Witness the Present

1097-relax-and-succeed-itis-our-spirit-that-seesYour eyes have so many things they could focus on that it’s actually funny that we think we see at all. I could put a video camera on your head and film every direction your eyes looked, then I could look at the video and discuss literally thousands of things that you couldn’t–because you never saw them. And remember, this is things you looked right at. So maybe you shouldn’t get so angry at referees….

Why can I see so much more than you? Because you have selective senses. You tend to tune down your sense of taste, smell or touch, but while your eyes are fully on, unlike the camera, your mind filters all you see into what you see.

Imagine a large gathering of people. You’re meeting a friend there and they are somewhere random, inside that big group. You would walk up and start looking for their jacket, or maybe their hair. So every person before you suddenly just becomes their hair or their jacket.

1097-relax-and-succeed-give-your-attention-to-the-experienceUnlike me looking at the video later, you can’t tell me what every single person’s eyeglasses looked like or even if they had any. Nor can you tell me if they had a date. Or how old they roughly are. That’s because you were busy looking for hair or a particular jacket. You weren’t seeing; you were looking.

Later, with the ability to freeze time, I can become like a unidirectional God who can see everything–but only from the extremely limited perspective of one point of among billions in the spherical 360 degrees that surround the subject.

My having to freeze time to see all that means that while I was using my now to look at that part of the past, you’d be seeing something happening in the actual present. So you can have now or you can have more, but you can’t have both. Your mind very necessarily needs to filter most of those details so that you can even be a person. The opposite is something like Autism, where filtering is a challenge.

1097-relax-and-succeed-the-present-moment-is-the-only-momentWhat do you see? Amazingly, if you’re in a thinking state of ego you’ll see what your mind is talking about, not what’s there. Remember, you have billions of choices and yet if you’re grumpy all you’ll notice is more things you don’t like. Likewise with things you do like. Your mind sees, not your eyes. Keep your mind clean. Keep it quiet. Let it be present.

In an enlightened state, you can still only have an essentially human perspective. But without the filters of thought you move through the world not through expectation, but rather through noticing. Things occur to you. This is seeing with wisdom. In that state of mind you notice very valuable and pertinent things. Half the time you won’t even know why, but if there were no mysteries for you still to solve what would be the point of living?

In today’s meditation your job is to see, rather than look. Rather than talking to your classmate or coworker or family member as those labels, see them in the present moment. Notice something about them that you have never ever noticed before. If you’re into fashion don’t choose fashion, and likewise for anything else; no optometrists looking at glasses or dentists looking at teeth etc,.

1097-relax-and-succeed-realize-deeply-that-the-presentNotice they have no earlobes, or that their haircut is like another friend’s, or that their eyes are two different colours, or that they’re standing with their weight all on one leg. If you’re in a room, look at the logos for each company carefully for the trademark symbol. See what the pattern is on the actual stitching for the carpet. Take a look at every single icon on your computer desktop.

You’ll likely be terrible at this. You’ll nail it a few times and then forget to truly be present for long chunks of time, and then you’ll realise it and shift back–but that’s okay. During the day, if you’re earnest, you should get better and better. End the day by going into your own bathroom and stare at yourself in the mirror and literally don’t look away until you see something that surprises you. That might take 20 minutes. You’re worth it.

Your mind filters your world. The definition of you is created by the persectives created by those filters. You can’t get past the filters and have a human experience, but you can remember that they’re not reality. And that’s what creates the peace within you. Because you can’t know if anything’s truly good or bad if you’re the only person filtering that particular sliver of reality. Everyone else’s slivers count too. So you can relax your judgments and just be. And that’s perfect, because that state is called peace of mind. Congratulations.

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.

Get Lost

1017-relax-and-succeed-getting-lost-is-not-a-waste-of-timeWhere did you think you were going anyway? Even if you did manage to live your A-List life with no divorce, no cancer, lots of money; you’re still gonna have some bad days. You’re still gonna have problems. But even problems and bad days are just sets of experiences.

Wherever we had them, whoever we had them with, doing whatever we were doing, all we can ever have is experiences. There are no good or bad lives, although I know fashion and celebrity magazines and websites sell the idea that there’s a route through them to the good ones. But what’s a good one?

