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

Special Notice

715 Relax and Succeed -Keep goingToday there would normally be a Friday Dose here, but this week we’re doing something a little different. More than a little different. Today is a big day for me. I’ve got a special surprise for you too, but let’s save that for the end. I have to tell you a few things first.

Several people wrote to me at the end of 2014 asking me why my listing of your favourite blogs didn’t also include my favourites of 2014, which I had historically done. The reason was; I was saving them for now.

The two weeks when most Canadian kids get out of school is historically the blog’s slowest period. During that time I’ll be implementing some changes to the website and blog to improve both its performance and content. While I’m doing that, you’ll be treated to what I personally feel are the strongest and deepest examples of my work.

715 Relax and Succeed - Nature does not hurryBecause I did a six month period where I answered reader’s questions, I will divide the two weeks up into the section with my favourite traditional blogs, as well as a week of my favourites from the question and answer section of the year.

Because you’re all used to me leaving you with some form of powerful mental distractions on Fridays, I am still leaving the following video below. I’ve posted it before but it was included with several others and many of you felt it deserved its own day. Many of your described as the kick in the pants you really needed.

This is one of the harshest approaches to happiness I’ve seen, but the bottom line is that what it says is true, and many of you found it worked. So for those of you who would benefit from such a spiritual kick, I offer you this:

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Now have yourself an awesome couple of weeks reading what I feel is my very best work. Thanks everyone!

peace and love to all, scott

Daily Peace

The first scenario is how almost everyone moves through their basic experiences each day in an egocentric way. The second scenario is about staying peaceful despite those experiences. The differences are easy to see, easy to do, and the results are immediate.

714 Relax and Succeed - Impatience wastes

You’re in a hurry. You walk into a bank. The line-up is long… Agh! Why is it every time I have to come here it’s lined up like this? Don’t they ever have enough staff on?

For six agonizing minutes you wait, repeating various variations of that story… Come on lady! Why didn’t you have all of that stuff organized before you got up there!? Now I’m going to be late to my sister’s and we won’t have enough time to pick up the cake. Great. And just watch that place over-charge us too. At least they use the money to pay some staff instead of this stupid bank.

Eventually you get to the teller and… Great, a face I don’t know so now they’ll have to do all of the authorization stuff to make sure it’s me. That ought to add about 10 more minutes of wasting my time. Damn these shoes pinch. Why did I wear new ones on a day I was going to be running around? What is this girl doing?? And thanks for coming to work with a cold lady. That’s just what I need. Maybe your day can afford you to lay around at night with a box of Kleenex but mine can’t.

714 Relax and Succeed - There's nothing in this worldAgain, as the girl confirms your identity and carries out the instructions according to her new manager, you recite even more complaints about what you’re seeing as your situation. But she isn’t some lazy, dumb lady who came to work sick. She’s a competent manager at her daytime job but she’s also a single Mom with three kids and she’s working this extra job because she wants to make sure her daughter can go to a really good hockey school that’s important to her. But still she’s new so it takes her a bit.

Eventually you finish your banking, you curtly thank her while clearly indicating your dissatisfaction with her work, and you storm off to now take all that brain chemistry out on your sister and some bakers.

Or…

You’re in a hurry. You walk into the bank, see the line and realize it’s the end of the month. It makes sense that it’s busy. And your mind stays quiet. Because you’re in a state of being aware or noticing, what you don’t notice is the six minutes passing.

714 Relax and Succeed - One does not becomeBut you are aware that almost everyone in the line and behind the counters is sniffling and coughing. Clearly something’s going around. There’s some hand sanitizer in the line so you use it because you’re not sick yet and you’ll do what you can not to be. You can take a good guess at why the bank’s understaffed.

