Other Perspectives #96

If all that you did this week was read all five blogs and do the small exercises in each one, you most certainly moved yourself closer to the most important goal we all face; understanding. The journey is taken in small steps. Becoming conscious isn’t difficult, but it does require us to very intentionally focus our attention on that development.

1221 OP Relax and Succeed - Do not interruptWith absolutely no offense intended toward whoever created the original meme, I would suggest you do precisely the opposite; hence my “X”. I can think of fewer easier, faster ways to develop a quiet mind than to raise your awareness of invading thoughts.

Today, see your mind as a vessel that you will fill with the world around you. Don’t listen as yourself; listen to your world not out of habit but out of keen awareness. Don’t see it the same way either; don’t treat rooms like visual funnels. Look at familiar spaces in strange or unusual ways and the world will occupy your mind. Try new foods, pay attention to your sense of touch. Fill the vessel of your mind with the outside world. Use this to drown out your own internal egotistical thoughts about self.

Fill your mind with the world around you and drown out your internal conversations. That’s all you have to do to grow spiritually and to gain psychological control. Strangely, both things are far more practical and ordinary than we tend to believe. And they aren’t even difficult to reach. Which in a way proves that these dramas are ones we’ve chosen. Because even if we’re offered a way out, most of us choose to stay on the roller coaster anyway.

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.


People’s egos will read this quote by the Buddha and they will primarily imagine themselves in the role of the fool who probably already has their answers but they’re just too dumb to be able to see them. Fine, if you’re living with more ego than you want then the last part does define you, therefore it’s irrelevant to getting you where you’re going. That means it’s the first part of the statement you should be focusing on. There’s your lesson from the Buddha.

“Does the spoon taste the soup?” Where does experience happen and to whom? A body can be said to have senses but when you’re anaesthetised at the hospital they put your brain to sleep because that’s where we imagine the dance of experience takes place. The anaesthesia interrupts your thoughts and without those there is no you to have an experience. The idea of you only emerges through the duality of the body and mind, but if these are made One there is no source and no delivery. The act of acceptance isn’t to be yourself and accept or reject some other thing, it’s to lose your sense of self and become One with the experience, making the question largely irrelevant from the new perspective.

996-relax-and-succeed-if-a-tree-falls-in-the-forestThe famous philosophical question about a tree falling in a forest is also a question about duality. It doesn’t have an answer in the classical sense, instead there is an understanding  that manages to flatten the riddle by taking a 1D view over a 2D question.

It might be easier at first to imagine the tree falling and sound waves departing its location and then they strike an eardrum. You can see how sound is dependent on a duality? It is a wave until it strikes a receiver that can turn it into a “particle” of sound. But what if “you” were there but you weren’t using thought to separate yourself from reality? Can you see there could still be the experience within a state of oneness but there would be no separate parts? There wouldn’t be things happening there would just be reality. Before we divided the world with words there were no waves there was only the ocean.

The point isn’t to be smart and figure out a riddle, the point is to stop creating oneself and simply be with reality. You’re supposed to flow, not imagine yourself as a molecule of water asking another molecule of water if they know what a river is. You don’t need to know the river you need to be the river.

996-relax-and-succeed-we-all-know-that-when-we-bringTribes who still live the old ways don’t have separate senses. They don’t hear, feel, see, smell and taste life, they experience it. It is one whole to them and they too are a part of that whole. If life were a giant collage on a church floor you’d be asking about the individual pieces and the native would only see the whole. They couldn’t even discuss it as pieces because that would require a sense of separateness from the experience. They would have to leave reality to become separate enough to name the parts and then discuss their interactions with other separate people-parts. Meanwhile in reality, where everything is one, creation would still be there chugging along in the background.

It’s funny, because it’s really so remarkably simple. Little kids do this every day without ever knowing that the words and ideas that we will teach them will divide reality up enough until they’ll eventually have a separate self that they can approve or disapprove of. And I don’t think you need me to tell you about that. That often belittling self is probably what motivated you to read this in the first place. 🙂

I know Virtual Reality is currently the rage, but contrary to what’s popular I would encourage you to get yourself a 1D view on life, because that view is the one that truly sees all.