I’ve got a friend with a five and ten year plan and he never varies from it. It’s gone perfectly. He’ll be able to retire by 40 with everything paid off and lots invested. He’s also a bit uptight, so his wife is bored and the marriage is shaky. I’ve got another friend who travels and he works as a welder when he needs money and he mostly just hangs out with locals visiting until he eventually leaves to meet other people in other places. He’s got a woman in every port and they’re always happy to see him. Each of those guys thinks the other’s life is irresponsible and nuts.

1017-relax-and-succeed-when-you-danceWe can argue freedom versus responsibility but that that’s an ego-argument because in the end both of these people are simply having experiences, the same as you and me. That’s what’s being alive is; having experiences. That’s why you’re only technically alive when you’re in a coma. Your ability to process experiences is greatly reduced. That’s like starvation to your soul. You’re consciousness is a flashlight. What it shines on is what you feel. To stay still is painful stagnation. Otherwise there are no mistakes, there’s only what you shine on.

Most people imagine their spiritual growth as steps up some mystical staircase of wisdom, but in reality it’s not really a gaining of knowledge; our eyes just adjust to the dark and we gain an increased awareness of the world that was always around us, even if it hasn’t been in the spotlight of our attention. The darkness can be made of many things, including everything from traffic rules to ideas about love , and even really strange things like; does it really make sense that a bunch of wildly varied physical types, doing wildly varied amounts of physical activity could all share a common dinner time? That’s an idea, not a thing. Most of our lives are invisible agreements like that.

When we get lost we lose both our certainty and our identity. Forced to live in the moment we wake back up. You might know this feeling if you’re an enthusiastic traveller; when you first get somewhere it’s like your senses are all on steroids. Plus, when you travel no one knows you so your identity is irrelevant. So you’re really awake and aware and you’re not giving much thought to who you are in the world. That sounds like enlightenment. No wonder vacations are so relaxing!

1017-relax-and-succeed-dalai-lamaMost of your suffering is due to being knocked off course. But whose course? What gave you the right to write lives out for everyone you meet? Do they get to do that to you too? Of course you’d hate that. But you have to meditate on this set of facts. If it really is a bad idea you have to let it go. And I mean let it go like; totally surrender the idea as completely unworkable. You can’t have it hanging there like a remote possibility.

You cannot direct the ocean’s waves. The world is too huge and too complex. Our lack of acceptance of that reality binds us to our hopes and dreams and those are what rise to the heights from which our disappointments topple. We’re better to act wisely in a moment of being lost than to be unconscious but on track with some theoretical plan that isn’t taking the present moment into account.

We can catch glimpses of life matching our hopes and then extrapolate that it’s possible to do that with an entire life but those are more the exceptions than the rules. This isn’t to say that life can’t still be awesome and that you can never plan anything, but if your life is rewarding it will become that way because you are consciously building the experience you’re having, not because you’re fumbling the present because you’re busy planning for a later time and a different set of circumstances that will likely never come anyway, (and even if it does the best you can do is enjoy it, which could have been done in the current moment were it not for the planning for later moments).

There is no way, no route, no road, no path. There is only a way of going, and it isn’t happy and it isn’t sad; it isn’t calm and it isn’t excited, it’s just going. It is the act of having experiences. It’s less time than we all think we’ll get, so invest it wisely. By the end of your life, where you’ve been and who you’ve been won’t be nearly as important as how you’ve been.

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.

Healing Animals

932 Relax and Succeed - When I look into the eyes of an animalWe all want to feel better. We all seek solutions to problems or to better ourselves in some way. We want to see life advance and grow and expand and we want to deal with people and situations that will permit or even encourage that growth. We see the challenges associated with money, status and power but we recognize almost none regarding peace.

Peace of Mind is an actual state. You have no resistance, no struggle, no distance, no desire. You are completely fine with the world as it is. You accept it and there isn’t even any classification of things let alone full narratives about them. You are clear and present in the moment–the most peaceful and beautiful place to be.