Eventually your teller comes up. You’ve never seen her before so you check her name-tag and underneath her name it says “Trainee.” Not that you really had any expectations, but if you did you’d change them here. You try to think of all of the ways you could use your knowledge of this monthly event you’ve done many times. You can probably help her remember the process. “Hi Sara. I’m Scott. I deal here all the time, I haven’t seen you here before, I take it by your tag you’re new with the bank?”

“Yes, I am. I’ve only been here a week. I apologize that I won’t be as fast as these other guys.”

“That’s okay, I was a customer here when most of them were in your shoes. No problem. We’re in this together. You just tell me how I can be of the most help.”

You can see her calm down when you say that. She relaxes and thereby accesses more of her own abilities and memories and so her service is much better than it would have been if she was tense. She carries out her responsibilities and thanks you profusely for your patience and you gratefully accept her thanks and also enjoy sharing a compliment of your own because she really did pretty good for a beginner.

714 Relax and Succeed - Those who wish to singYou leave the bank in a happy mood and because you saved a couple of minutes you’re going to pass that mood on to your sister by getting her her favourite coffee on your way to pick her up.

Boom. See the difference?

One version of you—your ego—bombards you with words about things and it just judges and judges and judges always with an eye toward seeing only confirmation of what it already believes. And all comparisons will be made against perfection. Yes, you will have to use some language and judgments to be functional in society, but you don’t have to live in a state of judgment the rest of the time. You always have a choice about what aspect of which issue you choose to focus on. You either live in your thoughts or you be aware. You’re ego or you’re clear. It’s that easy.

Don’t eat your days away gnawing at your own thoughts. Let them go. Peace will flow toward you naturally. Invest your thoughts in loving, caring, compassionate and beautiful acts and the rest takes care of itself.

Now use your mind consciously and use that awareness to choose a better day for yourself.

Love you all.

peace. s

Just Keep Swimming

You don’t want your life to be boring but you do want it to have some dynamics. After all, how good would Game of Thrones be without clashing those glorious highs against a few thunderous lows. We love it on TV, why not in life?

703 Relax and Succeed - The best use of imaginationThe reason is because you don’t see your life as a performance. You see it as a dress rehearsal and you’re constantly rewriting what you wish you would have done. That’s what it is to live in ego. That’s a fake world. You can’t change anything in your past. You’re looking at what your situation was and who you were. And both things are much more flexible than you’re giving them credit for.

What is your history? You think back on your golf league in a good mood and you remember all the great games and all the great people you got to play with all summer long. If you’re in a bad mood that same memory gets played back as being about the one guy who cheated in a mid-season tournament to steal the victory from you. The prize? A golf umbrella.

There is no way you’re that upset about a golf umbrella. It’s that you had this preconceived idea that you were playing by a set of “Gentlemen’s Rules” but that was an assumption on your part. Maybe that guy was the high school loser and he’s never won a single thing in his middle-aged life and so he broke his own normal ethic and stole from you a potential victory. Potential.

703 Relax and Succeed - Don't worry be happyYou being upset about something like that is fine for a short burst. Normal human relations require us to make certain assumptions about trust but, when someone breaks them we don’t want to be derailed from enjoying our lives for long. Then their actions are controlling our emotional experience of life. No way. You don’t want other people’s actions inciting your own unhealthy thinking.

Think of living in the moment as being like a fish swimming through a lake. The universe and you are so fluidly and completely a part of each other—even to the extent that it’s flowing inside your body and over your gills; a body that is made primarily of water. It’s water within water shaped like a fish. That is you. You move toward what you like and away from what you don’t.

But then you get advice and you go in directions that you’re told to go rather than where you sense you should go. You subjugate your own sense of yourself to an outsider. As good as a friend may be, and as much as they will know things about you that you do not, they still can’t ever know you well enough to make the decisions for you unless it’s a “No Not Resuscitate Order” in a hospital.