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.

Other Perspectives #87

796 OP Relax and Succeed - HerI wouldn’t doubt that there’s a boyfriend version of this. And it would be just as foreboding as this one is. From a mental health perspective this represents the behaviour of someone who’ll end up suicidal if they’re not careful. The second panel is fine: it’s great that when we’re with any other human being if we’re quiet-minded and present with them. It’s the first panel–girlfriend or no girlfriend–that indicates the most unhealthy behaviour there is. No other people or situations or events can force us to think anything. It is us and always us. You make you think. You can forget you have that control but you never lose it. Your thoughts are like a bicycle. If no one peddles them they don’t go anywhere. Maturity is when we stop using words in our heads to blame the world or our parents or the bullies in our lives or ourselves for our troubles. Every life has challenges and everyone gets knocked down badly. And at the same time, everything changes, so you’ll never be permanently down. So don’t respond to life by sitting still and thinking negatively. The answer to a loving, peaceful life is the same as it always is: have a quiet mind and be appreciative. Overthinking is unhealthy in any situation, so if the only time you’re peaceful is when you are with your partner then you need to learn to take better control over your own thoughts. Do that and you will have empowered yourself in the very best way possible.

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

Humans Racing

Everyone’s looking for relief. People used to want to find themselves or get enlightened. Today those things are merely byproducts of just finding some much-needed relief. We just need a break. For the pressure to be off. To get a moment of peace. Sheesh.

754 Relax and Succeed - Life moves pretty fastBut the world just keeps coming. The older you get the more you can relate to street people. Giving up can often look pretty appealing to an overworked Mom or Dad caring for both children and aging parents. Highly paid executives look at barista’s and think they have a great job because it doesn’t go home with them. But the barista can’t pay the executive sized prices in today’s world so he has peace of mind at work, but when he goes home he’s stressed about money plus he has no social life.

So we desperately seek. We look for solace. For comfort. For quiet. For peace. For acceptance–despite the fact that we’ve ducked out of the pressure and are sitting still. It’s not uncommon for my student/clients to come to me guiltily, as though taking time away from their overload of responsibilities to look after themselves is somehow treasonous to the human race. But they come anyway because they just can’t stand a life that just seems like a stream of obligations with almost no room for the person at the heart of it all.

You’re not wrong. Hyper consumerism has turned every moment of the day into a sales opportunity. Your phone used to be for your friends to call but even before cell phones we had all stopped because answering them because we were screening for telemarketers. Ads are on every surface asking us to do this or noting how we’re deficient in that. Your phone essentially removes your privacy because yes you can choose to not answer it, but there’ll be a price for that.

754 Relax and Succeed - The cells in your bodyAnd we just keep thinking and thinking and thinking–what is the way out of this? But in a weird way, we’re only adding to the problem with all of that. Think of thoughts as cells. They can divide and multiply to create amazing new ideas and experiences. But they can also be used to attack ourselves, others, or the state of the world in some way. But if we do that we are letting the cells multiply without control because if it was in control, why would we choose such overwhelmingly negative subjects to think about? So if we’re on long negative periods then we are allowing our thoughts to eventually lower themselves to low ground. There they mix with other negative thoughts and they start bouncing off each other and before you know it the negativity has grown.

That much thinking is like cells that are out of control. This is that spinning, frenzied, anxious thinking that you have to be anywhere but where you are. That much thinking is like cancer. It takes perfectly good space in your body and refills it with something damaging. In one case it’s out-of-control cells and in the other it’s out-of-control thoughts, but either way the effect is eventually the same–the repetitive action starts to have a debilitating effect on the person doing the thinking.

754 Relax and Succeed - The mind is its own placeI remember about 15 years or so ago there was the beginning of a bunch of studies that surprised many in the medical community when it showed that it wasn’t sick people that got depressed, but rather depressed people that got sick. It opened up a whole new area of research that has lead to the increasing popularity of positive intervention therapies, which have in turn proven to be much more effective than those used previously.

