Peace of Mind

We have a lot of questions we want answered and yet there’s no one we ask more than ourselves. We wonder why we cannot generate an answer, but the asking is ironically what is preventing the reception; because we think our answer is an idea and not an action we keep looking for a word-based solution to a living of life problem.

All of that self-talk can sound like it’s doing something, but it’s not. There’s no such thing as crazy, there’s just how much you talk to yourself and how much weight you give your own voice in your own head. Go too far down that rabbit hole and you can get lost, and yet the way out is always available. It’s this moment. This very moment.

But we cannot find our answer by talking to ourselves about our need for an answer. We simply need to act. All of the self-talk is being lost. Quiet impulse, mysteriously motivated, without second-guessing, is what you seek. But you cannot have it until you will get intimate with now, and the voices in your head are the form of your resistance.

Surrender. We associate it with defeat. Indeed. A defeat of the ego. We want that answer. We want the key to unlocking a happy life. But in the end that is our problem. We are searching for key that isn’t there, to open a lock that isn’t there. We have no problems. They are all made by our thinking. We have always been free. You don’t need anything once you can see who you really are.

People get lost because they’re looking for their path, when their path is wherever they are. Their path isn’t a destiny, it’s a fulfilment. You don’t find your way you make your way. No one left you breadcrumbs leading a room filled with treasure. The path is your treasure, and your freedom shapes its value. It’s possible to use your freedom to do nothing, or worse be self destructive. But even that is strangely part of your freedom.

If we stop all of the questions all that remains is living. This verb, this action, this motion through life is life. You have to give up that you’re going somewhere. In fact, you’ll have no idea which way to truly go until you give up all of your ideas about where you should be. Outcomes are not your job. You handle the moment. Your mind’s attachment to an outcome is the only thing preventing you from being in the moment.

Take today. Surrender. Forget trying to figure it all out. Just take a day off. Give up. Let go. Surrender all the self-talk and go peaceful. It’s not hard, it’s tricky. The more you do it the better you get at it. Start now. Go. Quiet. Inside.

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.

Being Aware of Yourself

You are two things at once. You are your spiritual self, which is free and brilliant and unlimited, and that self travels around within your biological self, which is also free and potentially brilliant but it does have some limitations, including the fact that your brain is built as a pattern-matching, repetitive system that essentially uses cues to tell itself a story about what is happening around it.

793 Relax and Succeed - If you carry the bricks from your pastWithout mindfulness that pattern-matching behaviour will lead to an unconscious life. You won’t be choosing your existence so much as your existence will be directing you–like someone who was bit by a dog when they were young can end up being afraid of dogs for the rest of their life. Imagine how important that becomes when you start applying it to personal intimate romantic relationships.

One incident hardly condemns all dogs or people, but if a person isn’t careful and there are no intervening, countervailing experiences, they will use those unpleasant experiences to cage their spirit even more than the limitations of their body. Your body could be around a dog–or a beautiful brunette–it’s your worried thoughts that can’t.

The trick is to notice these extremely subtle patterns in life. Yes there’s the obvious stuff like; if you leave the house every day with your wallet and one day you leave without it your brain does signal you that something is off-pattern. That’s what you’re feeling when you say, I’ve got this feeling I forgot something. You’re exactly right.

793 Relax and Succeed - Do not give your pastThe harder patterns are ones like–how often you look at your phone? And what’s the pattern behind what you’re doing immediately before that, that reminds you to check it? Is it a notification that allows you to escape from harder work, or do you hit a timer in your head and you need a fix?

Do you only phone your friends when you’re sad or angry? Does your stomach tense up when you’re stressing? Do you automatically get up in a bad mood if it’s windy? Or on the way to your parents? Do you say things to your children out of habit rather than reacting to them originally, in the present moment? Do you always choose one or two genres of music, or does the same street always make you think of the same person?

The contexts that surround these patterns act as our cues. We should know our cues. You should intimately be aware of what upsets you and those closest to you. Even better, you should know what relaxes you and makes you happy. We need that pattern-match part of our brain to survive, but we don’t want it fencing us off from experience when it serves no useful purpose.

