Background Noise

1098-relax-and-succeed-be-still-and-listenTo many people, there are sounds and then there are words. Words communicate specific ideas between specific people, whereas sounds are more general. Words are intentionally spoken but, other than music, a lot of daily sound is simply the sound of living. It wasn’t for anyone.

If you’re in the forest, sound might mean birds and a waterfall; in a city it can mean sirens and traffic. But to most people that is background. Unless you’re a sound person in film or possibly a composer, for most people those sounds are habitually subtracted from our consciousness. Subtracted. As in; you’ve removed some reality.

If we really want to hear someone we’ll ask the people around them to be quiet. We’ll want to focus on that one voice. Words seem very intentional. Background noises appear less so, but not to whoever or whatever made them. That’s because we handle sound much like we handle the thought-experiment from yesterday about looking versus seeing. We listen for things, we rarely just listen.

1098-relax-and-succeed-the-sound-of-rainIt is because we place such a massive emphasis on words that we’re often lost. If we have a problem and we need an answer, we turn the problem into words and we ask people to give us advice in words. But words are symbols for the world, they are not the world. And people lie all of the time for valid social reasons. So if they’re symbols, and they’re often misleading, why do we use them so much to find our way?

Making matters worse, we spend all day treating these word-symbols as though they are solid, because we see them not as descriptions of the world but rather the world itself. We believe when we then transfer the words to the insides of our heads that we’re continuing to manage the real world using our minds, when it’s really just our ego juggling a bunch of symbols.

In truth we’ve trapped ourselves in an illusion and we’re trying to get out of a symbolic world by using even more symbols. It is the symbols that create the famous Buddhist illusion. When the Buddha speaks of ego, he speaks of mistaking a superficial description for a thing itself.

When you talk to yourself that is 100% symbols. Someone can drive a car without thinking of all of the words associated with driving a car. People aren’t behind the wheel going, “alright, blinker, shoulder check, all clear, lane change, blinker off, check rearview mirror….” etc. They’re just driving. Can you imagine being like that with people?

1098-relax-and-succeed-silence-isnt-emptyIn today’s meditation your job is to flip the world over. Rather than making the words important and the rest the background, you’re going to start ignoring your ego and focusing on the world itself. You want to trade words from outside your head or inside your head for just plain listening. In fact, this practice is often so unusual today that people aren’t even sure how to do it.

Don’t cycle other’s words, or words from your past. Don’t discuss things longer than necessary. Look for a conclusion to the need for words and then take action. The idea is to try to stop using words as soon as you can, and then trade that for active listening. Again, it’s like the difference between going to a big crowd of people and looking for someone, versus noticing someone you know because your eyes and mind are open.

All you’re trying to find today is three things you couldn’t have known or learned were it not for the way you were listening. Three things you realised through sound but you learned it from sounds other than words. If that seems abstract to you–if you’re not sure what I mean–if my words are unclear; just try listening to the world. Then maybe, like seeing a friend you didn’t know was there, you will be able to hear this lesson clearly. 😉

Forget all the words. Be present instead. And have a wonderful weekend everyone.

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 Friday Dose #58

635 Relax and Succeed - Because when you stop and look around

You’d better be ready for this. Because this is substantial. This is meaningful. This is life-changing. Three different things that encourage you to look past the weak, insecure, uncertain thought-you and instead look deeply into your brave, capable and beautiful soul. Let’s share this baby around and get people feeling good about themselves!

Because these are so good I’m not going to get in the way much today. Here’s a good example of something you’re very likely to take entirely for granted—and yet as these people prove, you have a beautiful, precious gift that the universe has given you and you take virtually no joy from it. These people understand how lucky we are every single day. Maybe we should too:

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJ6Me4zVkwU]

*

Some people will be angry with this. But that’s okay. When we’re ready to see it we see it. And everyone who saw it made these same arguments about other people not understanding. But of course they were human and they did understand. And they were offering us the most beautiful spiritual embrace that later it seems silly that we tried to argue with them. May you realize clearly that this not disrespectful, it’s inspiring. And as it says, the difference is in how you look at it:

*

And let’s finish off by letting you listen to someone that realized that the difference between being a success and enjoying life, or feeling sad and lost. Those who read me regularly will find all of this very familiar—except she’s way cuter. (Watch the video, it sometimes starts 20 seconds in for some reason.) For those who are ready, here’s someone who’s inviting you through the doorway, with love. Come and shine your light. We’re waiting for you:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joy2Rl8qOt4]

*

Hopefully that has you at minimum questioning your thoughts about your limitations and maybe it even inspired you to the point where you feel awesome. But I can assure you that it is absolutely possible for you to revel on a regular basis in your own good fortune. When I teach people I don’t do anything for them. I just show them an ability they’ve misunderstood. And once they learn to really live with an attitude of genuine gratitude, then their lives transform and that’s when our days become magical. I look forward to when I can share that feeling with all of you. Until then,

peace. s

The Friday Dose is a collection of cool, interesting and surprising things that are chosen for their potential to distract you away from any painful thought loops that may currently be disrupting your sense of perspective. Save these for when you’re feeling low and you want to change your perspective. They’ll help Enjoy.

The Friday Dose #18 – Meaningless Joy

383 Relax and Succeed - How beautiful it is to do nothing

Last week I heard a story on the news that golf is dying because young people are too impatient for results and they don’t want to spend four hours relaxing in nature to see who won. They’re in so much of a hurry to get to the destination that they completely ignore the value of the journey. That’s sad, and that world was built and encouraged by my generation. I’m sorry about that. We were only trying to sell you more stuff so we could get more stuff. It’s not like many of us were very focused on the enjoyment of life. It was just a big race to collect what we were told to go get and we just kept adding to what everyone needed to collect. I’m hoping that the resulting emotional exhaustion is the straw that breaks this camel’s back.

Did it every occur to you that apparently useless activities could have value? It’s true. A friend of mine is a brilliant guy who’s ran several different kinds of businesses. He has a glider-flying game for his computer. Why? Because there’s no point. Because there’s no way to win. There’s no objective. You just go wherever you want to go. That’s a form of meditation. People used to sit around and stare at the fire. They still do if you give them the chance. But why? Because it doesn’t interrupt the quiet inside. It keeps you focused but it’s not demanding. You make your choices without tension because there is no price attached to the decision, unlike the rest of your life. That’s why it’s meaningful.

Here’s a meaningless little tool that you can have a lot of fun with. Play around with your choices. You have more of them that you immediately may realize:

Soundscape Manipulation

.

Have you heard of the painter Jackson Pollock? He used the tensile strength of paint to help him create. There was a fluid unpredictability to his motions and it adds a quality to his works that I would call kinetic and graceful. This tool is also pretty useless at anything other than relaxing your mind by giving you something to do that you can’t fail at:

Jackson Pollock Fun

.

And finally here’s one that’s a little more direct. Turn on your sound, crank up your volume and have some fun. Anyone can do it and it’s as fun as it is meaningless. And meaninglessness has real value in anyone’s life. Start investing more in it today:

A Beatbox For All Ages

.

Make your enjoyment of life a bigger priority. Stop trying to get things done and start being present more often. Because you never have been a Human Doing. You always have been and always were intended to be, a Human Being. Now go Be. 😉

peace. s