Truth & Triggers

No matter how “Zen” you may feel when you are in that flow, we all find ourselves thrown out of balance when the wrong person makes the wrong comment at just the wrong time. It almost seems as if they know just what to say at just the right to set you off.

Don’t worry, that is how they deal with the world. They live their life setting everyone around them spinning so they can remain the calm at the center of the storm. It is how they deal with the world around them. It is almost a narcissistic personality disorder, except for the fact that is has less to do with narcissism as it has to do with the only way they can feel secure is if everyone around them is spinning.

I wrote about it in my book The Simple Truth. I call it a loophole in the societal courtesies the rest of us live by. Their comment usually lies just below the response level where you feel justified in making a retort. It is not something so large that you can respond without looking like an egotistical ass. It flies just below the social radar of most people, but still it stings.

It is not like they out and out called you a name, but it was a dig. It is a trigger that they know they flicked, you know they flicked, and you have a pretty good idea everyone around you knows he or she flicked, but it was not so bad that you feel it demands a response without sinking down to their level.

It is okay, we have all been in that position. Just a few thoughts on how to handle these kinds of situations. First, let it go. Remind yourself to never allow yourself to be so caught up in the physical world that you get hurt by the actions of another or feel as if you must respond to them. A simple smirk and a rise of the eyebrow is usually enough of a response to dismiss them. You may even shake your head at the assininity of the situation, and if that is not a real word, it is about as close as I can get to calling it a passive/aggressive disorder without actually doing so [Spell check tells me it is not, but I say it should be].

You should also go one step further. Make a note of the trigger they flicked and store it for later. Once you cool down, take a moment to recognize that trigger. Admit to it and own it. Adopt it as a sensitive part of who you are. Smile at it, because it is a part of you. It is not a weakness, but a strength.

Sit down with yourself, meditate without allowing your mind to settle on the trigger that upset you like it did. Once your temperature has returned to normal, take a moment to contemplate what just happened. Replay the situation and turn it in your hands. Look at it from different angles and different perspectives. Then assess that trigger of yours. Ask yourself these three Socratic questions:

  • The first question is, has anyone said this before? If so, then this may lead to some self introspection. Is there some hint of truth to what they said, or is this the first time anyone has ever said something like this about you? If it has been said or hinted at before, then perhaps the reason it chafed so deeply is because there was a touch of truth to what they said. Do not question yourself or spend too much time pondering, but it may be worth some introspection, without getting too lost in their comments.
  • The second question is, why did they say that? Ask yourself why they said what they said. IF they did it out of anger, jealousy, or an attempt to raise themselves above you, then there is a good chance you can dismiss it. If however there was a twinge of truth to what they said, perhaps there is a lesson you can learn hidden beneath their acerbic attitude. If that is the case then perhaps you have a hint toward an attitude you yourself may take at times. Real or not, you may have been given an opportunity to change it. I call this a chance to learn from even the worst of situations.
  • The final question is, what is the nature behind what they said? Did they say whatever it was because they wanted to impress their friends or make your colleagues question your authority or confidence? Or did they say whatever it was because they saw a weakness in your personality? Either way, it again may hint at an area for improvement. If not, then it may be okay to dismiss their comment without further contemplation or thought.

Allow yourself, without allowing their comment to overwhelm you, to use their comment to explore your trigger. Ask yourself “why did that touch a nerve so deeply that I felt I had to respond?”

Try not to look at this event as an event to be angry about. Use it as an opportunity for self-growth. Look at this as an opportunity that should be met with gratitude. Each is a door to explore areas within you that may make you feel uncomfortable exploring. That is the quickest way to uncover your Simple Truth so that you may move on to living your life, on your terms, free from pain and free from delusions.

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Be well and I hope this helps.

 

 

 

Live Life Richly, Deeply, 100%

Deep meditation is a wonderful way to remove the stress, anger, negative thoughts, and distractions that can so easily undermine our lives. We all know by now that meditation is a way to calm ourselves so that we, you, can turn dreams into ideas and ideas into actions, free from the delusions that all too often undermine the higher purpose to which we are trying to arrive.

