that we want to work on noticing the physical manifestation of our Dominant Negative Emotion and then let that lead us to realize we’re thinking about the situation in a way that would definitely lead to the reaction we’re having. That immediately takes the blame from other people being responsible for how you feel. Having owned the reaction, we can now start preparing the shift to choosing something better to think about. This is difficult at first, but it gets better with practice and I’ll cover more on the switch later.

858 Relax and Succeed - Occupy the presentSo remember: pay attention to that body part. Note when it’s reacting in a way that signals you that you’re experiencing that Dominant Emotion. Check in with your thinking to see where it’s at, then notice the relationship between your thoughts and that feeling. Easy right? All you’re trying to do is re-catch yourself over and over so that you generally think that emotion into existence and then immediately become aware of it. That already makes you a fantastically much more conscious person.

Every time you feel that tight gut or tight forehead or that sick feeling or whatever else, don’t lament. Just check in and look at it. Don’t wish it away–that’s just thinking about it even more. Just recognize it and you will have taken a big step. You’ve got two days to work on this. Leave a note or something to remind you and then just do your best. Just always remember, it’s a practice not an achievement. Each moment is new.

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.

A New Reality

Okay, so yesterday you figured out how you process some events. You know your brow furrows and you get tension in your neck, or you know you won’t be able to sit still, or that your feel nauseous, but you’ve figured out what your dominant emotion is and how it impacts you. You’ve already done more than you realize.

857 Relax and Succeed - Life is 10 percent what you makeMaybe you already noticed it yesterday. Just your awareness of where your suffering sits physically makes you more aware. Your stomach starts to tighten but now you have the association as to why. You may even have known why right away, but being in tune with that–seeing that information as a tool is not something you’re likely to have done. People think their emotions are results not signposts.

Let’s use the new job example I started yesterday. In that case our overwhelming unfamiliarity leaves us more vulnerable and therefore more wary or… anxious. That’s a natural reaction to all that newness. So if you were going to feel a bit anxious it makes sense that you would feel that just before a new job, where you’ll meet a bunch of new people. And in that context you’re essentially hunting–you’re going to use the money from work to buy the most basic things, like having food or shelter. So if you feel your food and shelter might be threatened then Maslow would suggest that it seems like the appropriate time for the very human emotion of very active concern or anxiety.

857 Relax and Succeed - Fall in love wtih the processCan you see how that you’ve already started the change you wanted to teach yourself? Because by becoming the real you who is watching for the fake you, you can’t think the fake you’s narrative thoughts. That’s a big deal–you’re now busy being the person watching those thoughts and their reactions in your body. You are now real you watching ego you. Congratulations! And that only took a day to get familiar with. You’ll only get better from here.

Starting tomorrow we’ll hone this skill even further. But for today focus on practicing being an observer. Don’t just notice that one emotion; start to add the others. Feel all those emotions. Feel the chemistry of your body not as your day but rather as the result of your thinking. Note that if you change your thinking or circumstances change it, you feel differently. So spend today focusing on that relationship between what you think and how you feel.

857 Relax and Succeed - Don't let negativity drag you downStop talking to yourself about your day and start being alive within it. Stop living the thoughts and start existing as the being that thinks those thoughts. You are the projector not the screen.

Remember, don’t add to negative narratives by chastising yourself. Chastise or not every thought is an act of creation. Watch them go as easily as they came. That is your day. That flow. You don’t fight that flow. You get comfortable with it and then you can start to feel its currents and use its forces. Before you know it you’ll be a Jedi. 😉

Have fun watching yourself. If you do it earnestly you’ll learn a lot. Get good at it. Then we’ll take that raised awareness and we’ll put it to good use. You’re now an active participant in your life. Congratulations. Enjoy your day.

peace, s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.