Wonders Never Cease

I am writing to you during one of the most remarkable events of my life. I am experiencing an emotion I haven’t felt since 2001: shock. Powerful insights like this tend to hit you a while before you’re aware of them, and then they generally unfold over several days, with your consciousness slowly making sense of the radical new truth over time. Everyone’s had insights, it’s just that very few people turn these sorts of events into language by discussing them with others, so people don’t really recognize them as insights.

914 Relax and Succeed - Actual picture of meThe first major insight I had was in the hospital shortly after my brain injury when I was five. That was when I first realized that if you could die at five, then the only point of being alive was to move in a positive direction until then. In my observations people were extremely consistent in that those who didn’t move in a positive direction were fearful and ultimately afraid of dying. I already knew death was inevitable, so going a positive direction until then seemed smart to a five year old so that is what I did.

My understanding that our thoughts create our reality was built very slowly over time because I discovered it through all kinds of secret experiments I rather callously conducted using virtually everyone around me. So the knowledge that reality was an inside-out manifestation came to me far too gradually to feel like a strong single insight. It was more like a slow and gentle awakening with no specific start or end.

My next major insight was in Budapest in 2001. The combination of a non-Latin-based language that left me mentally lost, the relaxation of a break after some intense work, and feelings of love and appreciation about the people and surroundings around me all lead to the perfect situation to have a profound realization.

As I’ve noted before, maybe it was a Bolte-Taylor styled stroke–there was a flash of whiteness and a deep tiredness immediately following it. Stroke or epiphany, however it came, a deep and abiding peace came over me and has stayed with me ever since that day.

914 Relax and Succeed - The pastSince then I’ve understood the perspective that provides our spiritual gurus with their unworried nature. Since then I’ve also understood formerly incomprehensible spiritual quotes. And most importantly, since then I’ve realized that not everyone understands that they’re always thinking, nor that their thinking is creating their reality. That was a big shock. In fact, it was the last shock I had before this one: you guys don’t know you’re creating your reality.

Of course I communicate with people who live in the ego-world full time, all the time, and I spend time there too, so I’m comfortable with it and I visit there often. But even when I’m there I know that ego creations are really an illusion of mind, which is why I’m successful at helping other people recognize in a very solid, scientific sense that our thinking absolutely does impact our reality. If it’s explained by someone who truly understands it, it’s very straightforward to come to the understanding that many things we take as real are in fact not-real.

My third major insight unfolded over the last few days or maybe even a week or more. Looking back, I can see signs that it developed over time, but because the insight directly involves time I’m not really sure how long it’s been unfolding. I just know my awareness has slowly been creeping toward reintegrating time into my consciousness.

I didn’t recognize this at first, but over the last 12 hours time has reformed into something I recognize. Of course I realized that time always should be kept track of, but losing track of its ongoing existence over longer periods of time was an oversight rather than a decision. I remembered the past fine, I just never noticed that I never noted when an event took place. I know it seems weird, but seeing time has been as weird to me as you not seeing it is to you.

914 Relax and Succeed - I'm not normalSince my accident as a kid I was aware that time was mental construct. This fact is why NASA is struggling with what to do with time in deep space. Leave a pretty arbitrary set of rules behind and suddenly time becomes an extremely slippery concept. So NASA agrees that time is a fiction, but mathematically proving that and actually living outside of it are two different things.

I honestly don’t know if something happened slowly over time, as with my study and understanding of thought and reality, or if it came as a result of my own stroke of insight (to steal a phrase) in Budapest. Signs point to the fact that it began that year in Budapest but either way, at some point I began living so thoroughly in the present moment that I literally stopped noticing the passing of time. I had a few hints of this over the years, but I never added them up to a loss of that sense almost entirely.

I know this all sounds incredible but I mean what I’m saying quite literally. Because as any decent physicist could explain, if you don’t glue a bunch of now’s together with your imagination there is no time. This isn’t to say I wouldn’t be aware of a vague date, but at the same time I wouldn’t automatically plot that on a larger timeline in relation to other events. It would only exist between its two nearest points and then vanish. This was an extremely common practice a few hundred years ago before clocks, but for today it’s a very, very unusual way to live (in at least the modern world).

The benefits I get with no passage of time include no grudges or the harbouring of any other negative emotions. No worry, lessons rather than regrets, no blame, and in most cases I can switch emotions comfortably and quickly toward more positive experiences. I can still experience time pressures but I can’t hold onto them.

