The Stream of Time

What does Henry David Thoreau mean? Is this silly? Opaque? Meaningless? Profound? It’s actually all of those things, and you’ll turn it into whatever it becomes. Clearly people post it as a quote because it means something, so it’s not silly or meaningless, but it can also be so obscure that its nature can conceal its profundity.

Anyone who looks at it and thinks about it long enough knows that you are only ever alive now. You lived 10 years ago, but you’re not alive there now, you’re here, in the present. So any thoughts about your past or about your future are all thoughts, and they are all thought now, about then or later. You can think about other times as a present-time activity. So you can use now to revisit then if you like. The problem is that you do it a lot when you don’t like it, but that can stop.

Sometimes you’re just casting. You’re not after anything, you’re just reminiscing. That’s the best kind of fishing. The kind where it’s just as good even if there’s no fish, or no keepers. And if you’re that casual about your life, then if you pull in something that you think is ugly or unwanted, you can just catch and release–you can just let that collection of thoughts go.

Other times you’re casting looking for pretty specific fish. These are the old hollows you return to in your mind, over and over, in a bid to finally land that big fish and end your fishing. But you fail to notice the irony of fishing to end fishing. You don’t erase unpleasant experiences from your psyche, you just don’t load them into active memory. You don’t fish for what you don’t want to catch.

Understand, your body is alive in the present, but you’re usually not with it in the present, you’re time travelling forward or backward using your thoughts. So your experiences of fear or anxiety or sadness or loss, these are all thoughts about other times, and yet because they are emotionally imprinted, you see them as your life.

You have to take where you go and what you fish for more seriously. Far too many people just fish for whatever their parents fished for, without much thought of whether or not that’s actually the best route to an enjoyable fishing trip. We should use our feelings to grade our thoughts, and if they’re leading us to feel lower or worse, then we should stop thinking them.

You have no big huge miraculous thing to do. You already live within an enlightened state, you just want to be more conscious of it. To do that you only need to stop yourself from fishing in your yesterdays or tomorrows, and instead focus on being on the river now, today. Because that is where you life is lived and that is where your balance is kept. The present literally is a gift. Come alive within it.

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.

Appreciating Contrast

1104-relax-and-succeed-the-bad-newsWhat is a day made of? Because it’s a lot more than 24 hours. If it’s your last day of your vacation it can rocket by, and yet if you’re waiting for an ambulance with a loved one, minutes can feel like hours. Time is pretty flexible within our consciousness.

The two examples of above demonstrate that time is dictated by experience. Experiences we don’t want feel long and experiences we do want slip by quickly. So days are made of  your desire for, or resistance to, experiences. Since want is a habit of ego we’re better not to have any expectations, but obviously there are some experiences that are easier to feel better about than others.

Watching a gut-wrenching film can be painful, but it can also bring us closer to people in the long run. On the other hand, as soon as we see an old friend for the first time in a long time we feel fantastic. Of course, neither would feel like anything unless each had the other to contrast itself against. This is the nature of oneness–the yin and yang of being.

1104-relax-and-succeed-i-must-also-have-a-dark-sideAs you’ve heard me say before, this means there is not good things or bad things, but rather things you enjoy and things that help you appreciate enjoyment. So walking normally has no value unless you’ve been unable to do so for some time. Time with loved ones becomes more precious after the loss of a loved one, etc.

Both things are required for existence, but one’s very easy for you and the other creates value, but you wont read this blog to figure out how to enjoy nice things; you’ll spend most of the year reading this blog trying to figure out how to see the value in the more difficult experiences.

If both are necessary, why is one easy and the other more difficult: because one you’ve dreamed of, and the other was either unconsidered or it was a nightmare. One felt in alignment with who you believe you are and the other feels out of alignment with that. To become our greatest selves, we must expand to the point of still feeling in alignment even when we’re experiencing things we do not naturally enjoy.

Your physical reactions to the chemistry you feel as your emotions are your experiences. What chemistry you get depends a lot on how your spirit approaches those variances. You see some people bothered a great deal by relatively small things, and yet you see others who can stay calm during remarkably tempestuous periods. One of these people would be lost in ego, and the other will have developed spiritual awareness.

1104-relax-and-succeed-we-could-never-learnToday’s meditation focuses on recognising this difference. Your job today is easy. Find three examples in your life that demonstrate this difference but using the same events. That is to say, find one experience that you did like that you no longer do, and then find two that you disliked that now you’re grateful for. And once you’ve defined what they are, really spend some actual time revisiting how you felt at the time in each of them. Directly contrast those two different feelings about the same event.

