Create More Unity in Your Community

1247 Relax and Succeed - If you want others to be happyWe evaluate, we name, we label, we judge, we value. Totally lost in ego, we use words like truth to represent what is really only our personal view. Reacting more to our own thoughts about things than the things themselves, we seek to remove all of our opportunities for personal growth by removing any and all offending ideas from our daily experience.

Is it any wonder that the world feels fractured when most individuals are walking through it with the constant urge to subdivide it down into groups rather than behaviours? How does it help to either subdivide or be angry at the perpetrator of domestic violence for instance? To be angry is to add even more negativity. It’s fine as an initial response, but once that washes over us our job isn’t to have a personal emotional reaction, it’s to do something constructive for our community.

Unity is created in a community when people from all walks of life can feel safe that they will be met with compassion and understanding when they’re struggling. That means the wealthy elderly lady walking her dog is equal to the strapping young man with the sort of childhood that leads him to be violent. People find it easy to be sympathetic to the little old lady even though (like every human being), she’s certain to have done some truly terrible things in her life. But our personal speculation about her will often be quite generous.

1247 Relax and Succeed - There are too many of usMeanwhile we have difficulty expressing compassion for a fearful or angry young man with equal challenges and his own set of mistakes. Our job isn’t to look at his clothing and terms of speech and his behaviour and then evaluate him, label him as an offender and his wife as a victim, and then dole out our compassion according to those judgments. Our job is to care about each of them in conjunction with their relationship.

To help we need to understand what in his life would lead him to be violent, and what in her life would lead her to stay for that violence. Our initial judgments are uninformed and useless. They happen inside our head. Even if they do externalize, they’re often just as ugly as what they’re judging.

The world does not benefit from our thoughts, it benefits from our actions. And that action should not be to judge and divide people into good or bad groups, our role is to support anyone struggling, whatever that struggle may look like. Right now, people are inclined to hate the very people that they should be loving the most.

1247 Relax and Succeed - Look out for each other

When we’re unhealthy and locked in ego we’re going to talk about how bad things are and who needs to change. We’ll start filling our social media with angry recriminations of this or that group, or we level this or that judgment about this or that social media post; or we comment on the news, on the behaviour of athletes, and politicians, and celebrities, and on and on and on. Meanwhile children watch us make those judgments, and we pass on to them a world more ever more steeped in the useless egocentric personal views that populate most people’s social media.

Those children deserve to see us offer them examples of where we find our own way past a negative judgment to find some positive sort of action, but instead we offer them endless examples of our judgments of how the world should be, or how it’s supposed to be. Even most television shows now involve someone actively judging someone else in a way that actually determines that person’s fate. It’s all built to appeal to our egos, not the unifying best that is at the heart of who and what we are.

We all have to drop that arrogance. It’s not our job, nor does any one of us know enough to be able to singularly know what the right answer is in any situation. We all need to stop casting judgments and making suggestions, and we all need to start getting to know our enemies better. We have to move toward the people we dislike the most, because the conflict is happening within us, not in the larger external world.

1247 Relax and Succeed - Compassion is a verbIt is we who must lower our sense of right and wrong and instead ask how we can help situations traverse the distance from tense and unpleasant to calm and rewarding. Remember, every time you either consistently negatively judge, or universally accept another person, you are engaged in the very deepest and most destructive state of ego. That’s like failing to throw a life preserver so you can instead scream at a drowning person about how they should have learned to swim many years ago. It’s cruel and it does not serve the larger community.

As Roger Waters said, (it doesn’t just apply to formal schooling), “We don’t need your education, we don’t need your thought control.” Indeed. Stop putting bricks of judgment between you and others. If you want to prove you’re developing spiritually, try tearing down your own wall, be vulnerable, and connect. Because while your judgments only serve to make the world worse, you compassion is the glue that can hold a society together through it’s most difficult times.

Trade in your judgments. Be a positive, constructive spiritual citizen in your community. If everyone learns how to do that, then when it’s us that’s struggling, we too will benefit from the compassion of those around us. Let’s all take immediate action to improve ourselves and the world in this way. I do hope you’ll join me.