Get to know yourself much more intimately. Dedicate an entire hour to looking very, very closely at your own face. You know how you can write down or look at a word for so long that the letters start to lose their meaning? You’ve burned out the part of your brain that patterns those letters into that word, so as that energy flares out it hits all the jumbled angles on those letters.

793 Relax and Succeed - face it you are lovelyWell the same effect happens with your face. You know it as you. But when you stare at it long enough, there’s this sudden moment when you see not what you see–but what a stranger might see. The nice part about it is that it will happen for sure, and that you will realize you’re more interesting and beautiful than you thought.

Get to know your thinking. Do you have thought habits in the morning? When you drive home? Every workday do you literally go to the window to see if your neighbour parked in that way he always does that makes you mad? The crazy unaware person isn’t the neighbour who parks strangely, it’s the guy who chooses to consistently piss himself off as one of his daily rituals. Free yourself with awareness of who you really are.

What are your patterns? The more you find the more you will find because your brain is good at patterns, remember? It’ll get easier and easier to spot them. Trust me, they are all over the place and layered much much thicker than you can imagine. You’ll find times in the week where you are absolutely guaranteed to be upset between 7:12 and 7:32pm every Wednesday. If it’s that predictable surely there’s a work-around. But you have to be aware.

Awareness is key. You don’t need to be smarter or better, you just need more awareness. That will open up the doors to everything you are searching for. Don’t forget to have fun while you’re doing it. Now go get to know this person you call yourself. And you will know all that you need to know to make the most of your life. Enjoy.

peace. s

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

The Agony of Expectations

Winner: 2015’s Blog of the Year #3

Ouch. Yeesh. I recently overheard a woman complain that her daughter’s plane was delayed because they were worried about airport workers being hit by lightning. She said her day was ruined by it and she couldn’t believe they would stop her daughter’s flight for such a trivial reason.

728 Relax and Succeed - It is what it isTrivial? It’s lightening. They’re living people surrounded by lightning rods and fuel tanks. I’ve got an idea of what would help even more than a flawless airport: some empathy. And it’s way cheaper and easier to get too. This is how people ruin their own lives. Their egos think the world is about them.

Can you see how she does what all of us do? We make every event relate to our personal identity. That storm happened to her daughter and the airport impeded her plans and her day was ruined by these other people and things. With expectation goes disappointment and then the cycle shifts to blame and then the re-setting of another silly expectation. Because it is presumed the world happens out there, not in here.

I’m talking about all of us. The vast majority of people living in the modern world do this all day long with almost every aspect of their lives. If you really want your day to improve the great news is it isn’t hard. You just have to find your attachments like expectation or time and replace them with more flexible ideas like anticipation and experience.

728 Relax and Succeed - Each of us has a responsibilityKeep your mind open. Think of others rather than yourself. It really is better for you. If the woman I overheard had done that she would have undoubtedly been in a much better mood and been much better company to her beloved daughter.

Stay conscious. Make your days great because you have silenced all of the self-creating narratives that filter the world with your me’s and I’s. Instead be open and truly aware and awake to the world around you. That is the easy, fun and beautiful route to salvation. And you don’t even need a plane, a ticket, or to be struck by lightening to get there.

Now go create an awesome day. Love you.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organisations around the world.

Original Sin

Concepts like governments, laws, religions, or education or legal systems all create many ways for people to feel they are wrong. In the case of some religions you were even born wrong and your life is almost a form of apology where you try to make up for your failings to God. So we feel we owe God perfect behaviour, we feel we owe our parents and the system good grades, we feel like we owe it to society to obey laws—even the ones we don’t agree with.

