The Disposable Life

989-relax-and-succeed-no-amount-of-security-is-worth-the-sufferingThe Paralympics are currently on. I actually liked when they were called the Special Olympics because to me it is notable and special when someone can do something with less than everyone else needs to do it, as was evidenced in this post from earlier in the year.  I’m not being nice to anyone by being impressed by all that, I’m deep-down inspired by what other human beings can show me we’re capable of.

This brings up the question of what moves us forward in life? At these Paralympics I see smiles and achievements and connections to teams and respect for competitors and lots of physical health and travel and excitement, and none of these things are contained in our limbs. Just as the blind know happiness, the deaf have heard grief. The experiences in our consciousness are what life is made of. Your body is what delivers you to the situations where those experiences take place.

The people who repeatedly choose negative experiences don’t recognise their choices. Once when I was living in Australia I met a very religious man. He was kind in the sense that he was very keen to warn me about all of the potential dangers in the world but those fears had made him extremely angry all the time.

989-relax-and-succeed-worrying-does-not-empty-tomorrowRather than be happy about his wife’s uncle building them a beautiful playhouse for the kids, he worried they would get up to no good in it and so he tore the door off and placed the playhouse right outside the back door of the main house. The kids naturally sought privacy so they mostly just stored things in it. They were only allowed to see religious films and read religious books. They never went out and only mixed with people from their church who were similarly cloistered.

This unfortunately turned the kids into huge outsiders at their school. They were teased for not being aware of anything really modern and they were afraid to participate in anything. They had however seen their father get angry a lot so they were both good at having hot, fast tempers. When they weren’t upset they were mostly depressed because they had no example of what joy or fun looked like. Their parents rarely spoke.

I was fully aware the wife was addicted to TV and profoundly unhappy to the point of abusing prescription drugs. The kids lives grew progressively worse as they matured and sought greater freedom of choice and their angry father soon had them on prescription drugs too. And yet it’s important to note, they had inherited money so they had no need to even work, and everyone was healthy other than emotionally. They could have travelled anywhere but chose to go nowhere.

989-relax-and-succeed-someone-is-happySo this is important: how is someone who lost their legs prior to a huge accomplishment crying at hearing their anthem played while they’re on a podium when this entire family is drugged and miserable and they have everything going for them? Because life doesn’t happen outside of us it happens inside of us.

The miserable family built a rigid idea of doing the right thing and they’re killing themselves contorting themselves into that preconceived shape. Meanwhile the happy group continue to be bold or even got bolder about life and they chased huge dreams. There are no dreams in that Australian family. There are only fears. While one group creates dangers to hide from the other group creates new space within themselves to allow for more expansion. One life goes up, the other goes down. The choice is always ours.

Will you make the most of what you have or will you hide from life? Because you’ll make that choice each moment of each day, and whether you like it or not, your lifetime is made of what you choose most.

peace. s

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

The Opportunity

I call it a class but it’s more like time together nurturing experiences. I know everyone in front of me is healthy at the level of their soul, I just need to show them how they can slow and stop the dark fury of their ego. After that the rest is entirely natural. No one asked you to learn to walk but you worked at it at every opportunity until you could do it. You’d learn this much the same way and yet you’d never recall actually learning it.

987-relax-and-succeed-zen-teaches-nothingIt actually isn’t that hard for me to poke holes in reality as most people would describe it. Now isn’t that strange? Something as elemental as reality is in question! And if reality itself is in question then so is everything in it. That means that almost everything you believe could potentially be a lie–and that’s my main point.

Things are not what they are they are how we see them. You’ve read things like that a million times, but enough time with the right meditations and you’ll be dissatisfied with your old version of reality and you’ll seek some new more reliable version. The more time you spend with this new, stronger more flexible version of reality the faster you’ll drop your illusory one.

It’s no coincidence that you’re still looking at 3,000 year old quotes, they do carry a special truth which is why I use the ones I see floating around to shape this blog. But you can’t learn this in an educational way. That’s outside-in. You want inside-out. You want to understand things differently so that different things make sense and that leads you to a different life. That happens inside you.

987-relax-and-succeed-your-teacher-can-open-the-doorThere is no way around the time and effort involved to cross this transom. Even those who do it by accident were unwittingly working away on their discovery for years. How could Eckhart Tolle have recognised his depression as a kind of Joy University? Yet it was those meditations on his own suffering that lead him to do what the Buddha did.

In the end I realise I’m more like a personal trainer. People know what they want and they know they’ll have to change some habits. It just seems easier to do when someone else is leading that process and giving you assignments. Meditation is hard. It can feel unfruitful for too long if it’s not guided well. Done well it can be fun.