703 Relax and Succeed - Just keep swimmingYou can get thinking in such whirling circles that you fly off onto dry land where your mouth gapes for you to breathe as you drown in an ocean of air—and ocean of thought. Meanwhile the water is right next to the rock you’re laying on. The only difference is your thinking. Eventually that dies down and you recover your awareness, realize where you are, and then you can easily just flop this way then that way and you’re back and swimming free.

Don’t ground yourself with thought. You’re clumsy on land. Your ego is a flopping grounded fish. You are a sentient and compassionate human being. Stop handing your life off to your thinking and start by simply paying attention to your life before you. Don’t flop in thought, swim in existence.

I’d suggest starting right this awareness thing right away. It brings remarkable peace of mind. But to do that you have to stop leaving now—stop leaving the verb of swimming through the water to sit still, flopping around instead in the choking air of too much thought. Life is not thinking. Life is living. Less judgment. More action. Be a human who is fully being. It is such a privilege to get that chance.

Just swim. You’re awesome.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #71

701 OP Relax and Succeed - Don't flirt with someone else

As you get older you can read quotes like this and you can usually guess the age of the writer within five years. That shows you how much the same we all are. We’re all moving through patterns of behaviour as we move through our seven ages of man. Listen, I know that seeing someone you love being with someone else is something that really hurts. But there’s a great lesson in that. Because I promise you that the pain is not coming from seeing them. It’s about looking at them and then thinking. It’s the thoughts that hurt. Because if they’re happily with someone else, you can’t go quickly get someone and make them jealous. Because if they left they left for a reason of theirs and they went to this other person for a reason of theirs. So they might look over at you and feel a short temporary jab, but because their thoughts will shift to the better position they themselves feel they are in, they will feel fine. That’s why the leaver always does better than the leavee. The leaver either wanted someone else or they wanted more freedom but either way their thoughts will be less commonly on the past and more on the future, whereas the leavee has to rip themselves away from the future they’d imagined so they can start living in the present moment they’re in. So if someone’s flaunting just to hurt you then that’s just childish. Maybe in the future when they’re more mature, but for now, if someone is vindictive or possessive then they’re still immature and you don’t want to be in a relationship with an immature person. So just live your own life. Don’t keep your thoughts on inappropriate things. Learn to do this early in life and you will bring yourself great salvation later, I promise. Good luck.

Much love, s

Other Perspectives #70

696 OP Relax and Succeed - Life is too short

Hey, odds are I know how to get and stay happy better than you and even I would never set a crazy expectation like this. It’s a nice basic idea but if you go in by defining success as you being happy then failure is any time you’re not happy. But now you’re trapped because you can’t even know that success exists unless you know failure exists. But failure doesn’t use happiness to imprint itself on you. Different emotions imprint different types of experiences. Thinking you’re failing because you’re sad is like thinking a book you wrote is bad because of the librarian who filed it. That’s just who files it. One’s not better versus worse. It’s not this librarian is smarter than that one—your librarian is never wrong, they just understand more about the library than you. But your ignorance causes your ego to divide them up into the librarians you like versus the one’s you don’t like. So there’s the happy librarian versus the sad one, the calm one versus the angry one etc. etc.. But they aren’t actually good or bad. They just handle the books of experience that are appropriate to them. It was your ego that placed them in categories. The librarians don’t rank themselves. They don’t think happy is better than sad nor should you. Because if you’re going to sit in judgment of your librarians—of your own mind, of your own self—then you will criticize them for ever including failure in your library. And yet we’ve already established that you need some failure, so that very criticism of the librarians ends up just being a source of more failure and negativity. That causes the library to receive more of the types of books that will be carried by the librarians you don’t like. So don’t try to build an all-happy library. That’s a myth. Build one you can really enjoy, and that one doesn’t have more of this kind of book versus that kind of book, it just has lots and lots and lots of books. Because it turns out that reading (read: living) a lot is what leads the universe to deliver more of the books of experience that you enjoy the most. So by just reading your painful books without complaint you will actually cause more enjoyable ones to be delivered. So go have yourself an awesome day by accepting all of your emotions. That will allow them to be quickly filed so that you can get on to your next book/moment. Because in the end life is never about our judgment of the books, the real secret is that life is about the reading.