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 #45

558 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - Kill them with success

…or here’s an idea: how about if you’re spiritually mature and you don’t kill, maim, injure, or otherwise hurt someone else’s psyche so that your ego can gloat? How about if you realize that other people’s gains are not your losses any more than your losses are their gains. If you want to succeed do it because that’s your nature—what you truly want to do. Because if you’re letting other people dictate your behaviour unconsciously then you’re their slave—you’re living a life dictated by them. Your life is in opposition to theirs and, as this quote states it, you won’t feel better until your levels are reversed, where you feel you can look down on them. This isn’t spiritually advanced. This is childish. Life is rewarding, but at times it can be very hard. If someone wasn’t decent enough to help you up when you were down don’t compound the problem by doing the same thing right back to them—Don’t even wish for that. Because wishing or doing; they’re both alive in your consciousness as experiences and wanting someone to suffer is not at all a part of wise, respectable and quality spiritual existence. I hope you will join me in having compassion and support as your driving forces in life. I can vouch for the fact that it leads to a much better life than the vast majority of what I see happening around me.

peace. s

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Note: Everyone who posts or shares a quote does so with the very best of intentions. That said, I have created the series of Other Perspectives blog posts in an effort to prevent some of these ideas from entering into people’s consciousness unchallenged. These quotes range from silly to dangerous and—while I intend no offense to their creators—I do use these rebuttals to help define and delineate the larger message I’m attempting to convey in my own work. I do hope you find them helpful in your pursuit of both psychological and spiritual health.

Liars

I dropped into a coffee shop near my home where there were four ladies seated together. The only other open seat was right next to them. I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation, but I would have preferred it if that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t the sort of talk I enjoy.

439 Relax and Succeed - When someone is nastyIt involved four grown women that ranged in age from late twenties to maybe fifty. They all worked together and the “boss” lead the group in a discussion about what a bad person so-and-so was and that made it okay that they were going to misrepresent her in an effort to get her transferred or fired. The most civilized thing they said was that they wouldn’t out and out lie—but they would flex the truth to the point where the other person very likely misunderstood.

So what do you do if you’re the victim of such an attack? Okay, let’s first look at what you control. Do you control their behaviour? No. Do you control what other people think about you? No. So why are we even having this discussion? Look, I’m sorry that this stuff hurts when it happens, and I’m fully aware that there can be “unfair” and very painful social prices associated with such attacks, but as long as this isn’t career sabotage or violence, this is just a part of living in society for all of us. Unlike the fairy tales we get taught in school and exposed to by our parents, this is the real world. And it’s just fine. In fact it’s amazing. You just have to be able to see it. But to do that you have to surrender.

People will say things whether they are true or not. But that doesn’t mean other people believe them. Bottom line, everyone creates their own sense of reality with their thoughts. Everyone will have an opinion because that’s all an individual is: a collection of opinions. Opinions about food, about identity, about culture, about history, about conduct and ethics, etc. etc. And that view colours every single thing we intake. Which is why you cannot even hope to control what other people think of you even if you are the most powerful person on Earth.

439 Relax and Succeed - Take others opinions lightlyI’ve had an extreme example of this sort of situation happen to me so I have a lot of familiarity with the kinds of feelings that can emerge. It packs quite a wallop. Most people find the hardest part is that it shakes their faith in their ability to trust overall. Because when someone you trust so easily changes their opinion of you without even giving you a chance to defend yourself, you’re suddenly left realizing that they did not have the same commitment to you that you had to them and you wonder about your judgment in having a one-sided friendship like that. This is usually extremely humbling. Add to this the fact that the sudden change in your daily domestic life can be very jarring and painful and it’s one of life’s bigger experiences to traverse.

It feels strangest at the start. You used to have coffee with person A, B and C, but now because of the lies they won’t go with you so you have to experience the awkward feelings of creating a new pattern for coffee breaks or whatever. But that’s just life. No need to worry about that. For all you know your new coffee partner becomes a best friend. There are seven billion people on the planet and the vast majority are awesome potential friends, so we don’t really have to harbour attachments to those that are gone. Don’t be lonely, replace the time with lost friends with time with new people. You’ll even find that you’re better at choosing friends based on character more than interests, and that generally creates a richer exchange between you and them.

My heart goes out to anyone experiencing this, but it’s just a part of life with language. There’s so many routes to happiness in life there is no need to use words to give any thought to the few stories that will close you off from experience. Your salvation—your freedom—lies in your ability to choose from a fantastic number of paths through life. Every moment is a decision—a choice. But we get so focused on wanting something specific that we start to get attached to it and then we expect it. Do these words seem familiar? Like Buddhism-familiar? That’s because that’s what we’re talking about here.

439 Relax and Succeed - What you think of yourselfYou have to let go of your attachment to your expectation of what people will think of you or others. We were always wrong anyway. We just lie to ourselves that what we think of ourselves is what other people think of us too. For all we know someone’s bad stories could be improving some people’s views of us. Lots of people smile at people’s faces and then stab them in the back the moment the person turns around. That’s just people. And that’s always been happening to us too. Your job isn’t to dispel anything, it’s to accept that this is the true nature of reality and the best course of action is simply ignoring all of the stories as insignificant because in general that is what they are.