But who ever said that is what the human experience is really all about? Having an issue to resolve is rewarding at times. It can give us meaning and a sense of fulfillment. We have all followed the fast rising celebrity who, at the height of having it “all”, suddenly lost track of what makes life worth living and tumbled a long, slow path back to humanity.

Perhaps that was their lesson to learn in the human experience we are all here to live through.

I recently told a student of mine, do not create issues that do not exist just so that you can solve them. There are more than enough issues out there for you. Just open your eyes and look ahead. They are out there, in all their miserable glory. Take the time to contemplate those issues as you develop a resolution based on your observations.

If you jump to a solution too quickly, you may end up resolving the delusions you created, not the underlying issue at the root of the problem. In time the core issue will resurface and you will be left to once again scratch your head, wondering how similar your current issue is to the one you had a week, a month, or a year ago as you once again jump to resolve the problem that seems to surface again and again and again. Each time failing to look any deeper than is needed.

When a thought interrupts your meditation, do not simply ignore it or let it go. Take a breath, take a moment to examine it. Hold it in your hands and contemplate it as you turn, to see it from a different perspective. Ask yourself if it is a thought that is worth further examination, or one you should simply release back into the ether.

Use this same approach for all the issues you stumble upon in the “real world”. Do not jump to a solution too quickly. Take the time to examine the issue. Take time to explore whatever obstacle lies in front of you. Take a breath to look at it from a new perspective. Some obstacles you think are there may not even be relevant, they are things you can avoid by simply side stepping, adjusting your direction, until you have passed it.

Do you really have to bump into that person walking toward you on the sidewalk, or can you simply drop your shoulder to avoid them altogether? Do you really have to wait for that car to drift into your lane? Or can you be fully present when you slow down to avoid them with little or no interruption in your journey. In some instances you may need to stop or step off your path, but is that really all that bad? Considering all the regret in your life from blundering forward, will that really make a difference to your future?

There are many ways to avoid an issue or an obstacle without confronting it. Simply give yourself enough time to plan an appropriate response and you will be surprised by how many seemingly insurmountable issues fade away before you even arrive at them. Take a meditative approach to your life, so that you can live your life without changing your life. Simply bend with the winds and currents of life, rather than obstinately standing up to them. Trust me, no matter how tough or strong you are, no matter how cunning you think you are, life will eventually throw a wave or a wind in your path that will knock you down, as long as you look ahead to see it coming.

I know many meditation “masters” say to be present, to remain in the here and now if you want to be happy. But who said happiness is all that life is about? There is something far better in looking ahead to make sure your path is a safe one. You do not have to live an either/or existence. Perhaps you can spend 80% of your time in the here and now while spending the other 20% looking just far enough ahead so to see the obstacles that may block your path in the future. Perhaps you need to take a break and be 100% present, know that tomorrow or next week you can look up to make sure your path is clear, or if there is even a path at all to continue on.

This is the difference between living a meditative life in the here and now, in the 21st Century world we all live in rather than the world of 2,500 years ago when meditation as we know it came to be. If happiness was the goal of life, rather than learning the lessons you were meant to live, then the Buddha would have never ventured outside the walls of his father’s compound.

Being aware is more important than being happy, if you want your life to unfold as it was meant to be.

I know it is not always easy, but for better or worse, that is not what this life is about. It is about awakening, enlightenment, and learning the lesson you are here to learn.

I hope this helps.

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Activate Your Meditation

Deep meditation is a wonderful way to remove the stress, anger, negative thoughts, and the distractions that generally undermine our lives. It is a way to calm ourselves so that we, you,  can turn dreams into ideas and ideas into actions, free from the delusions that all too often undermine the higher purpose to which we are trying to arrive.

I recently told a student of mine, do not create issues that do not exist in your life just so that you can be the one to solve them. There are more than enough issues out there for you to focus on. Just open your eyes and ears. Contemplate those issues and develop a resolution based on your observations.

If you jump too quickly into solutions, you will resolve the delusions that you have created, but not the underlying problem. In time the core problem will resurface. You will once again scratch your head, state how similar your current issue is to the one you had a week, a month, or a year ago as you once again try to resolve the problem that has surfaced without looking any deeper.