When we’re locked in ego we’ll tend to try to use ego to get back to peace, which you can’t really do. You can’t try your way into peace you have to relax your way in. It’s an act of letting go. A good example is a young lady who has been walking her dog in front of my house for several years now. She used to be very happy but now she has many problems.

932 Relax and Succeed - Learn a lesson from your dogBack when she’d first got her dog the dog was the center of her life. It got played with in the park, he was always looked at and talked to. Dogs are great because they’re a pack animal that is brilliant at forgiving and it’s like they’re just always waiting for something great to happen. She used to love watching him spot a squirrel or another dog he was excited to see. Now she’s mostly upset.

She’s a teenager now so her parents got her a phone. Presumably this is about connectivity with her family and friends and that’s all understandable and yet, being a tool, she’s learned to think of her tool as her answer instead of herself. So before she had the phone she got half an hour off each evening for a nice peaceful dog walk. Now the dog walks ignored alongside her while she mostly argues with people via her phone via earbuds that block the world out.

Sometimes she walks by talking to someone about some offense she’s experienced, sometimes she’s texting with a worried or angry look on her face. She used to smile and say hello to many neighbours previously, but these little doses of happiness have been forgone in favour of the phone. Those dog walks used to create great happiness within her but now her what’s next? brain is waiting for happiness to be delivered to her via the external world.

932 Relax and Succeed - The vital function that pets fulfillMeanwhile the dog is still there, ignored but very present. He notices the neighbours every time he passes. She can walk past some amazing things and not even notice she’s done it. So the purpose of her wanting the dog was wanting companionship and the dog did that really well. The phone was also a request for increased companionship in a way, but if you were to look at the results the way a scientist would, it seems crazy that the phone would go on the walks because it almost always leads to frustration or worry or sadness whereas the dog never did.

Now she’s locked into an external world where she’s fighting an external battle for status or money or power or love. These are all gains of the ego. Her spirit could easily be happy with just the dog. There’s a lot of evidence that the dog would do the same thing as before if she only paid it some attention. He still has the same demeanour, he still watches her hoping she’ll interact. He still believes in her. It’s her that doesn’t believe in her.

If you have a pet then consider spending more time with it as a spiritual exercise. Watch how the animal reacts to the world relative to you. Watch how you feel when you’re with it. Just like any good guru a dog will always be willing to join you in the moment you are in if you are willing to abandon your thoughts about other places and other times.

Look into your fellow creature’s face. See your old friend there. They’re waiting for you to come to them so they can heal with you. Join them.

pees. 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.

Wanting More

908 Relax and Succeed - It's only your egoWhen people start to work on themselves spiritually or psychologically it is usually because they want to feel better than they currently do. But wanting inevitably involves a time other than now–a time in which you hope to have your want filled. Therefore it is impossible to be in a state of wanting and to simultaneously also be fully present in the now.

People find this easier to grasp when they think of trying to not want foods that aren’t good for them, or from spending too much, or any other thing they’ve done for years. Those are pretty material, physical things that we can imagine doing and stopping. So we can want a million dollars, but we learn if we can’t have it in this moment then we’re better to stop wanting it because the wanting will create our suffering.

908 Relax and Succeed - Remember that sometimesThe trickier wants to prevent and stop are the ones you don’t see as wants. Things like wanting to be loved, wanting to be understood, wanting to understand, wanting to know what happened, wanting to be somewhere else, wanting to be with someone else, wanting to feel better, wanting spiritual growth–these are the ones that eat away at our lives.

Jealousy, envy, comparison, worry, stress, longing, frustration, anger–these all require wanting. Wanting someone to date you instead of someone else, wanting to have a particular waistline, wanting to know who’s getting laid-off, wanting to have your career progress more quickly, wanting something to stop, wanting something to start, wanting a different history or a different future, wanting to be enlightened–these are all just variations on optional suffering.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering simply arises because of our wanting. Modern life, elements of language and the complexities of large-scale social structures have created environments that can leave us feeling inadequate when really we’re just being asked to be good at too many different things.