peace. s

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Other Perspectives #69

691 OP Relax and Succeed - Sometimes your heart

We need to understand and dismiss our increasingly thought-based sentimental, immature, self-centred and dramatic reactions to regular life. We have to accept challenges as an aspect of our journey and we need to exchange our fears of going the wrong way with an intense passion of fully being awake and alive with other people, especially those closest to us. Then even an ordinary day feels fantastic and you fall in love with everyone around you over and over. It’s wonderful. But to feel that you have to be quiet inside. That means no talking to yourself. You tell yourself that’s your heart and your head debating, but both of those voices are you. That’s you telling yourself a big long narrative all to justify the way you feel, which is a natural mixture of feelings. But you take those very human feelings and your do as you were taught by your culture: you habitually turn those feelings into language, and then you use that language as though there is an actual debate going on when really that’s just the normal way to feel when you’re transitioning in any area of life. Whether that’s the act of getting closer to someone or leaving a long term job or moving cities, those transitions will have naturally mixed feelings. We’re just so brainwashed to dislike certain feelings and to convert absolutely everything into language. So you feel compelled to tell yourself big stories about a set of sensations that would have happened whether you told yourself the story or not. So instead of feeling them once, by turning them into words you’ve found a way to turn them into stories that you can re-tell yourself ad nauseam. So now you can be bothered by today, ten years from now. But that is a choice. So if you take control of the stories you take control of the feelings. So stop talking to yourself. It’s just an excuse not to act because you’re afraid of doing something wrong. Forget that fear. Just live. Live all of your emotions. Rather than avoid half of them make friends with them. If you do that it turns out that even the ones that you’ve historically called bad are actually pretty enjoyable in their own special way. So just relax and feel all of life. That openness isn’t a guarantee of a great day but it’s as close to a guarantee as the universe will let you have. Be open, be quiet. That’s it.

peace. s

Shadow Personalities

What you perceive of as people’s individual personalities are actually just shadows cast by your own thinking. This may seem ridiculous but it happens in much the same way that a cinematographer can make a character look angelic or sinister to you depending on where he or she places the light. The angle of the light represents the perspectives of our beliefs. A character or person can change drastically based on our beliefs. Just think of how that angle changes between falling in love and breaking up! But what changed? Them, or the direction of the light?

687 Relax and Succeed - In this lifeYou spend a lot of your life trying to manage people’s perceptions of you but that is futile and wasteful in all kinds of ways. First off, you have no idea what their perceptions are. Even if they say so you still don’t know. The prettiest girl in school can give you the sort of make-up and hair advice that subtly suggests to you that you are ugly, but she’s more likely to do that if she actually thinks you’re the prettiest girl in school. And even if she thought that something or someone was ugly, who’s to say she won’t change that opinion? We do our whole lives. So why try to manage the entries in some weird historical Etch-a-Sketch book that’s always being shaken clean? Why not live instead?

You don’t see others and they don’t see you. Not figuratively, literally. Because there is no you to see. Because everyone has their own idea of value and so everyone perceives you in their own unique way based on their knowledge and life experience. So since everyone has their own idea of you—their own angle of light—then they’re all seeing something slightly different. And there’s no way to reconcile that. Since there is no one who would even be able to perceive any strange, general Objective Reality above that, we can just relax into the idea that all that really matters is our Subjective Reality. We don’t have to manage all of those people because the universe won’t let us. We only have to manage our own thoughts. Because it’s from those that we shape the beliefs that in turn shape both ourselves and others.