Remember those good feelings, and remember when you applied new thoughts to them and they evolved into things you’d consider negative. And then think about those painful or difficult things, and then really spend time considering that those same events now feel genuinely valuable. That’s it. It’s an easy one but again, these add up. If you’ve done these every week, you will have expanded yourself.

Meditate on past experience. Recognise the changeability of events, and witness your consciousness making that flex. That isn’t the world, that’s you. Own that difference. Find it, and learn enough about it that you truly start to get an understanding that the difference between then and now is simply your approach to whatever it is. Because that is your great power in this universe, but you cannot flex it until you can better understand it, so use today to increase your understanding. And don’t forget to enjoy your day while you do it.

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.

When Defines You?

1086-relax-and-succeed-caveman-man-barcodeYes, when defines you. Really, this is kind of obvious. If I take you back to the Middle Ages, no matter who you are you’re bigger than da Vinci. You’re the greatest genius ever. You would casually be able to do things that would have been astounding in other times.

Sure, a Knight from the round table might find the steel armour of your car fascinating, but you would appear like a God with your ability to drive it. By the same logic, if we put you 200 years into the future you’d likely be lost. You’d be looking for a kitchen, not a replicator. And even if you found one you wouldn’t know how to use it and you might not even recognise half the food.

Can you see that you’re neither smart nor dumb? You can know a lot about now and be considered smart, or you could know very little and be seen to be dumb, and yet we could take Einstein into the year 2500 and he would be clueless. Einstein would have no idea how to use the internet. See? In some ways you’re smarter than Einstein, but even though that’s obviously true, you don’t feel smarter than Einstein do you?

1086-relax-and-succed-remember-when-many-jobsNow let us look at who you’ve been in the past. When you were born you were helpless. Eventually you got to the point where you could look after some basics, and then you were primarily independent, and maybe in your thirties or forties you will hit your peak. By then there’s another generation coming along with a bunch of new things you’re not even interested in learning.

Many of the new things and ideas won’t appeal to you because by then you’re interested in things worth a lot more than any identity. After that, even without conscious development, most people will slowly stop fighting to protect their identity just because it starts to seem so meaningless once you’ve hit the point where you really do accept that you’re going to die. This is one of my only two advantages over everyone else. By five I knew you could die.

First you need others, then less so, then not much, then more so, and finally you reach a point where you couldn’t even hope to help yourself. That’s everyone’s point of ultimate acceptance, but you don’t have to wait for death for it. You can accept yourself now.

1086-relax-and-succeed-life-of-modern-peopleToday’s meditation asks you to look back at your life to find: three separate versions of yourself. Pick three ages where your identity changed. Look at how different these people are. They might not even strike up a conversation at a wedding they’d see themselves as so unrelated. You could easily get into arguments with different versions of yourself!

For example, I could list being below the age of consent. You might have been able to drive the car when you were 13, but in most countries you’re at least 18 before you are defined as being someone capable of driving. Later, they’ll take your licence way–maybe even prematurely–because you have been defined by your age just like you were when you got the licence.

Then I could take myself in my 20’s, when both the world and I had the idea that I should be married. That was somehow automatic. That identity was given to me by my culture. I got married to a wonderful person just so I could be the person I was supposed to be at that age. But we both faked it. We were trying to be something for other people but, the truth is, we just hadn’t met the people we wanted to marry yet. And that would have been fine; we would have made good friends if we had not been so subtly defined by our time.

1086-relax-and-succeed-i-love-you-every-stepFind out who you’ve been. See how much you’ve changed. There’s been people that loved every version of you and yet you could argue with yourself. So ask yourself; if these different versions of me could even disagree about me, then why would I even try to impress other people? Seriously, think about that last sentence carefully.

Three ages. Don’t stop until you’ve caught yourself being surprised at how different you really were. For this reason, this can be a great exercise to do as a pair or in a group; especially if they’ve known you a long time. Many of them would see your changes better than you can. Do this exercise. Become less solid and more fluid and you will flow through life with greater grace.

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.