908 Relax and Succeed - A secret to happinessWe all know people that are good with their hands or others who are great at calculation, or others who are physically strong or brave. Yet we built a world in which each us us is expected to be good at all of these things. This is what ultimately leads to us turning our thoughts against ourselves in our desire to be a version of complete that was never intended by nature. It imagined us working together, not each of us trying to be everything to everyone.

Understandably, under constant stress to be too many things, we either want changes to other people or changes to ourselves. So rather than flow with life and turn our attention to the many gifts life always brings, instead we time travel, scanning and searching our future and past for any damaged caused or potentially caused by our inadequacies. Too few people see avenues of intense interest. Most are navigating through their fears.

Be free instead. Watch for your wanting today. Note how it’s always there when you’re suffering. Remove the desire, remove the want. They’re only made of thoughts. Refocus them elsewhere. It’s really easy. All you have to do is practice. Will you?

Have a wonderful day 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.

Other Perspectives #91

816 OP Relax and Succeed - Forgiveness is a promise

With all due respect, I would like to draw attention to the difference between an ego’s idea of forgiveness and spiritual forgiveness. An ego’s idea is what’s expressed above. It’s a nice sentiment, it’s certainly not a bad thing if you do it, but it asks someone to do something in the future, which doesn’t exist in the healthiest mindspace. You’re always Now. So much like the post on Setting Limits, you cannot set an expectation of the future without risking adding further suffering to your life. On the other hand you can spiritually forgive someone, which has nothing to do with the other person at all. You’re not doing anything for them. You’re saving yourself by only living Now, which means you are not choosing to think about something painful that happened in some ethereal past. If something did happen again and you look past it out of love and forgiveness again, (in that Now), then you’re truly forgiving. So you might “fail” at forgiving one in ten times if you weren’t in a healthy state of mind. But that didn’t mean you failed at forgiving. You just missed being conscious once. And people can appreciate the effort in a nine-out-of-ten. They might even respect you a bit more if they’re occasionally reminded of how much the event hurt you and that it takes spiritual effort on your part to keep it out of your today. No one can demand your forgiveness. But your voluntary choice to leave painful thoughts in the past is something you are always free to do and it does improve all relationships.

peace, s

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

00 Relax and Succeed - Other Perspectives Footer

Fears About Memory

You’ve all done it. You walk into a room and think to yourself, what did I come in here for? Or you’ll forget the name of someone you know well. Or you’ll forget how to do a simple task at work. Sometimes you’ll even look at your taps and wonder which one is the hot one. And people are correct about being concerned about it. They’re right–it is getting worse. But not because Alzheimer’s is running suddenly rampant.

794 Relax and Succeed - We don't rememberLong term and short term memory require you to be present for what it is you’re trying to remember. So what’s this mean for some housewife who leaves the grocery store without the thing she came for? Or the husband who walks down the hall to talk to a co-worker only to forget what he came to talk about? The answer is mindfulness. Presence. It’s to get out of your head and back into your body.

Of course it’s possible you could have some form of dementia and yes the odds increase as you age. But they’re still long odds. It’s far more likely you’re just a victim of the present day and you have too much on your mind. By the time the wife gets to the store she’s thought about a million things. On the way down the hall the husband thinks about who he should ask to play squash next Tuesday, and did he remember to call the furnace guy, and what had that woman said to him earlier? Thoughts thoughts thoughts.

People have never been more forgetful, and there’s signs of this everywhere. When I’m at the store the cashier always asks, did you find everything you were looking for? and of course they all say that because they’re taught to by the research firms that tell them a lot of people would have spent more money if they only remembered what they came for, therefore it is worth it to remind them.

794 Relax and Succeed - Love where you areBecause I know people are very nervous about their memories, when they ask those questions I will often lie and answer that I usually remember when I get home, which will almost always get the people behind me to burst out laughing in understanding. They’ll often comment to confirm how many times they’ve done the same thing.

The truth is I rarely forget anything at the grocery store. I’m more likely to do it in my office where it’s easier to be distracted by things my brain considers more important than shopping for groceries. But when I’m shopping for groceries that’s pretty much all I’m doing. I’m in my body, I can feel the weight of the cans in my hands, I can feel the coldness of this surface versus that, I note the textures on the fruits, the details of the colours on the signs and labels. I’m drinking in the world around me without judgment or thought. It’s just there and I witness it. And that’s the key. The witnessing. If you’re not present you can’t witness, and if you can’t witness then you can’t remember.

