Wave Energy

Okay, this one’s simple, but it can be tricky to grasp at first. Not difficult—tricky. It would be unreasonable to call tying your shoes difficult but—when you’re first learning—it is tricky. Okay. Ready?

547 Relax and Succeed - Feelings are much like wavesWaves don’t push beach balls towards the shore because the ball is sitting on the water, not on a wave. The weight of the water versus the lightness of the beach ball causes the beach ball to float on the substance that is water. That is how they interact. In this metaphor, the reality of you the ball, and the external reality of the water, are where the two realities come to exist by their very meeting. But just like with the beach, don’t mistake the water for the wave.

The water is neutral. It’s the energy in the wave that acts up0n the water. The energy and frequency will dictate the wave, not the water. Meaning you are better to invest your life in paying attention to the frequency, magnitude and speed of the wave than you are to the temperature or look of the water. To turn the metaphor around, you’re better to invest your life paying attention to the energy behind your thoughts, than you to pay attention to external events. The events, like the water, will be dictated by the energy that’s put into that reality by your thoughts.

You know this energy as your feelings or emotions. These are feelings you know well, and yet you’ve spent almost no time truly considering their origins. Someone can insult you, but if you don’t respect them, then the insult means nothing. Another person can insult you, but if you do respect them, then you will choose to believe that idea by thinking it about yourself, and that act will lead you to suffer. Whatever thought you have generates a kind of energy that creates the wave that either raises or lowers your ball.

547 Relax and Succeed - What a liberationYour sense of being comes from your thinking about the world. You can be in intake mode where you are aware, or output mode where you are creating an ego by having a thought-conversation with yourself. If you think angry or busy or worried ego-thoughts, then you will feel angry, tired and afraid. But if you’re in intake mode, you’ll feel appreciation in some form.

Don’t get caught up in battling with the water. Focus on the wave. Feel its energy. And steer yourself accordingly. If one part of the wave is unpleasant, then shift the weight of your thinking onto something more positive and/or enriching. Because there are no perfect waves. There are just waves that get surfed almost perfectly.

Stop treating your egocentric narrative like it’s anyone else’s reality. Those thought-waves are yours and yours alone. Only you feel them. You find reality when you’re not-thinking. When you are open and aware. Then you’re available to feel the universe. You can ride the energy of an experience much like you can a wave. You just have to remember to put more of your weight on catching the flow of the most enriching experiences available. Feel the energy beneath you. You are a part of it. Pay attention. 😉

peace. s

Spirits, Ghosts and You

Because of the experience I had when I was little, many people ask me about my experiences with life after death, my belief in ghosts and spirits, and whether or not I believe in any kind of God. They are often surprised that my response feels as much scientific as it does spiritual or paranormal.

542 Relax and Succeed - We can think of the soulShelagh Rogers recently did an interview on CBC Radio’s show The Next Chapter, where she talked about a variety of subjects with author Karen Connelly. Among them were questions about the spiritual events surrounding Connelly’s sister’s recent death. In the interview Connelly talked about how, as her sister faded, she began using blunt terms for travel for her situation. It’s important to note that she wasn’t using them as metaphors—she would talk as though she was literally going somewhere with statements like, I’m not allowed to leave, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to leave, or where’s my passport I’m leaving soon. Connelly talked about how her research after the fact demonstrated that those are common terms of reference in palliative care. Moreover, as the patients got even closer to death, they would imagine spirits or angels or guides appearing to make things more helpful. Today’s post will endeavour to explain to you what those spirits are and where they come from.

I’ve previously written about how dreams are when you integrate with the rest of the universe and you loosen of your own personal interpretation of events as being events that happen to a singular you, and instead your reality warbles and you melt back into the universe where your experiences are merely experiences to be had in principle. The fact that you see them as having happened to a You is only because you weave that narrative with your own personal thinking. But that narrative is weaved from the energy of the universe and it plays out in the energy of the universe. So it’s like during the day you’re an icecube floating in water. You’re water, the water’s water, but you’re in different states. But during sleep—and near death—that hard sense of a separate reality starts to get narrow and it’s as though the icecube—recognizing that it truly is just water in another state—begins to melt back into its larger context: the universe.

542 Relax and Succeed - After your deathRather than truly individual brains, our personal human minds are more like a connect-the-dots that moves through the universe. All of the elements of life that we have been taught are then part of our quiver of metaphors that we can draw from. So in essence, when we die we are engaged with the act of melting back into a full realization that we always were made of the water that surrounds us. Our personal minds will naturally convert that experience into a metaphor relevant to our experience of the universe. So if that aspect is You then you will turn it into something that makes sense in your personal experience. So if you’re a physicist it’ll all be about energy, if you’re a neurologist it could be about your brain’s experiential wiring, and if you’re a lay-person it might be about ghosts, spirits or guides. Each group will literally experience the belief it holds. All are true and none are true.