Even the economy itself with its symbolic money means that you can now actually fail at just being alive. Born in Africa in a poverty-stricken war-torn country? Don’t have access to education or health care? Then too bad, you lose, because you won’t have the money to buy the food that you used to get for free from the Earth itself. But now someone invented the concept of ownership and then people needed guns to protect the things they owned and so now those fruits belong to someone else which means they don’t belong to you. A person somewhere else—someone with money—can eat it, but not the guy who picked it. That’s how silly our world is. We’ll actually let the picker die of starvation rather than let him eat. We’ll have the simple inexpensive medicines to save his life, but we won’t give them to him without the money.

Because modern life is loosely based on the rather undefined concept of progress, people will feel like they’re failing even if they’re standing still—because things like advertising or where they are on the bell curve at school will lead them to believe that everyone else is working harder than they are. So progress would be to work harder. And so modern life is set up around wants, which necessitates us starting from a position where we’re lacking, and effort or hard work will make up the difference between us and success.

So advertising or our church or our boss tells us we’re missing something and we need to earn the right to have it, and then we can check off the box that says we can stop beating ourselves up, (which in turn leads us into the habit of beating others up as well). Think about how much 618 Relax and Succeed - What is the waystrife is caused by parents pushing for better grades and think of how incredibly seldom those grades mattered to the quality of life the person ends up leading. There is no relationship between external success and internal happiness, so why are we willing to sacrifice so much of the latter in an attempt to get the former?

So many people feel they are starting behind, and that where they are now can’t possibly be good enough. They tend to manage their lives based on avoiding the pain of failure rather than on cultivating a life that enables our natural satisfaction and appreciation to exist unfettered by thoughts about what’s missing or how we need more. Think about it. What if a God you totally believed in came down, proved his power to you, and then ordered you to be happy because he deemed you perfect. Hey! Good for you! Praise by God! Now what?

We don’t need to beat ourselves into doing a good job. If what we’re doing has any kind of value at all then capable, open people will always find a way to invest themselves in that work. People that work in the arts will try to make things that you like or enjoy or approve of or maybe hate. But the true artists among them will just be being themselves whether you like it or not. So there’s a career that at its zenith experiences no social pressure whatsoever. They can do like Klein and paint an entire canvass one shade of blue and still they can have happy lives and 618 Relax and Succeed - Meraki to do something with soulsurvive all the judgment. Because you’re not living a spiritual life if you’re conforming to what everyone else wants. You’re living a spiritual life when you realize with absolute certainty that even if there wasn’t a single rule in the universe, you would still be made of love and your pure self could act like nothing else.

It’s time to stop beating yourself up using your ability to think. You weren’t supposed to tell yourself stories where you’re the villain. Save thinking for remembering directions or traffic rules or something. But don’t apply it like you’re some kind of judge and jury to yourself. There was no crime here. There is nothing wrong with you other than the fact that you keep comparing your perfection to other people’s perfection. Your problem isn’t who you are. Your only problem is who you think you are. So stop all the chatter and just be instead. Because that would be just perfect. 😉

peace. s

Pain versus Suffering

People often start off on the wrong foot by coming to me thinking that their friends recommended me because they’re so happy. They think I make people happy. Sure, they end up happier, but that’s almost the exact opposite of what I actually teach them.

599 Relax and Succeed - We do not see things as they areI teach them to suffer. Only I teach them to suffer wisely.

Wise suffering? I know, weird eh? Who knew I was going to bump into such truths when I stumbled into figuring this out. So how do you suffer wisely? The answer is acceptance. Because if you meditate on the subject more closely you will see that it’s not really the pain that bothers you, it’s the concern that your suffering will linger or even stay.

As I’ve noted many times before, if emotions were actually good or bad then theaters and bookstores would be empty. No one would offer to pay perfectly good money to buy a book, bring it home, put some time into reading i, and then have it deliver to them the very thing that they tried to avoid all day—whether that’s fear or worry or profound sadness. But no, we’ll break our own hearts with Ivanhoe, or sit in dread with Stephen King, and we’ll even pay for the privilege. So in the end your own life proves to you that emotions themselves are not good or bad.