Want to get a better memory? Want to worry less about your mind? Then tell it to shut up. After all, it’s just you talking to yourself. It’s not like you don’t know that stuff already. You don’t need to think about it. You can’t multitask, that’s already been proven. So if you can only really do one thing at a time why do you keep trying to do 100? The problem is not that you have 100 things to do, the problem is that you’re not present for the one you’re doing.

794 Relax and Succeed - Don't fill your headHuman culture is becoming addicted to thinking. People have come to see a sea of language as being where they live. It’s why they’ll write Look Up on the sidewalks of major cities. Because people are so lacking in presence that they need to be reminded that they’re on a street and that there are serious dangers present.

You have five senses you’re consciously aware of. Start recombining them back into one holistic experience. Stop all of the commentary, the bitching, the worrying, the wondering–and just be. Just be where you are and do what you are doing. You’ll be calmer, happier, you’ll get more done, you’ll make fewer mistakes, you’ll be more original and you’ll remember it all much better.

There’s a reason you sleep a third of a day. You need time to wire the other two thirds into the rest of your memories. So all you have to do is get a good night’s sleep and keep hydrated enough so your cells will function effectively and you can wire all those memories in and then use them the next day, week, month and year.

794 Relax and Succeed - All you need is lessIt is very unlikely your problem is your brain. It is very likely that you are using your brain in a way that is making you busy-headed. Quiet all the thoughts and connect with your natural environment. You won’t trip, choke, bump or drop things. You will be where your physical self is. And that presence will help your awareness take in more information which can be cross-wired with more information, thereby strengthening the overall fibre of your memory.

Do not panic about losing control of your mind. There are many benefits to mindfulness so take control instead. It is your mind. Use it to be where you are, doing what you’re doing, and then notice how you walk into a room and you do remember what you went in there for because you didn’t divert to do a bunch of thinking in the time it took to walk fifty feet.

Relax. You’re fine. You’ll notice how fine if you quiet your mind and slip into Now. It’s a really awesome place to be alive I look forward to seeing you there. Have an awesome day.

peace. s

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

Tatami Living

Birth. You wake up in a giant room that is so large you cannot see its end in any direction. The ceiling is too high to see and the infinite floor is comprised of simple weaved tatami mats. You’re not sure what direction you’re facing or where you are because your borders are unknown. Where are the walls? Will you live five years? Twenty-three? Forty-six? Seventy-one? 100?

792 Relax and Succeed - A life is but oneYou cannot know if one direction dead ends before another. The concept is too vast for your awareness. The only option is surrender. So what does surrender look like? Surrender is when you forget the room and just look at the next step. Each tatami will connect to many others. Your life is comprised of which ones you choose.

When you are a child you enthusiastically crawl aimlessly and happily across the mats motivated by nothing more than your own sense of self. You live with a sense of wonder about what you don’t know. And you are most often happy.

Eventually you are taught ideas. You learn concepts from other people like right and wrong and so you think you need to start to plan for the future. The very act of planning leads you to believe that such a future will exist. It is assumed there will be no deadly car accidents, no falls into a wheelchair, or divorces or just points where you’re just plain exhausted. You ignore those possibilities and start to think you can outthink the room itself.

792 Relax and Succeed - Remember the entrance doorYou start to believe you can beat this thing. That you can be smart enough, play your cards well enough, choose the right path through the tatami and somehow you’ll be saved from the wall. Maybe it’s being rich or being popular or maybe pious. And that belief leads you to come to expect certain outcomes, and an attachment to outcomes and expectations is not a healthy sign for your advanced spirituality. It is where disappointment is born.

Maybe you decide in your thoughts that you want no debt. Or more money. Maybe a better body. A boyfriend? Nicer boss? Nicer car? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you forget the tatami you’re on and you start imagining one a long way away. And to get there you follow the instructions of others who have been there or claim to know where it is. Except they too have no idea where they started or what direction they were facing or where their borders were. So while their path may have worked for them you will have to do it originally. You cannot follow their path to get to their destination. Your path is yours and your destination is yours–unless you surrender it to egocentric desire.