687 Relax and Succeed - I have already lostYou have to see people in some way. So your views are fine to have as long as you don’t take them too seriously—that you remember they are just your views. The cinematographer doesn’t want to start treating the actor like he’s the character. And this applies to others opinions about you as well. Do some views carry consequences in your life? Yes, but that doesn’t change the fact that you have no control over their perspective. Your ability to influence anyone’s view of you is crippled by the fact that you don’t even know where to start. You cannot think from their perspective and so you have no idea what their view of you is.

Despite this reality everyone spends most of their lives trying to manage these perceptions. They get angry or sad or bitter about their perceptions of other people’s perceptions about them. To surrender all of that is to be free of your ego’s need to prove itself. To be valuable. To be worthy. And it turns out that all you have to do is stop talking to yourself under the presumption that anything’s wrong with you or anyone else. Do that and suddenly you don’t need all of the self-discussions about, what do I do to become acceptable? or how do I get that person to do what I want so I can deem them acceptable? Instead you’re fine with people and things the way they are. You just have peace.

Find the angles you light people from. Had a bad experience with betrayal? Then you’ll probably cast a suspicious light on others. Had an angry, reproachful father? Then you’ll be inclined to look at things and people fearfully. Or was your mother carefree almost to the point of neglect? Then you’ll either need that same kind of freedom or you’ll crave order but, either way, unless you become very conscious, your experiences with your mother will have shaped where you place the light on yourself and others. That’s why so many people vote just like their parents. They’ve only ever seen issues lit in one fundamental way.

687 Relax and Succeed - What is loveForget all of that head-talking. Forget gossip. Forget the words that you use to place the lights that will shape your vision. Stop wanting your spouse or co-workers to be different people. Accept by going quiet. Let their light be natural. It’ll still have an angle relative to you, but you’ll have saved yourself all the effort of re-lighting it yourself with your psyche. Because the less your ego is involved the more you open the light up and the better you can see. But no matter who you are no one sees everything. There is always mystery. There is always shadow. The secret is to stop asking. Relax knowing that the mystery is where your future is. And it’s not a future you’re not supposed to figure out, you’re just supposed to live it.

Now go have yourself an awesome day.

peace. s

Psychological Healing

I’ve worked with many people who have dedicated years and invested heavily in their mental and spiritual health and they’ve done so with very caring professionals. When they ask me why I was finally able to reach them, I always remind them I didn’t—they did. That what felt like counselling was actually a class. Yes, it’s tailored to each individual but it’s ultimately aimed at imparting a specific understanding of a psychological or spiritual skill that people can then very practically utilize to improve their enjoyment of life.

682 Relax and Succeed - Alice this is impossibleIf you want to improve your life you can’t want to get healthy. The fact that you’d have to get there automatically implies that you’re not there. If you’re not there then you must be thinking you’re somewhere else. I’m sorry if that seems confusing, but it’s actually quite clear from the right perspective. You see, you’re fine the way you are but you don’t think so. And so you’re constantly using your ability to talk to yourself to incessantly plan how to make your life into the life you’ve been taught to want. You don’t actually have a problem. You do however have a want, and wants feel like problems. No desires, no problems.

The issue is that you can’t figure out how to live without desires and that is a trick of the mind. Again, it’s very sensible once you can do it but it can seem trite or even ridiculous if you judge it from a ego perspective. But your mental health is nevertheless very logical. Clearly you won’t die without a Corvette but you can waste your life wanting one. So if you don’t need it it’s nothing to actually worry about and that means that thinking about that want will be entirely voluntary, painful and it will last as long as you think it.

If I could describe in a few words (or even hundreds of blogs) how this is done enmasse then clearly this would be the most popular blog in the world. But it’s not something you learn in that way. Again, I can’t teach it. People tell me where they struggle and I answer their 682 Relax and Succeed - Be the silent watcher of your thoughtsquestions quite precisely and they grow to understand. Or they read this blog every day and over time the posts start to cross-pollinate and they start to own the knowledge. It’s a process. A practice. I still learn every single day. It’s part of why I love each day. They’re so bountiful when you know how to see them.