When a thought interrupts your meditation, do not simply ignore it. Take a breath, examine it. Hold it in your hands and contemplate it as you turn it so that you can see it from a different perspective. Ask yourself if it is a thought that is worth further examination, or one you should simply release back into the ether.

Use this same approach for all issues you come upon in the “real world”. Do not jump to the solution too quickly before you have spent time examining the issue. Take time to explore whatever obstacle lies in front of you.

Take a breath to look at it from a new perspective. Some obstacles you see may not even be relevant, they are things you can avoid by simply adjusting your direction until you have passed it. Do you really have to bump into that person walking toward you on the sidewalk, or can you simply drop your shoulder to miss them altogether? Do you really have to wait for that car to drift into your lane? Or can you be fully present when you drive and slow down, to avoid them with little or no interruption in your journey. In some instances you may need to stop or step off your path, but is that really all that bad? Considering all the regret in your life, will that really make a difference in the future?

There are many ways to avoid an obstacle without confronting it. Simply give yourself enough time to plan an appropriate response and you will be surprised by how many seemingly insurmountable issues fade away before you even arrive at them. This is how to take a meditative approach to your life, without changing your life.

I know many meditation “masters” say to remain in the here and now if you want your life to be a happy one. But there is something far better in looking ahead, perhaps spending 80% of your time in the here and now while spending the other 20% looking just far enough ahead so to see the obstacles that may block your path, or if there is even a path to continue on.

This is the difference between living a meditative life in the here and now, in the 21st Century world we live in rather than meditation as it was created for the world as it was 2,500 years ago.

Be aware, and your life will unfold before you as it is supposed to.

I hope this helps.

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Parallel Paths of Dharma

When you find yourself at an impossible fork in the road where every option seems to be less than ideal, take a break and let the Dharma decide.

You can exchange that word for fate, the winds of time, or destiny, but sometimes the best decision in life is to do nothing and let the decision take care of itself. Yes, you lose what little control you think you have in the process, but you will find that making no decision is often the best way out. It takes your ego out of the process and opens up new opportunities you may have overlooked. What you may even find is that the world moves no matter how hard you fight it. That no matter how badly you want to swim upstream at some point fighting the current will just leave you exhausted and unable to make a clear decision when the critical time to do so arrives.

If the world is falling into a recession, now may not be the time to start a business. If the love of your life has their eyes elsewhere, then pursuing that person may not be the smartest use of your time and energy no matter how badly you want to do so right now. There is often little you can do about the way the world works. But there is a lot you can do about where and when you spend your energy.

Instead of forcing a decision, and then having to work twice as hard to reverse it, sometimes it is better to wait. If a storm is coming, save your energies for when it hits. Do not be afraid to push whatever venture you want to work on to the back burner until the world is ready for you. Now may be the time to narrow your choices down to a few options, and to follow both of those options until they diverge. In time they will. In the meantime be mindful of each. When they move far enough apart go with the option that clearly stands out. Do not worry, one will.

There is an inevitability in this approach that is as old as time itself. One reason you may be having a problem making a decision is that in the end both paths lead to the same outcome. It may be that your intuition is telling you now is not the time to move forward. It may even be telling you that you do not have enough information or skill to proceed.

Listen to it. In time you will learn more about whatever it is you are doing. The winds of the world may shift. New opportunities may open up. The subtle patterns may not be apparent to you, only becoming clearer as you grow more comfortable with your surroundings and yourself. Often the reason you are having such a tough time making a decision is that you are trying to draw a decision out of a non-existent issue, and that is always a mistake. Forcing a decision will inevitably lead you down the wrong path, or cause you to waste so much time and energy that you will be depleted by the time your decision matures.

Instead, let go of your ego and your need to “control” your destiny. Narrow your choices down to two or three that will keep you heading in the right general direction, then follow both paths until they diverge. Be mindful of how alike and unalike they are. Gather your facts along the way. Experience the differences.

In time you will find yourself at a point when the right path becomes so apparent you will wonder why you never saw it in the first place. You will understand. You will also realize that either path will have led you to that point, only now you will be prepared to make the right decision no matter which way you go. Having walked both paths you will gain wisdom and a clearer vision of what you are really walking into.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but by giving yourself up to the Dharma and by taking your time you will be surprised at how well it will guide you toward the right choice. Slow down and breathe. Let go of your ego. Let the Dharma drive for a bit as you take a meditative approach to the big decisions in your life and enjoy the view along the way.