914 Relax and Succeed - I awoke only to seeI am very available to human beings or living things when I’m present, and I feel a very strong sense of responsibility to others, but I don’t have a solid enough idea of a “me” to help me with a natural grasp of more conceptual things like time or even money. So a debt makes more sense to me than the dollars, does that make sense to you? I can add and manage both money and time very well, but their illusory nature makes them less sticky for my mind and I’m now aware I have to make their reality a much more conscious effort.

How much time has passed since this shift is what has shocked me. I’m not even sure what lead to me becoming aware of it having happened other than the fact that I appear to have caught up on my sleep for the first time in about eight years. Maybe it was a stroke and I just reconnected an old circuit. I suppose it could be that simple. But regardless of how, I suddenly became re-aware of time!

I’m still aware it’s an illusory state, but it was a complete mistake to not artificially integrate it into what was otherwise a very healthy understanding of reality. I suspect I would have accidentally hurt others due to this temporary displacement of time. In the past it was probably my other work and relationships that caused time to be kept more prominently in my mind. Without a regular schedule I lost my final mooring to the idea of time, at least until whatever brought it slowly back over the last week or two.

The net result of all of this is that I have a lot to catch up on and the books that are being completed are extremely important to me in that they represent what is really a life’s work in trying to understand what my accident taught me. So to ensure I have the time to live up to all of my existing responsibilities plus add some additional ones relating to a renewed dedication to time, I have no choice but to temporarily change the schedule of the blog.

914 Relax and Succeed - People will neverThis is a major insight that I’m confident all of us can learn from, so just as I took some time to write this one, I will add blog posts as I uncover this fascinating mystery. Already I’ve had an incredible amount of time-related insights, so I will add posts as circumstances allow. I really do have many very important things to take care of, but I’ll be sure not to waste this rising awareness. Hopefully my learning about how to move toward your sense of time will help you also understand how to move toward this very peaceful head-space, where time seems a little less tyrannical to you.

I know I have a lot of loyal readers for whom this will be very bad news and I am sorry. But these coming pieces should be very deep and similarly educational. Also, please always remember that the capabilities I write about here are always a natural aspect of you. You don’t need to improve or get better or learn something from me. I’m not creating you, I’m just waking you up.

You just need to forget there’s a you. That’s where the peace is that everyone’s looking for. Add to that an awareness of some key abstract concepts like time and you can find ways to combine your ego’s skills and spirit’s wisdom to create a much better life whether you are being taught to do so or not.

I thank you for your graciousness in creating this extra time for me. It’s still a very strange experience to suddenly become aware of something as basic to people as that. I’m sure it will teach me a lot to study it and reintegrate it and I look forward to sharing those lessons with you in the unknown future. Until then, please take good care of yourself and all those you love and I will see you all sometime soon.

With great respect for your time and attention, 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.

PS It’s just the most bizarre and incredible thing ever. And yet it somehow feels immediately natural. This is remarkable.

Distracting Thoughts

Every moment is new. You choose to repeat a lot of your choices but you are nevertheless born anew every moment. You are always free to make any choice you like. But most of you are frozen in place, having the same challenges in the same ways and it’s all getting you 667 Relax and Succeed - You can conquer almost any fearnowhere.

It’s like you’re mountain climbing but you’re too crippled by the snow. The snow is like your thoughts. I’m your guide and I’m telling you the snow is irrelevant. It’s just fluff in the face of your reality. The reality is the rock. Reality is what you’re choosing to actually bring into being with your determined thinking. That is what you’re climbing. The present moment.

Thoughts may fall from above but that is not the future. Those are thoughts about a potential, imagined future and you are looking ahead and those thoughts are hitting your consciousness in the Now. And looking down and seeing thoughts fall away toward your past is just as ephemeral. None of this matters. The snow below you is meaningless to what you are doing in this moment. The only thing that is solid is Now. That is where you live and it is the only place in which you can take action to impact your life. You cannot climb on the rock you were on, nor can you climb on the one you will be on. You are where you are and anything else is just a veil of snow created by your thinking. The worst it can do is distract you from moving forward.

Stop fantasizing and work from where you are. Forward is always forward anyway. It isn’t a direction, it’s a motion in and of itself. You’re not supposed to go somewhere, you’re supposed to just go. To sit and think is to not-live. That is to be in an egoic state. To enact the verb of any direction is what it is to truly be alive. It is very easy to get up every day and drive and walk places and eat and sleep and yet not be alive. It is possible to do all of that without an 667 Relax and Succeed - Hope is you imagining a futureinspirational motivation for the real you. The best you could do is imitate others, but if you do that you forgo the act of actually being yourself.