You don’t make the problems of the world go away by thinking about them. You don’t make your personal problems go away by thinking about them. Think when it’s fun and useful. But you really should maintain a general idea during the day of what you’re using your thoughts for. Because if it’s for reasoning something where reason applies, great. But if it’s just churning negativity on issues where you have no control then at least control what you do control–the direction of your thoughts.

Stay conscious. Life isn’t that hard once we learn to keep a closer eye on the choices we make all day long. Make this a day of even just slightly more conscious, slightly better choices. Do that each day and you’ll be amazed where you end up.

peace. s

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

Miss Understood

Maybe you’re overweight and other girls teased you. Or maybe it was that you’re uncoordinated. Or was it your hair, or shoes or the clothes your parents bought? Maybe it was what you ate, an accent, or a nose, or ears or your teeth? Maybe you were Polish or maybe you were from Ghana or Ecuador. Maybe you were even really pretty and they hated you for that. And let’s not forget the most important stuff: all of the many, many things you’ve said and done that you truly wish had never happened. Bottom line, no matter how you live, everyone 644 Relax and Succeed - Life is really simplegets hated.

That in and of itself is an unpleasant experience that reminds us that belonging to a tribe is important to our well-being and so by being an unpleasant experience, being hated reminds us that it is generally better to make friends. With connections comes peace and security and joy and love. But we mustn’t go so far as to suggest that there’s something wrong if you’re disliked or even hated. As I’ve noted before, there’s people that hate the Dalai Lama and Gandhi was shot. Hated is just part of the deal. And the more you’re you, the more connected you will be to most people, but you will also grow quite unlikeable to others.

It is challenging for egos to love healthy souls. A healthy person isn’t worried about any judgments and so they’ll do things that egos think they shouldn’t. The people living in ego will define them as bad or wrong, but the healthy person won’t be upset about being judged. They understand that the other people have been taught to expect others to perform, not to be people that are free. Egos want to be liked, they’re not trying to be their true selves. The healthy people know how easy it is to do that because they used to make the same silly, simple mistake. It’s so simple that it’s very difficult to even notice you’re making it. But you really don’t have to be liked by everyone. No one is, no one can be, and it’s way more enjoyable and helpful if you’re not. Then you can be you instead. Because you add zero creativity to the world if you’re busy performing some acceptable character when you could be busy creating things from your own unique perspective.

Be like a healthy person. They’ll be focused on what feels good, and experience has shown them that warmth, generosity and forgiveness lead to the very best feelings. So they’ll be pointed that way—not to impress anyone. It’ll be entirely selfish. They do it because it feels awesome. And they can do it wholeheartedly because they aren’t encumbered by wanting things to be different. They don’t have to endlessly adapt to different situations. Healthy 644 Relax and Succeed - How can I be substantialpeople just move through life by being consistently themselves, no matter who they are in front of.

So right now you wish people knew the whole story. You wish they could see behind the scenes or that they knew how bad you really felt about the thing they’re angry at. Maybe you were slandered or libelled or just regret something super-duper stupid you did. Maybe you didn’t even do the thing they think you did and it’s all just a misunderstanding—but however it comes about, everyone else has all of that stuff too and it still doesn’t make you or them faulty, bad, worthless or unlovable. You can drop that story. You can halt that campaign. You can stop living your life in the shadow of whatever it is. Because everyone has multiple shadows. Even the happy people. So don’t let the shadows make you think you’re not qualified for love-ability. You totally are. By birth. That’s just how it is. The universe had to literally organize trillions and trillions of atoms to build you. You’re here on purpose.

Okay? So fewer I’m not worthy stories. Less beating yourself up. And then you don’t have to run others down either because you only do that out of insecurity. Otherwise you’re generous. You’re wonderful. You’re a beautiful soul. So shine on you crazy diamond. Let us see the light inside you. It’ll blind some and they’ll complain, but the rest of us will see you as a shining star.