It is fine to have a tatami preference and to choose to spend some time there when you find it, but searching for it means missing out on everything else. If your mind is on that destination tatami then it is not on the tatami you are on now. And that’s important because you need the real you to steer that other you so you can discover the tatami you’re looking for. Not find it. Discover it.

792 Relax and Succeed - Meditation nirvana silenceIt’s like a friend who spent half a day mixing paint trying to get the exact colour of orange she was imagining. She saw a fellow artist in the studio had mixed the exact tone. When she asked him how he found it he simply told her, I just kept mixing until I saw something that made me stop.

If you want to be a success in the ego world you know how. I know people whose bookshelves are filled with books on making money. That information is all over the place. Work hard, work smart, invest, be better, or marry rich, cheat, commit a crime–there’s many ways to get material success. But there’s loads of people with that success that killed themselves so that obviously can’t be the answer everyone’s really looking for. Who cares if you walk into the wall in Ralph Lauren if you’re miserable?

The happiest people I know are the ones who are still like children–they have no plan. Many are fantastically successful in the traditional sense too but that was never their aim. That wasn’t where they were trying to get. It was where they ended up after taking the steps they found rewarding. So you can plan to date someone or hope to earn this or that, but the happy people are foregoing planning for living. They simply looked around them and their next move is toward the most appealing tatami. It isn’t a step on the way to somewhere. That tatami is an experience unto itself. It should be chosen for itself.

792 Relax and Succeed - Nature does not hurrySo what’s all this tatami stuff mean in your real life? It means you want to avoid putting your career before your kids because your boss won’t visit you when you’re dying but your kids might (if you step on some loving mats). It means don’t waste singledom by waiting to date. Don’t squander extra meditation and calm-time by calling it waiting. It is just time. All else is a value judgment made using your thoughts.

So you don’t have to calculate which path is best. You don’t have to study and name and classify every tatami. All you have to do is look at the mats immediately in front of you and pick the one that is the easiest to appreciate as being worthwhile.

Forget where the walls are. Forget trying to beat the room. Forget trying to climb or race or achieve. Forget trying to get anywhere specific. It’s the how, not the where. Just be on the tatami you are on and step to the tatami that feels appealing next. All the rest is truly pointless rumination.

Have fun.

peace. s

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

Intentional Living

It’s procrastination. Maybe it’s caused by a fear. Or maybe there’s things you avoid just because they’re hard to do. And yet so many of these things still need to be done. As Bob Dylan pointed out, no matter who you are you’ll be serving somebody. So how do you do it?

783 Relax and Succeed - Live today not yesterdayFirst off, recognize procrastination as an addiction. Your brain gets good at anything it does a lot of, so if you procrastinate you’ll have wired yourself up to do so effectively. That being the case the first thing you have to accept is that it will feel uncomfortable when you first start using different and initially more cumbersome thought structures.

Your brain will tilt you toward your old self. It’ll want to use those old pathways. Expect that. You’ll even lose the battle a few times at the start. But the more you practice doing something else the more you practice being someone else.

So how do you conduct this practice? You must live very intentionally. And it is useful to do so in such a way that you are wiring the concept of presence into every aspect of your thinking. You don’t want to just trick your way past something–you want to become more conscious about what forms your reality.

783 Relax and Succeed - The best time to plant a treeLet’s say you have a large project. Let’s use me as an example. I’ve been so busy working that a lot of administrative tasks have been left far too long and it’s now a horribly large pile that it’s easy to be intimidated by. I also have to learn some new software in a new program category so that threatens to be daunting, and it’s autumn and so I have certain responsibilities to my yard and house. As with most adults, all of these things are far past the dates I planned to get them done but hey–life can throw us some pretty amazing curve balls so I’ll waste no time thinking my way through a bunch of what-ifs.