Oh, and if you feel pushed by someone who says “we need a decision right now,” let them make the decision as you let the Dharma make the one that cleans up their mess. Never feel as if you must rush. In today’s world there is always time to make the right decision and less need to listen to let that fight or flight voice ring in your ears.

Following parallel paths as the Dharma works itself out may mean working double-time for a bit, but for the important decisions in your life, that may not be a bad thing. Especially if your fear of making the wrong decision is an issue.

Be well and I hope this helps.

Jeff

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Where Are You – Modern Meditation

Where are you right now? Not just the physical location, but emotionally, in your own head? There is more to feeling peace than your location. There is more to your location than the address where you are, what you can see, hear or smell, because there is more to your world than just the space you fill.

Take a moment to look around. Take a moment to look within. Ask yourself what you are feeling right now, right where you are. Are you feeling anger, anxiety, comfort, ease? Are you relaxed or tense? Those are just as much an indicator of where you are than the longitude and latitude of your location – even more so in many cases.

Every sight, every smell, every breath of wind you feel is processed by your brain in micro-seconds. Your brain takes 13 milliseconds to attach memories to the scents and sounds you experience. Those are what tell you to beware or to relax. It even goes deeper than that. It dictates how to respond.

We have all walked into a room or a party and gotten a sense that it will either be a dud or a great time. We have all walked into a meeting and instantly knew we were either going to kill it or it was just going to be 60 minutes of living hell. Those sensations quickly begin to shape your world, creating a better or worse situation for yourself to live in.

I bring this up for a very simple reason, all of those memories and expectations, as well as the memories yet to be experienced are attachments your brain layers onto a location. They are what shape your life. They are just as important to your well-being as the location you have traveled to. They are what make you comfortable or uncomfortable no matter where you are. They are what make you happy or sad, excited or bored, laying out the scene you will have to live through.

What does this look like in the real world? If you find yourself staring out the window while breathing in the sun and the sky outside, perhaps being cooped up in a floor of cubicles is not the job for you. I know you’re working hard for the windows of that corner office, but maybe the pleasure of having a corner office will wear off quickly as you once again start to feel trapped no matter how hard you worked for it, because it will never give you the escape you associate with living. Don’t worry. It’s not for everyone.

Some people are not comfortable in the great outdoors. They feel anxiety because to them, behind every tree and rock their your brain sees danger, creating stress with every step they take. Some people take to the ocean immediately. Others prefer the hardness of land beneath their feet.

There is a simple reason for this. Everyone is different. Everyone’s genetic makeup is unique, as is their upbringing. It is why it is so important to be aware of the places you are most at peace.

When you find yourself in a new location, take a step back and assess your feelings without judgment or comment. Breathe in slowly to bring yourself to a place of calm.

Begin to find the threads that connect those places to the happiness or the stress in your mind. Find out for yourself what makes you feel at ease or stressed, then use those threads as a way to weave your life into one you will love day in and day out.

That is how to use modern meditation as a tool to create a life of well being for yourself, no matter where others may find it.

Be well, and I hope this helps.

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Pick Yourself Up

There will always be days, weeks, even months when you feel as if the delusions of your life are overrunning your life. It’s okay, we all get them. It’s just a signal that it is time to wake up to the real world, not the one you think you are living in, but to the real world that is all around you. It may feel like you need a shot of caffeine or a cocktail, but it’s not. You just need a bit of sleep, some healthy food, to slow down and to reach out to your community of friends and family. More than likely you are simply feeling tired of living your life in delusion. Stop thinking in terms of success and failure, winning or losing, think in terms of delusions.

I know it is not easy, but these tips will help get you back on your path to stop tripping over your own nature, to truly Awaken to your own Simple Truth.