So what’s with this lingering-staying-suffering part? Please pay attention to the fact that everything I’m talking about here takes place entirely in your consciousness. And within your consciousness, because you choose to believe that some emotions are bad, when they show up in your life your reaction is to panic. You start to think to yourself, “Oh no, not sadness. I don’t want sadness again. Why do I keep dating people? It’s always painful! I’m so stupid! No wonder no one wants me,” etc. etc. Okay, so the realization of loss was something your pre-thought non-illusory mind experienced. But because your society trained you well, 599 Relax and Succeed - One day things will get betteryour brain immediately sought to categorize that thought into separate ideas that you describe to yourself using labels called words.

What you need to grasp is that it isn’t your breakup from two weeks ago that’s making you cry for days on end. The pain of loss and the occasional recognition or reminder of recent loss will understandably trigger the sad feeling we think of when we think of losing someone. The pre-word, pre-thinking feeling. But if you fully feel that without hesitation—and if you’re not afraid of any emotions—then you simply move into the next moment and feel your thoughts about that. These are those times when you might say that it felt good to cry. So if you’re only crying when you actually want to cry, then you just have to deal with the occasional painful feeling that gets stirred up when your consciousness is unexpectedly reminded of your past.

If however you choose to think a streaming narrative similar to the one I created above, then you will experience that as your emotions. Feelings come before the words, after the words it’s emotion. It’s why babies can feel love but not jealousy. One is before words so babies can feel that, but they can’t build the one after words until first they learn words. So what’s actually hurting you two weeks later isn’t your breakup, it’s your thoughts about the breakup. It’s the words. Because if you wouldn’t keep telling yourself stories about how it could have gone or how it should have gone, then those words would go quiet and you would feel what you were experiencing in the current moment—like the view, or a sound or smell—instead of chemically constructing a past or future experience out of unpleasant, judgmental words.

599 Relax and Succeed - We cannot control the windIt’s no different than reading a book. If your consciousness is considering a painful idea you will experience pain, just like when your consciousness is intentionally focused on the most rewarding thing you can find—then you feel exalted. You don’t feel what happened, you feel what you’re thinking about in this moment. So can you time travel and choose to think about painful things from the past? Of course. It’s how most of the world manages their sadness. But just the same you can manage your happiness too. You can choose to focus on what you’re grateful for.

This is all actually quite easy to do, so if you’re telling yourself I’m being flippant or that I’m wrong, understand that what you’re trying to do is off target. Because this is incredible easy. Remember at the start I said that people got happier by suffering wisely? Okay, so now maybe this explanation will make more sense: To suffer is to choose to think unpleasant pain-engaged or pain-resisting thoughts (they both involve pain equally), and all of this gets done in the hopes that the pain will somehow magically go away because we’ve suffered enough. So you have to put work into this. You have to choose to go in that painful direction—there’s effort #1—and then you have to put effort #2 into creating all 599 Relax and Succeed - If you want to be happyof the narratives that pedal the bicycle of your ego.

My way you just stop thinking, focus your consciousness on the most enriching, pleasant thing you can find and that naturally feels good. But to do that you have to accept the unpleasant feelings first. You can’t be thinking you live in some dream-world where the pain might possibly stop because you want it to, or that there is some magical way to live where you’ll never be in pain again. If you don’t work to hold those crazy beliefs then you only have to experience the feeling of actual pain but not the daily suffering of ego. (Things like being offended, or thinking people are wrong about their politics or art. It’s all very taxing.)

599 Relax and Succeed - The journey is the rewardYou will suffer. Many times. So stop trying to worry it away from your future, or regret it away from your past. Be present instead. If a powerful feeling is appropriate then feel it. But don’t use your ability to think in words as a way to torque a feeling into an emotion. Be sad when it’s appropriate to be sad. Be fearful when it is wise to be fearful. But the rest of the time just let your consciousness relax in silence—which is otherwise known as… happiness.

peace. s

 

Wanting vs Appreciating

I’ve said it again and again and again. It’s one of the fastest and easiest ways to enact change in your life. But people are so asleep—they’re so mesmerized by their conditioning—that they can comprehend that what I’m suggesting makes sense, but before they break through they won’t fully commit to actually doing it. It’s just so much easier to follow old patterns….

