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

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

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

Other Perspectives #33

486 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - Sometimes having a conversation

This quote can be helpful or dangerous depending on how you take it. If by “having a conversation with yourself,” you mean that you want to ruminate, speculate, reconsider, wonder or re-live, then those things are actually quite unhealthy. But if you mean that you want to ask yourself questions like, what is the definition of me/I? or what is the source of my suffering? where you’re looking for that answer within yourself rather than blaming others, then that’s called meditation. That’s what Siddhartha did under the tree to become the Buddha, so in that case you’re making an excellent choice in terms of your psychological and spiritual development. So if you’re blaming anyone else or beating yourself up or re-living something unpleasant, then that’s unhealthy use of self-talk. If you’re using the self-talk to undue and deconstruct the self then that internal debate and those internal questions will absolutely lead to useful and rewarding answers. Happy meditating!

peace. s

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.

Let Go of Your Attachments

78 Relax and Succeed - In the end just three things matterI hear you all over the place. I hear you in coffee shops. I hear you where you work. I hear you out with your friends at the Farmer’s Market, or in a park with your dog. You’ll be happy when. When this happens, or when that happens. When this person does this, or that person does that. When you obtain this object or person, or when someone else loses some object or person. When you accomplish this thing or stop that thing. When you have more money, when you have more time, when you have have have….

There is a stick tied to your head and out in front of you dangles a carrot. No matter how long you chase that carrot, you will not catch it because it is only an extension of the thoughts in your head. Because you’re looking for happiness outside yourself, you feel you have to go and get something before you’ll be happy. So when you get your latest carrot, you’ll immediately notice it didn’t make you happy and you’ll immediately begin looking for a new carrot to chase.

Do you see how single-minded you are? How focused on only one path, one set of signposts for success? You don’t want happiness with any other person, you want happiness with a specific person. You don’t want happiness because you have shoes on your feet, you will only be happy if you have specific shoes on your feet. You want just the right food, just the right traffic, just the right attitude from your clerk. You’re essentially a big baby that wants a bunch of stuff and if you don’t get it, then the whole room is going to pay.

78a Relax and Suceed - You must be willing to let goOkay, be like that every now and again. But don’t live that way. There’s no need, and it’s agonizing. It’s like being a kid in a big yard full of amazing toys, but all of the other kids have convinced you to crawl through a narrow, dark tube where you can’t even see any other sources of joy other than the one you’re chasing.

You have to stop wanting things and people as sources of happiness, and you have to start understanding that happiness itself is the source of happiness. You don’t live some kind of good or successful life and then get some happiness. By being happy with whatever comes your way, you live a life full of happiness—and that is what a truly good and successful life looks like.

So what are you attached to? What is your happiness currently dependent on? Pay attention to your thoughts and you’ll discover what your ego has convinced you to need. Maybe it’s someone’s forgiveness. Maybe it’s someone’s apology. Maybe it’s a symbol of status or wealth. Maybe it’s a weight, or maybe a certain brand of clothes that you imagine everyone else would approve of.

78 Relax and Succeed - This isn't giving upWhatever it is, it will exist in language in your mind. It will be a conversation you have with yourself. That’s how that illusion will appear real—you will repeatedly talk it into existence within your own imagination. That is the only place that it will reside and it won’t relate to any other person but you. Only you create your ego for your self.

So quiet that wanting voice. Open your eyes. Look not for what you want, but what’s available. Because to a wise person, society looks like a large group of blind-folded people all standing among each other, with everyone wandering around arguing with each other about the source of a cure for their loneliness.

You are not alone. You are only attached to something. Let that go and join us in peace. Forgo your barrier-like ego conversations in favour of the quiet openness of true love. Or in other words, stop searching, take off your blindfold, and just embrace whoever’s closest to you.

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.