So are ghosts, spirits and guides real? Are we really going somewhere when we die? These things are both real and not-real. It might make it clearer if I explain it this way: to me your daily waking life is just as real/unreal as dreaming or dying is. These performances all take place on the same stage. So to me whether you’re saying you’re alive or there are spirits and some place to go that could be anywhere other than here and now—that’s all irrelevant. It just feels like different terms for the same thing. So yes, there are spirits and ghosts. And you’re being one right now. When that statement doesn’t seem like a paradox, then you’ll fully understand what it is I’m trying to say here. I wish you every good-fortune on this meditation. It’s a good one and it’s really worth engaging in. Don’t forget to have fun. 😉

peace. s

The 500th Blog

When a friend of mine first moved to Canada from Germany, I often took him around to parties or events so that he could meet more locals. I remember one time I told him we were going to a friend’s 30th birthday party. He asked me, “Is it common for people to have birthday parties when they are grown up?” I told him some people might but most people would usually just go out to dinner and maybe for drinks with co-workers and friends, but that this was a 30th so it was an actual party. And then my friend tore a veil of thought wide open.

500 Relax and Succeed - Sometimes you need to look at lifeIt seems that the tens are very important in North America,” he said. It took me a second for it to compute.

Uh, yeah. It isn’t like that in Germany or the rest of Europe?”

No. Why is it?”

I’m not sure, but I suspect it’s just because we use tens based math.”

Strange.”

Strange indeed. If anything, I’ve observed lives to go in 7-8 year cycles and so have a lot of ancient cultures. And the drinking and (maybe not coincidentally) voting age in my province is 18, so it’s not like it lines up with being an adult. We just think if the year ends in zero that it’s a big deal and so it is a big deal. We’re kind of like monkeys.

Do you know the story about the monkeys? I’ve referred to it before. In an experiment, some bananas are placed at the top of a tall step ladder. But if a monkey climbs the ladder to get the bananas then all of the monkeys get blasted with freezing water. Before long if any monkey even tries to climb that ladder, the rest of the monkeys will attack it.

One by one they cycle out the monkeys, replacing them with monkeys that never get sprayed with cold water in their lives. And yet after 100% of the original monkeys are shifted out, the remaining monkeys—the ones who’ve never been sprayed with freezing water—are all still attacking any monkey that tries to climb the ladder. Likewise you learned to celebrate your uncle’s 50th, but not his 48th.

500 Relax and Succeed - Have a mind that is openThis is my 500th blog posting. What that means is absolutely nothing other than it acted as fodder for discussing the irrelevance of numbers. They’re cool at describing some aspects of some things, but numbers aren’t things unto themselves. You can’t go out and dig me up a number seven. Numbers are ideas. And they have as much power as we give them. (We currently give a lot of power to money and stock market quotes. )

So go ahead and celebrate all of the birthdays that end in zero, but do it remembering that those years don’t mean any more than any others and that it’s not the years in your life, it’s the moments in your years. Live those moments as awake as you can be. Witness your own being as an aspect of the unfolding of the universe. It’s a miraculous place filled with love and compassion and wonder and sensation. Don’t waste it worrying or wishing. Dive in and live. You don’t even have to count to ten before you start. 😉

peace s

The River of Life

Your ego is racing around trying to figure out how to fit in. It is striving and pleasing and explaining and convincing and arguing and otherwise struggling to be accepted. Meanwhile your spirit sits passively by, watching you chasing drama like you’re in a play. The real you is unperturbed by thoughts of non-belonging; it knows that a character in a dream fighting with another character in a dream is not something to be fixed, it is something to be understood.

115 Relax and Succeed - People may love youImagine a river filled with ice cubes. Differences between people are like the cubes jostling together as they make their way down that river. Yes they make a lot of noise and some might even fracture or break apart, but in the end does that really matter when the ice is made from the same thing as all the other ice? And that also means your cube is made of the same thing as the river itself.

Some cube-lives will melt much sooner than others because their path naturally takes them into the heat of the sun. Others will be kept cold and hard by their surroundings and they will not melt until the river meets the sea. But even then, all the cubes will always be made of water and they will always return to the sea. So why so much drama over the jostling on the way down?

Can you see that you are battling in a vain attempt to stop the flow of life? Saying I don’t want to be jostled by other ice cubes is to say I do not want to exist. Living is the act of being jostled by the flow of the river and the other cubes within it. You’re not supposed to escape it. You’re supposed to accept it. Because in the end, it’s all just water anyway. In the end, the river is is really the the motion of the cubes. People are other cubes, the slope is time and the length is life. When you relax into that it’s a fun ride. Even the scary parts.

115 Relax and Succeed - We are all onePeople criticizing you or teasing you or even hating you is nothing more than the click clack of cubes in the river. It shouldn’t surprise you that the currents and eddies of the larger river would naturally cause individual cubes to regularly meet each other sharply as they travel in opposing directions. But do we really think the river is doing something wrong when that happens? Should the river change its entire flow for the sake of one particular ice cube? Or are the cubes just doing what they would do given the forces acting upon them? And what’s it all really doesn’t matter because again: it’s all water in different states anyway.