562 Relax and Succeed - I want happinessYou mind moves in two directions. It can rise by appreciating other aspects of creation, or it can fall due to wants being expressed. Wants imply that the current moment is unsatisfying. And if the current moment is unsatisfying then we know we’re in ego. Because spirit is always willing to be wherever it is. It never wants to be somewhere else, even when things get ugly. It’s all just one big flow that is either going toward want or toward appreciation and the former feels unpleasant and the latter is where you find the feelings people associate with success.

A little bit of want will present as irritation. Once you’ve practiced enough even this small indicator will lead you to check in with your thoughts and if they’re useless ruminations (of which 99.9% are) then you consciously shift to thinking about something that will dose you with more enjoyable chemistry.

If you don’t do that, you might find yourself experiencing even more want, and you’ll get frustrated. This is like more of the same. Stronger, longer heavier doses. Again, if you do not choose higher frequency thoughts you will have lower frequency experiences. After frustration comes anger and after that depression. Each step, your spirit signals you strongly that you’re employing your consciousness unconsciously. You are unconsciously choosing to suffer. And that’s still your right if that’s what you want to do when you’re conscious. But others may not find that type of selfishness to be appealing. Not when happiness is only one thought away.

562 Relax and Succeed - Focus on the goodEvery day we choose whether our day was good or bad, and yet our personal mind turns it into our day by focusing only on what happened to it. But of course it’s choosing in every moment between billions of experiences. Your ego can pay attention to the guy in the subway chewing with his mouth open in that way that drives you crazy, or it can pay attention to an ad for a product that offends your moral sensibility, or you can think about how you missed your train and now your boss is going to tell at you. OR, you can think about any moment in your past or even speculatively in your future. And thosedays could range from horrible to fantastic. That’s the range of your choices: terrible all the way to amazing. All the time you have that available to you but your ego doesn’t let you see the choices because it’s blinding you with its narrative.

Instead of focusing on the choices available, an ego tells itself a story about what’s going on. So it cherry-picks out of those billions of choices and then like when you dream at night, you build a story from the choices. That story is what you call your life when in reality it was just the consciousness that you perceive as yours traveled through experiences that felt like that. The rest is just the story you tell yourself and as most adoptees discover, it is a changeable story. What your life is is only what you think it is. Change your beliefs about you and your life and the experiences of your life will absolutely change.

You are always only one thought away from a better state of mind. Simply become aware of wanting vs appreciating. And then use your emotions to know when you’re in a wanting state and move out of it using appreciation as quickly as possible and don’t chastise yourself when you can’t or won’t. Making that simple move from want to appreciation is a large portion of the secret of living a good life. So since it’s so easy you can start right away. Now go create yourself a great day by making great choices about whether you use your consciousness to want or appreciate. Thank your your time.

peace. s

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

Welcome Suffering

You will forever give birth to yourself. There is no done, there is no finished, there is no complete. There is only the road, there is no destination. There will be points where you pause to reassess your direction, but these aren’t corrections as much as they are realizations. They are more expansion than improvement.

169 Relax and Succeed - All great changesThere are facts, and there is context. Until we see the fact in the context, we have no idea what we have engaged with. Once we have, we then have the necessary perspective from which to make decisions for the new person we have become as a result of the experience. This is a natural process and it is good to become comfortable with its unfolding.

An aspect of that unfolding will be dissatisfaction. This is a signal either that we are failing to fully engage with a subject, or that we have fully engaged with it to such a degree that we are ready to shift our consciousness to other things. But dissatisfaction does not mean that we have gone the wrong way in life—it means that we have gone as far in that direction as we were intended to go and we should increase our awareness toward finding what feels natural to the newly expanded You.

These stages of becoming wave through us in time and space. To mix some metaphors, we coast downhill, with wind in our sails and confidence in our gait. We smile easily and generosity comes naturally. But even chocolate gets unpleasant if we have too much of it. Caviar, wine, and even sex too. The nature of the universe is change. If we have the same experience for too long, our naturally creative nature urges us to expand.