Forget your reputation. Just go be yourself and the people truly worth impressing will notice the real you anyway. Just breathe out any ugliness. There is nothing to be gained by thinking about it. Simply live your life. Don’t surrender a bunch of time to fighting ghosts. Your life is worth too much for that. Don’t worry about things you only you imagine. Focus on the verb of your life.

peace. s

Kicking Habits

We have a Nun on my ladies soccer team and I’m sure she’s got a good heart but she is driving us all crazy. She’s a wonderful woman in many ways but she is constantly telling us about how hard her life is and how unfortunate she is. To us she keeps describing a pretty normal life. She just bitches about hers a million times more than anyone else. How do we make it stop before we all hate her. We play outdoors and we don’t want to get hit by lightning.

signed,
Kicking Habits

Dear Kick,

🙂 I liked the lightning joke. You must be excited about the World Cup. Good for you for playing a team sport and for staying active and healthy. And I appreciate you sending in the question but it’s challenging because we’re talking about changing someone elses behaviour and they’re not in this conversation—unless you’re planning on leaving this in her stall in the dressing room? Yes, maybe you can influence her, but I would ask, why not be direct?418 Relax and Succeed - Kindness has a beautiful way

Personally I would just talk directly to her. Why not? The whole motivation is to stay close to her and like her. Why would someone be offended that someone else wanted to know how they could accomplish that? And frankly, if she is that negative maybe you can be a catalyst for personal change and spiritual growth for her. But right now you and everyone else is just being dishonest. You’re looking at her and smiling and you’re giving her all of the social signals that she’s succeeding and yet in truth she is failing but cannot do anything about it because no one has even told her it’s happening.

If you do or say nothing then you’ll eventually grow to despise her. Who wants to listen to negativity all the time? To avoid that happening I would simply say something along the lines of, “Grace, I need to talk to you about something delicate. It’s delicate because your feelings may be hurt and I don’t like that idea at all. But if I don’t say anything I’ll like what happens even less. Grace I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, but it’s quite pronounced to the rest of us that you’re extremely negative. You’re always sick, sore, worried, over-worked, disrespected, and unlucky. You are constantly lamenting your existence. It seems odd for a nun to have such a bleak view of the world. Almost everything you say is a complaint or a request for sympathy and the rest of us are finding it exhausting.

I don’t want to speak for others but I’m extremely confident that most people you meet would quickly be aware of this quality. It’s quite a downer. But I don’t want you mistaking this behaviour with anyone not liking you as a person. The whole reason no one wants to tell you this is because they’re afraid your feelings would be hurt and no one wants that. You are fine as a human being. But it’s just a simple fact that this constant claim on so much suffering negates the experiences of the people around you. [Obviously, use your own real examples:] Rose’s mother has Alzheimer’s, Linda’s and her husband just broke up, and Hilda’s youngest got diagnosed with cancer. But even though you’re a nun you never ask them about their lives or ask if you can help with their issues. You always download yours on top of the ones 418 Relax and Succeed - Lonely Angry Depressedthey already have. I’m sorry to be so blunt Grace, but it seems quite cruel when it happens. And I simply can’t believe a nice person like you would be doing that consciously. 

Grace, are you sure you’re not locked into a negative frame of mind where you’re thinking about your own troubles too much? What percentage of your conversations are about hardship or pain or suffering? Because if there’s a lot of time spent with negative things then your psychological, physical and spiritual health will suffer. Is there any way I can help, or is there a way your spiritual life can contribute to resolving this? Because we can’t just leave it like this Grace. People will grow to hate you and that’s ridiculous because you’re a nice person. So what do we do?

Keep in mind this will be brutal for her to hear. I feel for her already. It’ll feel like a Pele-bicycle-kick to the stomach. It’s a world-view-changer. Those are pretty huge. So go with her to wherever she needs to go. Guilt, apologies, tears, angerif she yells at you or if she runs away and needs space then okay. Whatever. Just be present in that moment and be the caring person you naturally are and you will be fine. Just don’t over-think it. Tell her the truth and then let the universe percolate. You’ve done a loving act. Still, maybe she’ll hate you. But even if she does, you might not get many nice passes in soccer from her, but at least you won’t have to listen to her either. 😉

418 Relax and Succeed - Lifehas no remoteYou can endure what you’re enduring and slowly grow to hate her but that feels pretty inactive. Why not make your life good by making the kind of choices that will naturally lead it to being better? Be conscious. Be open. Be honest. And then let the chips fall where they may. There are many routes to happiness for all of us. Your route doesn’t necessarily have to have a super sad nun on it.

Good luck, and good for “Grace” for having friends that care. Big hugs for both of you.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #13

366 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - Live without pretending

Note: Everyone who posts or shares a quote does so with the very best of intentions. That said, I have created the series of Other Perspectives blog posts in an effort to prevent some of these ideas from entering into people’s consciousness unchallenged. These quotes range from silly to dangerous and—while I intend no offense to their creators—I do use these rebuttals to help define and delineate the larger message I’m attempting to convey in my own work. I do hope you find them helpful in your pursuit of both psychological and spiritual health.