Something’s Gotta Give

971 Relax and Succeed - c'mon inner peaceWe’ve seen it reflected in elections and unrest around the world. We can see it in the fact that the world never really has bounced back from the economic card game that collapsed in 2008. Once people had maxed out their credit trying to survive the world hit a limit. With no more money available and no ability to work harder or longer, even in the richest countries there are a lot of scared people and frightened individuals create an angry and defensive society.

Added to the financial stress is time stress. Everyone’s rushed. Everyone’s phone now gives work access to them 24 hours a day and work will use that time if it can get it. Work isn’t human. Work is a creation of mankind. It is an animal that perpetually wants to be fed more and more every month, every day, every year. No sales manager ever told his team to sell less next month. If someone’s over 40 that’s really starting to add up to no personal life.

In the days where your landline waited at home while people were at work, people used to answer their phone maybe once or twice a day for a personal phone call. No texts. No instant messages. No collection of 20 messages at 10 different social media sites. No classes, just maybe the odd kid taking piano or in judo. Rather than organised sports most kids played pick-up neighbourhood games. Just remove all of those responsibilities from your week. That is a huge percentage of your day. And how much of that would you care about on your deathbed? None. You’d care if your kid was there by your side, you wouldn’t care whether or not they could play the piano.

971 Relax and Succeed - Dream more complain lessSo what did people used to do with all of that time and peace of mind? They used to pursue hobbies or took courses to expand themselves not to make more money. They didn’t need that money because they didn’t have to buy a microwave VHS Walkman CD juicer iPod monitor DVD gym membership X-Box Blu-Ray smartphone Occulus or 70% of the restaurant food now sold. They used to spend way more time with friends and family. Most people didn’t hire anyone else to build decks or fix a toilet or do basic work on their car. If they didn’t know how to do something they found a friend or neighbour who did and you know what? They had the time to help and they did and it was often very enjoyable time.

The challenge with the technological world is that it has created the image that we’re all connected when we’ve never been further apart and it’s not just grey-haired people that can feel that. I’ve taught college kids who were stressed by 25 that they couldn’t keep up with technology. Most people have given up by 35 or they’re stressed. So what’s it all for if we just want to surrender it later?

The pain tells us that it’s information. It’s not life going badly, it’s information about how life is going. Pain is like a gauge in your car. The thermostat isn’t overheating, it’s telling you that the car is. Pain isn’t you failing, it’s the universe telling you that what you’re doing isn’t working. The problem today is that a lot of people can’t figure out how to get enough time to eat or sleep let alone find a way to find some other path that can work for their life, so the problem isn’t the humans it’s the machine.

The machine distracts us from being human. Rather than looking at a face and hearing a voice we contort our hands into machine-shapes and type a message on a keyboard that appears on a two-dimensional screen in symbols that strip out the valuable human information that would be transmitted by having in a person’s eyes right in front of you. It’s shallow when what we seek is depth.

It can seem strange then that I might suggest giving as a solution but I don’t think I mean it in the way you might imagine. I know a lot of people would be almost angered by the thought: how is giving everything not enough!? But I’m not suggesting adding more giving, I’m suggesting that you alter where your giving goes. Only by reintegrating ourselves back into our communities can our communities reintegrate back into us. We must know our neighbour before we can do them favours, and if enough of us do that then we’re not doing each other favours, we’re cooperating on a larger goal to create a safe and healthy society. That’s how drops become a drink.

971 Relax and Succeed - It's not about havingWe’ve spent too much time being sold the singular, cool, proud, branded, I gotta be me; loaded with achievements and never needing help. That is not how humanity got here and it won’t be how it goes anywhere. You’re not broken if you’re tired and worn out. We accidentally built an inhuman world and you’re hardly alone. Even the so-called winners are often alcoholics and drug addicts to cope.

Start cutting the selfish in favour of the selfishly selfless. Rich and poor alike, we don’t need another app or another website or another tool of efficiency. What we need is some restful time where we’re connected to others, but that will not happen until you stop and do a serious assessment to figure out how your time can be better invested in your future happiness.

Set aside some time right now to do that this weekend. Look at a normal week and be brutally honest about where the time goes, even if it is frivolous. And then ask yourself where it could go? And if you ask long enough… I guarantee you’ll find something that’ll feel enriching and rewarding–something you’ll get excited about. I do hope you give yourself that time.

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.

Big Decisions

918 Relax and Succeed - The awakened sagesI will need a lot more deep meditation before I can distill everything I am learning about time, but one thing I can state is that I’m slowly starting to have a deeper understanding why so many of you struggle with the idea of having to make big decisions.