As an ego, we unfold that experience as a narrative wherein we judge our life. We begin to question our direction, our intentions, our results. We imagine alternate histories and compare them to our Now. And for this we suffer. Such is the nature of life. Struggles to end suffering, followed by downhill coasts courtesy of expanded wisdom.169 Relax and Succeed - There is no coming

Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Be okay with not being okay. Appreciate that part of finding oneself is that you must begin by being lost. And since you will find several selves during your lifetime, you will also become lost several times. So don’t turn that experience into some giant identity-creating story. Even if it’s a huge event, leave it where it is. Do not drag it forward in time with your thinking. The sooner you let the weight of that story go, the sooner you can float upward into where you have the space to be the wiser and stronger You.

Do not lament the ebb and flow of life. Without one you would not know the other any more than you could see these words without the white background. That is the Yin and Yang of life. Relax into it. Don’t argue with it. Feel the pain knowing it will pass as your thinking changes.

You don’t need to struggle against life. Yes its flow will naturally bring you into the rocks occasionally. But that’s still far less painful than swimming upstream for the entirety of your existence.

Stop thinking. Float on your inner silence. Listen to the universe around you and it will share its secrets. You’re always welcome there.

peace. s

Human Doing or Human Being?

Here’s how guilty and ashamed you’ve been made to feel: you now apologize for not working hard enough even when you’re working harder than you ever have. Everything from religion to school grades taught you to feel like a worthless failure, and the notion of penance and guilt motivate you to indirectly brag about your suffering.

When a friend of mine’s boss found out someone lower on the corporate totem pole had bought a car more expensive than his, he immediately set out—not to buy a car he either wanted or needed—but to buy one that was simply more expensive than his underling’s. And 48 Relax and Succeed - Stop the glorification of busywithin a week he had done exactly that. That is not a free person. Not in the slightest. Likewise, where I live people will brag about the cold weather as though their suffering makes up for their guilt. They’ll exaggerate the temperatures, the durations, and the effects all as a way of saying, “yes world, I’m suffering too.” This is First World guilt over having it too good.

Two friends and I have grown up not with a goal to own this or that, or achieve this or that, or become this or that—but all three of us wanted to have a life filled with interesting experiences. Many of our very bright and caring friends told us we were being irresponsible. If I have to leave some job status on the table to get more free time and captivating work, then that’s an easy decision. One thing—impressing people—happens to other people not me. But the other thing–the time for fun and captivating work–is what’ll be going on in my consciousness.

Yes, sometimes life will need you to be busy. Using the example above, two of us are currently working very hard, but for very good reasons that we both feel good about. Sometimes life is like that. But it’s time to stop glorifying suffering. It’s time to start making being happy the cool, hip thing to do. It’s time to trade the tension and waste of energy that machismo is, and hug instead. It’s time to stop backstabbing and gossiping, and instead we should offer compassion and a helping hand.

Egos are busy. They are a mindless spinning activity. Your spirit is calm in its activity. Your spirit is mindful of all that it is experiencing. And it is doing that without the ego’s sense of judgment.

48 Relax and Succeed - Once she stopped rushingStop talking about your busy-ness. Stop working harder to get more stuff you don’t need. Stop judging your life as not good enough. Stop apologizing for wanting to enjoy your own existence. You don’t owe the world anything. It just happens to be that cooperation works better for everyone. But you should pursue that cooperation selfishly, because it makes the experience of your life better.

Change your language. Change what you talk about. Rewire your brain–and collectively the culture’s brain–about where the value in society really is. Because if we think it’s in our wardrobe, hair, furniture, or the amount of time we suffer, then we are doomed. But if we see that we can succeed by relaxing, by needing less, then we truly become free of unnecessary suffering.

Be conscious of what you convey to the world. Be aware that your story is you. Live the person you would most like to be. All it takes is for you to make your decisions consciously.

Enjoy your day.

peace. s