All you need to do is regularly reassert your direction. You can change that direction any time you like. You were never supposed to get anywhere anyway. But to move forward you must shift from where you are to a brand new moment. Do not ruminate. Do not let something as small as falling snow stop you from climbing the majestic mountain of life. The climb itself is a profoundly rewarding experience and to have it stopped by something as insignificant as our own pointless, repetitious thoughts is silly. Our thoughts don’t control us, we control our thoughts. You just blow the snow out of your face and you grab the next bit of rock.

Be present on the rock you’re on. Forget about the ones before, forget about the ones to come. Live now. It’s very calm there and there is very little to do. You need only take the step that you are on. Take that simple action and you will be surprised by the incredible heights your life will take you to.

May your day be filled with mindful motion.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #58

Far from your memory being separate from you, it more or less is you. You collect data on the world as you grow up and other people inform how you interpret that data. And the details surrounding that subtle act of translation is what makes up your identity. So if you were happy and you chose to think of a sad event, then it was not the event that made you sad it was your current sad thoughts about that past event. You could just as easily shift back to the current happy event and think about that, and then you would feel happy instead. So your memory is not some separate creature that roams through your brain like it has a mind of its own. It’s your mind and you’re doing the wandering by choice. Sure, go through a period of mourning the death of a relationship. But only do that as long as it feels good to do it. Once it starts to feel bad that’s the signal that you’re supposed to shift your thinking. That’s why it feels bad. So don’t spend much life living in past sadness wondering what if? People can drag that thinking out for decades. It’s terrible. Meanwhile life slips by. There’s no need. Sure it’s harsh sometimes. Accept that and move on. Not one of us has the market cornered on suffering. A decent percentage of the people we meet every day are going through huge challenges, be it serious medical treatments, a child or parent with serious disabilities, learning a new language, a violent spouse, the threat of unfair deportation, they’re in line to lose their job, or they have an addiction. Everyone has struggles. So life will already give us enough hills to climb. We don’t have to make it even harder for ourselves by adding in unnecessary barriers, like choosing to recall a past relationship rather than enjoy today by doing whatever feels right for the you you are today. Do not live in the past. For every moment you are doing it you are letting your present slip by. And the present is the only time you have available in which you can act. So live now. Appreciate what’s working, accept what isn’t and march on. But don’t use your ability to think to go retrieve painful memories. That’s simply a misuse of your consciousness. It’s innocent and easily fixable, but it can only be done by you. So please do choose yourself a beautiful day. Thanks! 😉

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.

Pain versus Suffering

People often start off on the wrong foot by coming to me thinking that their friends recommended me because they’re so happy. They think I make people happy. Sure, they end up happier, but that’s almost the exact opposite of what I actually teach them.

599 Relax and Succeed - We do not see things as they areI teach them to suffer. Only I teach them to suffer wisely.

Wise suffering? I know, weird eh? Who knew I was going to bump into such truths when I stumbled into figuring this out. So how do you suffer wisely? The answer is acceptance. Because if you meditate on the subject more closely you will see that it’s not really the pain that bothers you, it’s the concern that your suffering will linger or even stay.

As I’ve noted many times before, if emotions were actually good or bad then theaters and bookstores would be empty. No one would offer to pay perfectly good money to buy a book, bring it home, put some time into reading i, and then have it deliver to them the very thing that they tried to avoid all day—whether that’s fear or worry or profound sadness. But no, we’ll break our own hearts with Ivanhoe, or sit in dread with Stephen King, and we’ll even pay for the privilege. So in the end your own life proves to you that emotions themselves are not good or bad.

So what’s with this lingering-staying-suffering part? Please pay attention to the fact that everything I’m talking about here takes place entirely in your consciousness. And within your consciousness, because you choose to believe that some emotions are bad, when they show up in your life your reaction is to panic. You start to think to yourself, “Oh no, not sadness. I don’t want sadness again. Why do I keep dating people? It’s always painful! I’m so stupid! No wonder no one wants me,” etc. etc. Okay, so the realization of loss was something your pre-thought non-illusory mind experienced. But because your society trained you well, 599 Relax and Succeed - One day things will get betteryour brain immediately sought to categorize that thought into separate ideas that you describe to yourself using labels called words.