So I have a big pile of boring paper and tax stuff, learning new software and a lot of yard and housework to catch up on. I can think that into a pile so big that I could find a reason to have lunch every day of the week just to avoid having to dive into it. But sensing that resistance I do my utmost to stay focused on the section of moments that I’m experiencing and nothing else. This becomes hyper-conscious intentional living.

783 Relax and Succeed - Just live your lifeAs previously noted, it can feel strange to do at first, but as you get used to it it becomes something quite natural. What it looks like is this: I break down my day into the smallest level of tasks that I can and I focus on strictly those. So after waking up all I will do is walk downstairs. My next intentional thought might be to fill the kettle then turn it on. That’s it. Nothing else. That small.

I endeavour to do exactly that with great awareness. I feel the weight of the kettle, the temperature of the handle, the scent of the air around me. But as soon as I detect any thoughts I refocus on my task and I stop giving that flow of thoughts my energy. I just fill the kettle then turn it on. And then I go to my next task.

Get two teabags. Yep. That’s it. Nothing more. Then place them in the teapot. That is all. Start the kettle and tidy the kitchen until it boils. Again–any time I sense my thinking is starting to roll away I take the energy away from that self-conversation and apply it to my task. Of course this will feel strange at first but slowly you will see what it feels like to be more aware. You will learn the difference between your ego self and your quiet self.

783 Relax and Succeed - Mind Full or mindfulThis process should continue on for most of the day. Note that in those instructions there is no “you.” There is no place for your thought-based opinion, there is only the action. Do that each day for long enough and suddenly it becomes natural to live in the moment. This is what it is to be mindful. You want your mindful of the world around you, not have a mind full of your own thoughts. Those only cloud our vision. Those are an illusion.

If you truly want to live differently become aware. It will make life easier, more enjoyable and more rewarding. Just remember: one thing at a time. Even the biggest task in the world is accomplished one thing at a time. Just focus on that one thing and peace will be with you.

Enjoy your day.

peace. s

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

Other Perspectives #79

Now this is a subtle one. Simply put: no. Sorry to steal your romantically motivated sense of kismet but there are no people you are supposed to meet. Or, put differently, everyone you meet you’re supposed to meet. You have free will. Yes this universe has some laws, rules or forces that shape its existence but within that you always maintain free will. In the real Now there is no subject and object–there is no you–so you can’t want, need or recognize anything as belonging to you. If we choose to surrender our free will then our life can become an unconscious repetition of patterns that could create a sense of destiny without there being any real destiny there. Yes, look for value in the interactions with everyone you meet. But your soulmate is every other aspect of this universe. If you think your life satisfaction is tied up in a relationship then you don’t understand how connected you become with everything and everyone once you learn to drop your sense of filtering everything through an egocentric personal identity with personal desires.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, mindfulness instructor and communications facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations around the world.

The Scientific God

692 Relax and Succeed - I searched for GodCan I find a place in the universe where someone who believes in God and someone who believes in science could both see the world and each other entirely comfortably? I believe if people were open to it I can. But I have to take them to a very special, very specific place. Paradoxically it is also every place. And that’s what makes it Godly.

Forget the idea of an old guy with a beard who is separate from you and judgmental toward you. I’m not talking to religious people. Very few of them believe in Michelangelo’s metaphor or that anyone flew into the sky for three days. He was a weak translation for what in the original Hebrew was a word something like Is-Be. But most religious people aren’t tortured by a fear of a supernatural God, they’re tortured by their egos just like non-religious people. Scientific people too-often have overly condescending attitudes toward religious people. They assume they’re entirely unscientific when there’s lots of scientists who are also religious. It’s the logical person will make the mistake of believing that the most outrageous newsworthy examples on TV mean that every religious person thinks that their religion’s metaphor’s are to be taken literally.

692 Relax and Succeed - People don't realizeSo starting with a blank slate, with no one judging anyone’s dedications, what would a religious person want God to be? That’s pretty easy. Everything. All-powerful. Nothing happens without God. God is the creator. Okay. So is there a scientific place or thing in the universe where creation begins, somewhere or something that is everything and all-powerful? Ooh. Turns out there is.