If you live on a timeline where you can move toward or away from events then that is fatalism. If you’re locked in and nothing you can do will change anything then you’re predestined for a certain life. But you’re not a fatalist because you’ll also place possibility on that timeline, which means looking backwards you’ll see a single line of where you have been, but looking forward you see an infinite number of potential lines and in some cases where they go is wildly different.

By wildly different I mean having a kid or not, living in this country or that one, marrying this person or that. I don’t mean that one direction is adventure and joy and the other is pain and suffering–the path won’t have as much impact on your feelings as your state of mind, and that’s kind of my point. When I say wildly different I mean what’s different is the narrative that unfolds during your life.

918 Relax and Succeed - If you are depressedSo a big decision is when your most preferred routes through a situation represent massively different outcomes to you, with the outcomes being defined as the labels you’re left with. So in one case you’re married to this person and in another you’re married to that person and as time moves forward you feel pressure increase to make a choice before time causes the choice to vanish (people getting too old to have kids, marrying someone before someone else does, etc.).

These decisions matter a lot to you because you see those label distinctions as being indicators of the right decision. And by right I mean that later in life you assess that the decision lead to lots of labels that you value at the time of your judgment regarding the decision’s “success.” So if you left a bad relationship just in time to have a kid with someone, then that kid being a source of joy will be seen as being the result of the decision to leave the previous relationship. So the child and parenthood will be seen as a positive outcome resulting from the decision to leave the old relationship. I get your logic in that. It makes sense. But only in an ego-world.

Imagine the exact same decision but the new love ends up injured, then addicted to painkillers and that leads to challenges raising the child who later becomes a drug addict and a whole helluva lot of trouble. That could totally happen. And then you’d be sitting there in your rented apartment with an eviction notice because your stoned kid damaged the place again. You would determine that the choice to leave the previous relationship many years ago was the wrong decision and that it was what lead you to where you are–even though you know if your partner never got that injury none of the other issues would have unfolded.

918 Relax and Succeed - Life is like a cameraSo was the decision really wrong because it lead to the troublesome kid? Or was it just a choice that lead to a zillion other choices which combined with the choices of a zillion other people and things that all lead you to where you are? Because otherwise you’re highlighting events in time rather arbitrarily, like someone randomly choosing stars from an infinite sky and then forming just those chosen ones into a constellation that they then call their life.

My point is, on a later date they could just as easily look up and choose different stars and get a different picture of their life. It would all depend on the mood of the astronomer at the moment they were asked to judge their life. So to me trying to sail toward some specific constellation is to try and choose castles in the sky to live in. It can’t really be done.

You cannot choose tomorrow’s happiness today. Life has no guarantees. No matter what you decide your life will depend far more on who you are in any given moment than it will on what choices you made in some past moment. Sure, you might have a kid or not have a kid and that can seem huge, but in the end even the wonder of a child is just like any other experience in life–it’ll still be variously enjoyable and challenging.

918 Relax and Succeed - You either get the benefit you were expectingWhether I’m finding life rewarding or challenging, those two states are determined by my agreement with or resistance to what is going on in the present moment. That being the case, I choose to focus more on my moment-to-moment reactions to what’s happening now than on any long term planning for success. Otherwise there’s just too many factors that I don’t control. This is what it is to surrender into existence.

Our desire to avoid suffering leads to a hopeless desire to plan our way around it. The acceptance that there is no clear and perfect path takes that pressure away. Time becomes less compressed and the labels lose their value. What you are left with is the beautiful simplicity of the present moment.

The question is, with the world looking as it is and with people’s lives feeling like they do, what convinced us that decisions made in the moment are somehow less likely to lead to rewards than when we plan? If people look closely at the people around them I think they might find the opposite is more likely to be true. The planner’s lives are filled with successes and failures and a great deal of dramatics. The in-the-moment people never have failures, they’re always either simply enjoying themselves or they’re growing. And if you’re okay with that, that can feel like winning either way.

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.

Time Warp

916 Relax and Succeed - Nothing is more preciousHow come you guys never noticed this before? It’s interesting to me that in all of the time I have been writing not one person had ever called or written to me to ask a question about Time. This is in part undoubtedly because I’ve rarely (if ever), written about it. It’s a very large and curious omission on my part. I’m fascinated by the fact that I never noticed it at all.