What you need to grasp is that it isn’t your breakup from two weeks ago that’s making you cry for days on end. The pain of loss and the occasional recognition or reminder of recent loss will understandably trigger the sad feeling we think of when we think of losing someone. The pre-word, pre-thinking feeling. But if you fully feel that without hesitation—and if you’re not afraid of any emotions—then you simply move into the next moment and feel your thoughts about that. These are those times when you might say that it felt good to cry. So if you’re only crying when you actually want to cry, then you just have to deal with the occasional painful feeling that gets stirred up when your consciousness is unexpectedly reminded of your past.

If however you choose to think a streaming narrative similar to the one I created above, then you will experience that as your emotions. Feelings come before the words, after the words it’s emotion. It’s why babies can feel love but not jealousy. One is before words so babies can feel that, but they can’t build the one after words until first they learn words. So what’s actually hurting you two weeks later isn’t your breakup, it’s your thoughts about the breakup. It’s the words. Because if you wouldn’t keep telling yourself stories about how it could have gone or how it should have gone, then those words would go quiet and you would feel what you were experiencing in the current moment—like the view, or a sound or smell—instead of chemically constructing a past or future experience out of unpleasant, judgmental words.

599 Relax and Succeed - We cannot control the windIt’s no different than reading a book. If your consciousness is considering a painful idea you will experience pain, just like when your consciousness is intentionally focused on the most rewarding thing you can find—then you feel exalted. You don’t feel what happened, you feel what you’re thinking about in this moment. So can you time travel and choose to think about painful things from the past? Of course. It’s how most of the world manages their sadness. But just the same you can manage your happiness too. You can choose to focus on what you’re grateful for.

This is all actually quite easy to do, so if you’re telling yourself I’m being flippant or that I’m wrong, understand that what you’re trying to do is off target. Because this is incredible easy. Remember at the start I said that people got happier by suffering wisely? Okay, so now maybe this explanation will make more sense: To suffer is to choose to think unpleasant pain-engaged or pain-resisting thoughts (they both involve pain equally), and all of this gets done in the hopes that the pain will somehow magically go away because we’ve suffered enough. So you have to put work into this. You have to choose to go in that painful direction—there’s effort #1—and then you have to put effort #2 into creating all 599 Relax and Succeed - If you want to be happyof the narratives that pedal the bicycle of your ego.

My way you just stop thinking, focus your consciousness on the most enriching, pleasant thing you can find and that naturally feels good. But to do that you have to accept the unpleasant feelings first. You can’t be thinking you live in some dream-world where the pain might possibly stop because you want it to, or that there is some magical way to live where you’ll never be in pain again. If you don’t work to hold those crazy beliefs then you only have to experience the feeling of actual pain but not the daily suffering of ego. (Things like being offended, or thinking people are wrong about their politics or art. It’s all very taxing.)

599 Relax and Succeed - The journey is the rewardYou will suffer. Many times. So stop trying to worry it away from your future, or regret it away from your past. Be present instead. If a powerful feeling is appropriate then feel it. But don’t use your ability to think in words as a way to torque a feeling into an emotion. Be sad when it’s appropriate to be sad. Be fearful when it is wise to be fearful. But the rest of the time just let your consciousness relax in silence—which is otherwise known as… happiness.

peace. s

 

The New You

People are always telling me about how bad their life is. What they mean is: so far they have made the kinds of choices that have lead to a life that wobbles between unpleasant and tolerable, with occasional spikes into worthwhile and deeply rewarding. But you can spend way more time intentionally feeling much better about your life if you know how.

550 Relax and Succeed - You are not directedThe mistake people make is that they spend most of their lives wishing for a different and better situation than they’re currently in, and they justify that useless fantasy by telling themselves that it might have really happened if your past had gone differently than it did. Well your past didn’t go that way so—as I’ve said before—if you’re aunt was a man she’d be your uncle. There’s no point in discussing ifs. It’s what is that counts.

So imagine there’s a bunch of different souls of you, and they take turns running your current body through the universe. So imagine we’re at soul three, going into four. (the Dalai Lama’s at 14!) The old soul—the one that has the endured the most recent experiences and that has collected the the most recent wisdom—s/he leaves the body and the new you jumps in. BAM. You’re suddenly the physical, live version of you for the very first time. It’s all new to you. Really basic stuff would be fun because it would be just like your first time. It would be like being each previous version of you for a short while before you caught up to who you are today. Hot, wet, funny, celery, dogs. It would be amazing to experience those things with five senses for the first time again. But the best part? Each successive soul leaves their wisdom behind! I know! It’s crazy what a great deal that is but that’s what happens. You step in fresh and you get all of their knowledge, wisdom and experience. Get ready to rock.