There is a moment you’ve heard a lot about. It’s called Now but as much as you might watch the former physicist Eckhart Tolle’s talks and read his books, most people wonder if they’ll ever experience the sensation of living in that moment. But you have felt it. You just didn’t have a way to account for it while you were in that state of mind. No one’s taught you to call that feeling Now. Any time you lose track of time you’ve experienced Now. When you get a great idea out of seemingly nowhere—again, that’s Now. That’s where all those answers are.

You know when you’re with friends and someone says something in a delicate conversation and everyone’s silent reaction is, Oh dude, no. That was not the thing to say. Everyone can feel that the guy shouldn’t have said whatever it was. They know. How? Because they have let themselves be close to God. They have let themselves be close to Now. They know.

692 Relax and Succeed - You are the universeBoth scientists and religious people are quite comfortable with an infinite universe, so clearly our future is infinite. If the future is infinite then how did everyone know the dude shouldn’t have said what he said? He had infinite choices. How can they all be sure that’s the right one? Because in the Now you have the only place in the universe where two things are—the past and the future.

The only place you can find 100% of the universe’s history is Now. Any time before Now and you’re missing some information. And Now is also where you are right on the edge of your infinite future—where you have access to anything. But how can you possibly choose? Fortunately, the world before us chose certain mathematical patterns and we unwittingly chose to live within them. That’s why Fractals exist. We thought math showed us that everything made sense but then modern math and physics started to suggest other universe’s with different rules. So what makes a choice feel right—the reason the friends knew the dude shouldn’t have said what he said—was it’s misalignment with the universe we’re currently living in.

692 Relax and Succeed - The most beautiful thingSo in this strange sense there is no such thing as good and bad as we tend to think of it, but that alignment with the universe still has what Robert Pirsig called Quality, and that definition can easily fit inside most religions. Likewise the science of Now—the place you find this alignment with God—is where creation begins. It is where the waveform of potential collapses into the a particle of existence. Meaning every part of the universe is actively being the universe. Including you.

I’m not sure if that’s completely confusing to you and that it just seems remarkably sensible to me because I already know what it means, but that description feels like a pretty straightforward explanation to me. I’ll let you judge for yourself, but in the end you don’t really want an intellectual understanding of it anyway. You don’t need a description of enlightenment you want enlightenment itself. And so you have to surrender wanting to know. Knowing is a verb, there’s no way or place to go get it.

Every truly talented fashion designer, architect, musician or industrial designer would know the feeling of Now. That is precisely where they try to hover… not settling on any reality… living with the infinite nature of wave potential until they feel drawn toward something that they will use to convert all of those waves of possibility into a particle of existence within the logic of the universe of our understanding. If it wouldn’t fit our understanding we simply wouldn’t perceive it.

692 Relax and Succeed - We are one speciesOnce a creation exists it immediately becomes a study-able, historical thought (or sometimes eventually even a thing, like a paint colour) that you can revisit and re-analyze and improve. The moment after an artist discovers their creation it becomes a part of the past, locked and solid and unchangeable except to be a wholly new version of itself as a revised draft, in a new Now. So your ego lives in the past and discusses creations and it and tries to wish things turned out differently but that’s crazy. You can’t fix the past. Life is out front in the Now—where creation happens. There you can act to change your life so that your new past can look more like a record of the Nows you were really looking for. But all of those choices—all of those prayers get answered in the Now.

What lies behind you is unimportant. The out-of-sync decisions made from an ego headspace do not hinder the infinite nature of your future. God is all-powerful and has infinite choices available. No matter what has happened any future is possible. You just have to be willing to not-know so that you can feel you way toward knowing. Like a scientist looking for a hypothesis, you need to trust the universe that something of value is out there for you so that you can grab it when you recognize it, and through you it can realize creation.

God is all things. The universe is all things. Everything has its origins. But everything is both from the past as well as being from the infinite future. But the Present Moment is the only place where both sources exist. That is why it’s where creation happens. That is where you use the power of the God-Universe to snap the reality of your choice into existence within the world of your consciousness. And so goes the miracle of your life.

Much Love.

Or, if you’re the scientific type:

Much Dopamine, Oxytocin, Vasopressin and Testosterone. 😉

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.