Your consciousness will occasionally be low and you will feel the cold harshness of being an ice cube. The hard edges of your beliefs will clash with the hard edges of other people’s beliefs and life will feel cold and hard. Despite that sensation, the river is still the river and the flow is still moving steadily forward and you are always okay–none of these cubes are really any different than any of the others you’ve faced and all of the cubes will eventually melt back into the river to eventually evaporate and reincarnate as a rain or snow or fog and then do it all over again. So why worry or battle or fight or argue your way through it when it ends the same way regardless? It’s a smoother more rewarding ride if you simply go with the flow.

Other people’s views of you are created by the happen-stance angles of your interaction. They do not need to be fixed or repaired or cleared up or prevented or stopped. They are truly meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Accept that you will feel these impacts when they happen. They will cease to matter as long as you stay conscious of the fact that what you are experiencing is not actually your life. What you are experiencing is simply the flow of the river itself. Enjoy.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations around the world.

Go With The Flow

86 Relax and Succeed - Go with the flowGo with the flow. It’s catchy. You might have even said it to people when you saw them struggling. But what exactly did you mean when you said it? What is going with the flow? If you had to put that into other words what would you say? That’s where a lot of people get stuck. How does one go with a flow anyway?

Let us analogise your life into a river. Way up in the high peaks you melt into a little baby trickle. You burble along to the point of becoming a toddler/brook. You don’t impact the world around you much, but you are continually growing to the point where eventually you’re a creek and you have a real flow/personality of your own. Now you can start to have a hand in shaping your own shores.

Along the way you intersect with occasional tributaries. These are the people that help you become who you become. Through them, your creek will grow and grow to the point where you’re a full-on raging teenaged river.

As a river you will continue to grow you will move through a lot of different terrain (social situations, work situations, ages, eras in time etc.). You will pass through stunningly beautiful terrain, and hostile difficult terrain. Sometimes you’ll be at your kid’s weddings. Other times you’ll be taking your spouse to cancer treatments.

You will sometimes move wide and slow, like when you’re either lazily relaxing, or other times when the bottom’s so shallow you’re not sure which way to flow. Sometimes you will crash through canyons so narrow that your sheer force of being will carve solid rock, just as you may have left a very serious scar on the person you once hurt. Sometimes you’ll move so slowly you’re silent. Other times you’ll thunder with the crush of a waterfall. All of these ways of Being are very different and yet all of this is you.

But none of that really matters because eventually you spill back out into the ocean where you are reunited with All—you become indistinguishable from your surroundings as you diffuse and ultimately evaporate—the infinite parts of you rising into the sky like some ephemeral angel to be reincarnated into new snowfall that will melt into new trickles that will form new brooks, creeks and rivers. This is the cycle of life. But what’s that got to do with defining the phrase go with the flow?

86a Relax and Succeed - Here's how it works100% of that river’s journey is your life. From trickle to ocean, that’s all you. Sometimes you’re lazy and slow. Other times you’re falling so fast you can’t hold on. Sometimes the world tells you where to go and other times you make your mark on it. But whether it’s rapids or flats, the river is the river. Going with the flow just means that you’re okay with whatever part of the river you’re on/being. The point is: don’t stand on the flat parts wishing for more excitement and danger, and don’t stand in the rapids worrying because things are so exciting or dangerous.

Every river has its own flow—and yes, some are more dramatic than others. But they all have to get from the mountain to the ocean, and they’re all going to see a variety of terrain, so don’t get caught up in using your thoughts to want different terrain. Just acknowledge where you are on your river and then go with the proverbial flow. Don’t add to your challenges by talking to yourself about how you wish this part of the river was like another part of another river. Because that’s a nonsense conversation and your attention would be better placed in the Now.

All lives have rapids and slow spots. All move through beautiful backdrops and ugly wastelands. But since there is no getting around those facts why not just stop the internal discussion about what should, could or would be better? Why not just stay quiet?

86-relax-and-succeed-dont-try-to-understandThis is what the Buddhists mean when they talk about acceptance. You stop arguing with what is. It’s not that you become enlightened and you have no more challenges and everything goes your way. Becoming enlightened means to come to an acceptance that there will always be such challenges. The point isn’t to prevent them from happening. The point is to be able to comfortably have them happen.

If things are tough, let them be tough. If they’re going really well—enjoy it fully. But don’t fight gravity by arguing with yourself about which way the river should have gone. It will always go the way it goes, just as you will. The point is that you shouldn’t judge your flow. You should just follow your nature and go with whatever your life presents you.

If your life is currently quiet, then you should be good with quiet. But if it’s rapids, then you should be just as good with the rapids as you are with the quiet parts. Or in other words, you should be just as good with vexation as you are with peace. That’s what it is to live the good life. That’s what people should mean when they say, just go with the flow.

Have an awesome day, regardless of where your water is flowing. 😉

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.