Love you. Big hugs.

peace. s

Input vs Output

Do want a quick, easy way to improve your life regardless of your circumstances? Spend less time focusing your attention—your consciousness—on what you want to impart to someone else and way more on trying to truly understand their perspective. Because an ego just hears a view and then either agrees or disagrees with it instantaneously and purely out of habit. You can see this with politics where 99% of the people arguing have no clue what the actual 530 Relax and Succeed - When you know how to listenplatforms of any of the parties actually are. They are bashing their preconceived ideas into each other rather than actively listening in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of the world.

A person living Clearly will more often listen to people openly. Maybe they’ll learn new reasons to agree with their current view. Or maybe they’ll hear reasons to change their view. But if we’re not listening and we’re not flexible and open minded with our views, then we’re in ego and we will suffer. Because our views will be hard and solid and inflexible and that also makes them brittle and breakable. But if we’re flexible, we can wrap around an opposing idea, we can incorporate it, or we can even adopt it. In short: we have more freedom.

It is possible to listen to people as an activity unto itself. So you’re not listening for a purpose—you’re not even listening to understand. You’re not listening to see how their opinions 530 Relax and Succeed - I speak so much bettercompare to your opinions, nor are you listening to accomplish anything like make someone feel better. You’re just listening. No agenda. This is what it is to be aware. This is how you get to witness the beauty and elegance that is this incredible world. You just need to be quieter inside.

The opposite of quiet is noisy. Noisy is you talking to yourself about what other people should have done, or should have said, or how they should have acted. And maybe you’re telling them those things or maybe you’re telling other people how upset you are because of those things—it doesn’t matter. If you’re saying it to yourself, the person you’re upset with, or gossiping with someone else, you’re noisy inside and you will suffer for it. But if you’re not back-talking in your head or in person, then the energy that is you is free to focus on listening. And that’s when you hear the things that help you know what you should really say. If you should say anything at all.

Remember—you either output or input. Do less offering, suggesting, blaming, explaining, etc. and just be. Don’t want to change the world. Don’t want it your way. Just, as Paul McCartney suggested, let it be. Be active in your quietness. You will always hear the wisdom if you’re truly listening for it. And that sounds like a great way to ensure a great day. Enjoy yours.

peace (and quiet). s

Slowing Down to the Speed of Life

258 Relax and Succeed - Pig in a blanket

Today’s video blog will surprise you. Its inspiration and beauty comes in an unexpected form. It succeeds in connecting us to the present moment by dropping any expectations we might have. There is nothing for our ego in this experience. This is quietly, profoundly spiritual in nature.

When people have spiritual insights they often find that their realizations at first feel counter-intuitive. The same idea seemed backwards until they saw it from their new perspective. So in a culture obsessed with speed and productivity it might seem unusual that I would be suggesting that, to get more done, you should consider actually slowing down.

How can you get more done by doing less? The trick is to change your priorities. You need to stop making doing so important and instead start putting some value on simply being. You can’t be harvesting full time. Not only do the furrows of your mind need planting, they also need time to lay fallow—they need time where they are still and empty because no tea can be poured into a full cup. If you want to grow, you have to surrender something you currently believe in favour of something new.

258 Relax and Succeed - Just slow down

We all need to pay less attention to what’s going out outside of us and more attention to what’s going on inside of us. We need to stop being so busy inside and out, and we need to start being still. We need space, openness, and light. We don’t need more data, more challenges, more strength. We do need more understanding, more rewarding experiences and more flexibility.

The answers you’re looking for in life do not need you to achieve more. You don’t need to climb anything. You don’t need to earn, strive or gain. You need to relax into knowing. You need to simply be. As the Zen poet Dogan said, “If you cannot find truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?”

This video is only two minutes and thirty-seven seconds long. Strangely, even the sound is valuable. Like the photo of the pig a blanket, it has no purpose, no aim and no point. It simply is. And that simple status is what makes it so profoundly beautiful. Enjoy:



Think about bookmarking this video. It might be nice to take a moment to spend time with this little guy every now and then. This is a creature without guile. This is a video of being. And precisely because it aims to accomplish nothing, it manages to accomplish a lot.

Have a wonderful day.

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.