To be honest I thought I would have more substantial insights to present you–and maybe these are substantial from your perspectives. But I’m surprised at how slippery this concept is for me. In the strong suspicion that it will be very beneficial to you, I’ll tell you what I’ve learned about time so far.

I’m pretty sure I know why I had this realization. I was helping a client with some training in how to build a calmer work life and one of the challenges was scheduling. He would see how much work I got done and feel terrible in comparison. The comparison wasn’t helpful or useful, so I just explained how things could be structured differently.

916 Relax and Succeed - People don't realizeWe set up a highly structured calendar with alarms as each section shifted. I built one for myself in an effort toward solidarity. It always helps when you’re trying something new and scary if someone will do it with you. I’ve never minded a schedule really, so I set one up that structured the work I was already doing and a couple things I’d realized I’d missed.

Without realizing, I was teaching someone who, on a continuum, was probably the closest person to me I had ever met. The nature of being a writer on a project means you tend to be extremely busy due to working very long hours, but those hours can be worked whenever you have the most energy. This means I haven’t had to have a steady schedule since I worked in an office with others, over 10 years ago–right around the same time I had that unusual experience in Budapest.

It turned out that by using the internal corporate structure I was moving around within the framework of a calendar and clock all week long. This allowed the framework of time to extend past Now in my mind. I still knew it was a fiction, but it was often a useful one. At some point over the next couple years I literally decoupled from the artificial idea of a calendar and largely even a clock.

916 Relax and Succeed - To be in timeThis went entirely unnoticed until my brain spent about four weeks switching back and forth on a regular schedule, all thanks to the artificial calendar I built to support the client. Slowly my brain was reintegrating this idea back into my life. Then that one day I looked at my computer after feeling a bit strange, and when I saw my calendar it literally unfolded like a Jacob’s Ladder of computer monitors in each direction, adding progressively dimmer weeks on each end. It was like a part of my brain had just turned about 5 years old.

I figured out Time was artificial by about 12 years old just by using my daily meditations to understand where things came from. It just never occurred to me that I could lose touch with it if I didn’t voluntarily subscribe to it to a fairly regular degree. And then I remembered: that’s what I teach you guys all the time; if you don’t do a thing your brain won’t be very good at doing it. And yes, this definitely applies to Time.

So Time isn’t a thing it’s a measuring device you place over… space-time (let’s save that for another time). So it’s like you’re a flashlight and you’re pointed down at a giant measuring tape. This tape goes on forever. A busy-minded person has their light a long way from the tape, and so they’re always taking a lot of time into account, and that’s what makes them sad or angry or anxious.

I am someone who lives very close to Now. So my light is so close to the measuring tape that it doesn’t even really see that thing in front of me as a measuring tape. I’m close enough to be able to see the thing it’s measuring: moment by moment life. So I’m not looking at the tape, I’m taking in life. This is called presence.

916 Relax and Succeed - Let go or be draggedAnxious people are a long way from experiencing direct reality through presence. They tilt their light toward a future they unhelpfully illuminate. They tell themselves stories about what might happen, about what could happen, or even should happen. Meanwhile depressed people tilt their light backwards on the measuring tape, always reassessing what has already taken place in time. By focusing the light of their consciousness on the past, they hope to somehow create a different past would lead to a different them in different circumstances. That act of perpetual wishing steals most of their own strength in an innocent but meaningless attempt to fix something that has already happened.

I still do have to figure out how to live a little bit deeper in Time than I’m currently able, and I’m working on exercises to help with that. At the same time, I’m here to help you realize more mental, emotional and spiritual health, and so it would do you a lot of good to become a lot more like me and focus on Now, rather than all of these other past or potential times.

Look at your own life and get more conscious about where your mind is really at. Because your body and your eyeballs being somewhere means little if you’re mind is somewhere or somewhen else. Now might be presenting a few challenges for me, but I’m very confident they’re not as difficult and unpleasant as those that are generated by living too deeply within the very limiting construct of Time. 

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.

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.

The Friday Dose #93

Winner: 2015’s Friday Dose of the Year

825 FD Relax and Succeed - You have to be oddWe’ll make this easy. First we’ll look at the lyrics for Pink Floyd’s prescient song, Time. Then you can ask some exciting questions about what you’ll do with the rest of your time, and then I’ll close off with a live version of the song for those that would like to see it as well as hear it.

We’ll start off with the lyrics of Time because that’s what you want to stay aware of when you watch the video that follows:

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.