The world is changing. We’re at the dawn of a new age of priorities for life. We’ve built a world that’s eating most of us up and most of the world wants something different for their future. Join that future by taking the process of your mental and spiritual health seriously. Don’t be casual or idle about it, it’s connected to everything.

You can have the change you imagine for yourself but not if you won’t make changes to create the time and space necessary for you to actually do the meditations that will lead you there. Prioritise your lifetime. Figure out life before you’ve lived it all.  You’ll be glad you did.

peace. s

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

The Karma Question

942 Relax and Succeed - How people treat youI’ve discussed this before in previous posts because the concept of karma is often perverted by the human ego. Rather than being about energy flow, if you Google ‘karma quotes’ you’re far more likely to see a museum dedicated to anger, bitterness and revenge.

Because people take the world so personally it’s hard finding a karma quote that hasn’t been converted into the Western idea that God’s watching and judging us. The closest thing I got was the Wayne Dyer one that nicely tightropes between the spiritual truth and people’s thought-based desire to have religion secure the concept of fairness for them. But fairness can’t work because in the spiritual world even your wishes count, so negative hopes for another person is still negative karma even if you think they deserve it. You can’t win with karma.

Because each person has an individual identity the concept of karma ends up inadvertently confused with the western concept of what comes around goes around when it’s really more like; we’re all in a pool together, please don’t pee more than necessary or just because the people around you are. In short the lesson is: be conscious about what you put out into this world.

942 Relax and Succeed - No act of kindnessRather than think of karma as some force that happens to you (a force you can possibly win some favour over), think of it more like a direction. So imagine a pool of water comprised of billions of microscopic H2O molecules all milling together. Can you see that if one molecule leaned in one direction that it would impact the other molecules immediately around it? The force of that lean could be called karma.

This force acts on those closest to you. A decent act in one city will only rarely impact someone else in a city half the planet away. But if you lean in and help someone in your community then that creates a tilt inside the person you’ve been kind to; they’re now more inclined to do something for you or someone else.

Due to that connected, cooperative nature can you see that all large movements of the water in the pool all begin with a single movement that is joined? Can you see that these movements cannot take each other into account and sometimes they will lose their energy and direction by smashing into other people’s opposing energy and direction? And do you see no one did anything wrong in that?

When we smash together as individuals we say we had a fight, or if a few people clash that’s an issue, and when huge groups hit each other we calls those elections. A large wave in the pool would be created by a great deal of cooperation. It’s important to remember that it’s possible to cooperate on creative beautiful expansive things, but it’s also possible to cooperate on ugly, divisive anger and blame. One is confidence and the other is fear.

942 Relax and Succeed - peace it does not meanStronger flows will create stronger turbulence. Waves of things like mass humanitarian aid can flow in one direction while waves of angry fascism flow in the opposite direction. But it is important to remember that in a wave it is the energy that flows not the water itself. A seagull will go up and down on the waves but unless it paddles it will not come to shore because the water it’s sitting on is usually sitting still even when it’s participating in a wave. So it goes with people. They aren’t this or that. That’s just where they’re currently floating.

Can you perceive the extremely subtle difference? Karma in your life is the energy of the wave and you feel that as your direction as you move either up or down. But these individualised ups and downs combine together and the waves that form are natural. Yes, it’s possible to be calm and have all of your currents flow below the surface but not all of the ocean can do that at once lest we encourage stagnation. No: change is necessary for growth. The movement is integral to life itself.

In the what comes around goes around model of karma you have to wonder what you did that was so terrible that you deserved what’s happening to you. Or, you have to justify what great things you did to deserve your good fortune or you’ll end up experiencing guilt. In reality you are just one leaning force among an infinite number. Yes you do directly impact things, but there are far too many leaning forces in this pond for you to ever say that you truly control your life.

942 Relax and Succeed - There is a huge amount of freedomYou control your life’s direction and that is worthwhile, but there are many other people who will impact and influence the karma you experience so it’s unwise to take its impacts personally. Stop always framing the world from positions of control. You keep looking for the right things to do; the smart things; the things that will lead to success when those concepts simply do exist in the real world. These are ideas but they are not forces. That is the illusion of thought.

There is no way to guarantee an outcome in life. The closest thing you can get is to be a conscious force as you function within this world.  Karma is collective and so you feel its forces, but karma is not something you get, it is something you cooperate with or lean against. Left, right, this way, that way; it’s all part of a larger cosmic movement. It is only the up and down motion that you too often mistake for your own success or failure. Surrender your individualised ideas of this world and be free.

You cannot escape karma but none of this is personal. You can only accept it as the very nature that you are a part of and live within. By accepting that, you too can begin a life of peace within this larger cosmic non-personal flow. May we meet there soon, together.

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.