It’s tricky. It’s like those 3D posters. You can learn to do it. After that, how much you do it is up to you. But you can count on the fact that you’ll eventually understand well enough that you’ll actually choose to be unhappy for a period of time just because it will be so unusual and interesting. And that is the weird paradox of learning to be happy—that you can do it even when you’re not happy. Deep down you know that. That’s why you’ll pay in advance for the fun of being terrified on a roller coaster.

Don’t fret for the world. It is much closer to perfection than you think. And as more and more people learn to see through the veil of illusory thought, soon entire generations of kids will be born with parents exhibiting these skills every day. And the world will be transformed. The process began long ago and much has been accomplished.

If you’re ever lost and unsure of which way to go, just remember that the very best route is always love. Love for others, love for yourself. Love is the home of everything and that becomes clearly evident when the veil of thought is lowered.

Here’s to a year of wider horizons, more peace and greater connection. Big hugs to you all.

peace. s

The Thought Suit

You do it almost every day of your life. You don’t have to but you act like you do. It’s just this routine that is so embedded in your being that you don’t even recognize it as a choice. It is the suit of thoughts that you wear through life all day. It’s an idea you have about yourself and you behave as though other people can see your thoughts rather than theirs.

678 Relax and Succeed - It's not an egotistical actMaybe you think you’re fat. Or too old to find true love. Maybe you think you’ll never financially recover. You put those ideas on each morning. You repeat them to yourself. You pull on your pants and remind yourself of your weight. You put on your shirt and think about your broken heart. You check your empty pockets and remind yourself that you are poor. And you pile these ideas onto yourself to the point where the real you is completely obscured by your self-critical thinking.

No one else sees that suit. Did you get that? They don’t see your thoughts. They would see the suit they have for you, which will be totally different than yours because it will feature moments you didn’t know were included, or lies from other parties, or misunderstandings etc. etc. No one really knows anyone. It’s too complex a question because you have to ask, under what circumstances and in precisely what context? So we must either decide people’s spirits are pointed in generally the same direction as ours and then let the rest of the details wash out, or we need to find people who are more aligned with us. But even then, you’ll still need forgiveness just as much as everyone else.

Even if people could see the suit you see for yourself, they wouldn’t notice because virtually all of them are fully invested in worrying about the comparison between the suit they have for themselves and the suit they have for you and everyone else. In short, they’re doing exactly the same thing you are. They are wishing for the life they imagined rather than the one they have, and like you do, they think we see the disparity between their two stories when we’re not even aware they exist. So if you don’t think you’re beautiful, that presumes you know what people think of as beautiful, plus you’re forgetting the enormous impact your 678 Relax and Succeed - Every moment is newpersonality can have on someone’s assessment of your beauty. Everyone’s dated at least one person where, no matter how good looking they were, they were overshadowed by ugly behaviour. You don’t live with beauty, you live with behaviour.

Each day really reconsider the silly futile quality of having that thought suit. Why on Earth would you repeat those ideas to yourself? Why would you put that outfit on every day? Because you know the feeling when you don’t put it on. Those days where you feel smart and sexy and capable. Your good hair days. Well those are created within your own consciousness. You don’t become that person you have to actually be that person. There cannot be wishing. You must act as though it is already true and it will be. It is a leap across nowhere. There is nowhere to fall. Just take it. Take the leap. Believe that you are already great and you will begin to act from a place of greatness. That’s always how it’s worked. I know it’s weird to do but it really does work.

Take your life back. Walk naked through it. Allow people to see the real you. Yes, some won’t like it. But what difference does that make? That’s true now. The point is, the people that really matter to you will never have found you if you hadn’t revealed yourself so honestly. Forget the thought suit. Be a spiritual nudist. Go right past clothing and skin and strip right down to your soul. It’s a wonderfully freeing feeling and it creates stronger bonds than you may have thought possible.

Trust yourself.

Much love. s