(Mason, Waters, Wright, Gilmour)

This video starts off with a good point: if you look back at your life and see missed opportunity then that means you didn’t lack opportunity, you simply didn’t act. You didn’t go grab your life. Lucky, happy people with rewarding lives weren’t born into those. They chose their way into them. What will you choose today?

And if you really want to see the song performed, here’s Roger Water’s group doing it in Buenos Aires:

Have a fantastic weekend everyone.

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 - Friday Dose Footer

The Music of Your Life

Today could turn out to be a very good day for you. When you’ve been teaching this for a while it gets tough to come up with new metaphors and analogies to describe the very simple central truth that everyones seeking–the one that will bring them peace. But every now and then one of us stumbles into a new way of saying the oldest thing ever and this is one of those days.

822 Relax and Succeed - To play a wrong noteIt’s nice to see vinyl records making a comeback. I still remember walking into Mr. Sound and buying the entire Beatles collection of albums at once. I was a huge audiophile, reading Absolute Sound, buying handmade amplifiers by serial number because they were made by true genius electronics pioneers. They’re like the times you live in: they impact what your song sounds like in surprisingly dramatic ways.

I ran things like Linn Sondek turntables with an Infinity Widow arm holding a Grado Signature III. And at the end of that incredibly expensive cartridge was a tiny diamond. That diamond represents you. You’re so sure the way you are can’t be right. You must need to change. But maybe you’re just not relaxing into your own groove.

There are an infinite number of turntables. Our turntable is our world and its laws etc, and its spinning is time. The groove is your life–the people you meet, the experiences you have, your language, your schooling, where you live, how you were raised etc. Those things define the borders of your beliefs–the edges of the groove. And you bumping up against those things is what creates the music of your life.

The problem comes from your knowledge of other turntables, other records, other sounds. Your ego does this thing called comparison and you get the idea that your song can be wrong. The song can’t be wrong okay? No sounds are wrong. Just because your sound doesn’t mix well with someone else’s song doesn’t make yours or their songs wrong. They just don’t harmonize.

822 Relax and Succeed - When you playThe people playing hip hop will be friends, but that doesn’t mean that the people playing opera aren’t valid. There are people playing nature sounds and others playing documentaries. All are valid. The only problems come for us as individuals comes when we want out of our own groove and so we add resistance to our lives. We constantly lean against our groove in our attempt to force ourselves onto a different record, as though that was possible, when all it really does is make our own song sound unbalanced.

It is not the needle’s job to question the groove. The needle does not need to concern itself with what was previously played from the recording nor does it need to worry about or create expectations around the song further down the groove. Maybe the composer of the universe threw a weird bridge into the song. Just be in the moment you’re in and bounce through it naturally as you and it will all sound perfect. Perfectly you. That’s all we were ever looking for. Because that is the music of you.

As I often write, we all change numerous times in our lifetime. Don’t worry if you’re currently experiencing the bounces of a broken-hearted ballad. Time will ensure that a new song will arrive to you naturally. There is nothing you need to fix or do. Simply live and life will uncoil. Never fear. No matter which path you take, you’re always in your groove.

peace, s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Other Perspectives #91

816 OP Relax and Succeed - Forgiveness is a promise

With all due respect, I would like to draw attention to the difference between an ego’s idea of forgiveness and spiritual forgiveness. An ego’s idea is what’s expressed above. It’s a nice sentiment, it’s certainly not a bad thing if you do it, but it asks someone to do something in the future, which doesn’t exist in the healthiest mindspace. You’re always Now. So much like the post on Setting Limits, you cannot set an expectation of the future without risking adding further suffering to your life. On the other hand you can spiritually forgive someone, which has nothing to do with the other person at all. You’re not doing anything for them. You’re saving yourself by only living Now, which means you are not choosing to think about something painful that happened in some ethereal past. If something did happen again and you look past it out of love and forgiveness again, (in that Now), then you’re truly forgiving. So you might “fail” at forgiving one in ten times if you weren’t in a healthy state of mind. But that didn’t mean you failed at forgiving. You just missed being conscious once. And people can appreciate the effort in a nine-out-of-ten. They might even respect you a bit more if they’re occasionally reminded of how much the event hurt you and that it takes spiritual effort on your part to keep it out of your today. No one can demand your forgiveness. But your voluntary choice to leave painful thoughts in the past is something you are always free to do and it does improve all relationships.

peace, s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

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