Can you imagine that? You’re free. Clear. Yes, you have those memories within your brain, but the old you doesn’t hang around to explain your history because all you really need is the wisdom. So you would just move forward with clear-headed, open and aware innocence. You’d be a genius. And you always can be. You just have to shut down your judgmental, opinionated mind and stop returning to/recreating past dramas in your imagination. Your past is not now. It’s what you do now that will build your future. So don’t waste that opportunity by lamenting where you wish you could have been or on what might have happened. Instead fully live the life you’ve chosen so far, but do it more wholeheartedly. See it for what it is: an opportunity to be alive. You’ll realize what a privilege it is when you feel your death approaching.

550 Relax and Succeed - Go quiet with genuine faithEach morning, step out of bed and remind yourself that these are early days for this new you. Feel the surfaces under your feet. Smell the air. Make eye contact with pets as though you’re truly getting to know them for the first time. Taste your beverage like you’ve never had liquid in your mouth before. Be fully alive. Remind yourself that you have been asleep, your predecessor has departed and you have awoken into this life. There is no need for historical thinking. You can simply move forward with a quiet mind in the present moment, and if you feel compelled to think about anything, it’s your future.

Your past does not dictate how well your life will turn out. It is moment to moment decisions that ripple out into effects on a moment to moment basis. So your future isn’t mapped and decided—your past is irrelevant. Just be in the moment you’re in and make the choice that feels right. Because this new you has nothing else to go on but feel. So go for it. It’s a lot less work than all the guessing and planning and speculating and worrying that you were doing before. And it will leave you more aware and awake to enjoy the incredible life that will come from trusting yourself. Because in the end, where you end up matters way less than who’s present when you get there. Have a great day.

peace. s

Directing Your Life

Imagine your life as a high-tech movie that is shown as it is made. This movie will play only once, in only one direction, and only one frame will be in front of the bulb of consciousness at any given moment. That frame is known as the present moment. Once you have seen a frame you will never see it again. Since the film is being made as it’s shown, you do have the option to re-create a previous frame in a later scene, but it still won’t be the original frame—it’ll be a new one that you have purposefully built to look like the old frame. Life is always new, even if that newness is invested in reconstructing previous times.

525 Relax and Succeed - Life is like a movieKeep in mind that the film is being made as it is being shown. When we say we have become conscious, what we mean is that we have become aware of our role in the creation of our film/reality. If we change our thoughts we will change how things are. Can you see then how this saves you from suffering about the past? Can you see how, just by understanding this one point, you can be free of a big chunk of optional suffering?

Once you’re conscious you know that you decide which movie you’re making. So you know that you can’t blame flashbacks on the characters in the scenes. Those thoughts are yours. So if you’ve chosen to edit in some flashback from a painful time in your life then that is your choice. But then don’t expect to feel happy during a sad scene. If you want to re-construct an unpleasant past event then of course you get the emotions that go with it. It’s a very simple system. But likewise, being happy’s that easy too.

You’re the Director. You decide how you want your story told. If you choose to make horrors or maudlin dramas then don’t be surprised when you get the appropriate reactions. The real question is, are you going to choose to meaninglessly re-construct troublesome past experiences, or are you going to use that same psychological energy to create some new and worthwhile experience instead?

525 Relax and Succeed - She could never go backThe film that’s been shown has been shown. You can’t go back and fix the past. The more you return to it the more you keep it alive in the present moment. You can argue for how compelling it is. You can suggest it’s natural to re-live it. But none of that explains why you aren’t that way about dozens of other things in your life. No, sorry: you choose your thoughts. If you’re thinking painful ones then that is not because those thoughts weigh more or something strange like that. “Important thoughts” are ones you think often, whereas “unimportant thoughts” you barely think at all. That is the only difference between the two—the weight of your consciousness.

You can’t make a film by thinking about the scenes you’ve already shot. Those are done and you’ve moved on. You have to get focused on the scene you’re in. Using current scenes to meaninglessly repeat previous scenes is insane. Recognize your freedom and ability. Create scenes that are easy to enjoy. Forget the idea that you will make the present better by revisiting the past. Save yourself from your own flashbacks and be alive today instead.

Now go and have/create/direct yourself a wonderful day!

peace. s

Other Perspectives #12

360 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - Dear past stop tapping me

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.