Here are a few ways to get you back on your path and keep you moving in the right direction. After all, it is your life and now is the time to live it your way with a meditative twist:

  1. Ask yourself when was the last time you got 8 hours of sleep? When was the last time you sat down to a healthy meal? When was the last time you sat down with a friend and listened, really listened to them? What you hear may surprise you. If you do not take care of yourself nobody else will. Remember what the airline steward , and you need to take care of yourself or you will fall apart. So get some sleep, eat a healthy meal, talk to a friend and then see how you feel.
  2. Take a deep breath, roll your shoulders back, and smile. Every time you inhale feel the relaxing strength of each breath flow from the top of your head to the tips of your fingers and toes. Begin with your scalp, feel each breath flow down from your scalp to your eyebrows, your eyes, your cheeks, your lips and your jaw. Feel your tongue drop from the roof of your mouth, relaxing you as it passes down your neck, your shoulders, your arms and your fingers. Feel each breath flow down to your hips, your legs and your toes. Relax and feel the ebb and flow of that energy as it flows through you, lifting you, giving you the Focused Calm to move forward.
  3. Reach out and help someone. It does not have to be earth shattering. It can just be a smile, holding the door for someone, being fully present as you listen to them without judgment. Make someone else feel good about themselves without seeking anything in return. Then smile to yourself for doing so.
  4. Touch the earth. Even if that is the side of a building or the pavement, a sidewalk or an office floor. Remind yourself that you are connected to the earth in some way. Tune yourself in to that connection and smile as you follow that connection no matter how thin it may be. Remember electricity travels though the thinnest wire to illuminate a lamp from the tiniest of batteries. Do the same as you touch the earth to re-energize.
  5. Write down five things that you are proud of. Put that list in your pocket or handbag. Remind yourself that you have done great things in your life and will do many more in the future.
  6. Acknowledge what is happening in your life. Label the moments where you think things went wrong and acknowledge them. Let your brain know that those are just moment in your life and that everything will be okay.
  7. Stop picking up your mobile phone, stay off of social media [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram]. Pick up a book, sit back, and read instead.
  8. Stop comparing yourself to others. You are not someone else, they are not you. Just know that they are just as insecure as you are. Now, laugh at yourself for being foolish and only seeing the curated life they want you to see.
  9. Stop watching the news. Today’s news is pretty much a rehash of yesterday’s events. It does not change from day-to-day. So take a break and enjoy life instead. CNN will not mind, it will not even know, but you will.
  10. Train yourself to quit the negative and focus on the positive. Start today. Know that we are programmed to see the rain more than the sun. It is human nature from the time when we were hunter-gatherers, but it does not have to be your nature today.

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Be well,

 

 

Jeff

 

Awaken from Delusions

There will always be days, weeks, even months when you feel as if the delusions of your life are over-running your life. It’s okay, we all get them. This is when it is time to wake up to the real world, not the one you think you are living in, but to the real world that is all around you. It may feel like you need a boost or a shot of caffeine.  More than likely you are simply feeling tired of living your life in delusion. Stop thinking in terms of success and failure, winning or losing, think in terms of delusions.

I know it is not easy, but these tips may help get you back on your path and overcome you own nature – to truly Awaken to your own Simple Truth.
Here are a few ways to jumpstart your engine to keep you moving in the right direction. After all, it is your life and now is the time to start living it your way, only this time with a meditative twist:

  1. Ask yourself when was the last time you got 8 hours of sleep? When was the last time you sat down to a healthy meal? When was the last time you sat down with a friend and listened, really listened? What you hear may surprise you.
  2. Take a deep breath, roll your shoulders back, and smile. With every inhalation feel the relaxing strength of each breath flow from the top of your head to the tips of your fingers and toes. Begin with your scalp, feel each relaxing breath flow up to your scalp, then down to your eyebrows, your eyes, your cheeks, your lips and your jaw line. Feel that relaxing strength pass down your neck, your shoulders, your arms and your fingers. Feel each breath flow down to your hips, your legs and your toes. Relax and feel the ebb and flow of that energy as it flows through you, lifting you, giving you the Focused Calm to move forward.
  3. Reach out and help someone. It does not have to be earth shattering. It can start with a smile, holding the door for someone, being fully present as you listen to them without judgment. Make someone else feel good about themselves without seeking anything in return. Then smile to yourself for doing so.
  4. Touch the earth. Even if that is the side of a building or the pavement, a sidewalk or an office floor. Remind yourself that they are connected to the earth in some way. Tune yourself into that connection and smile as you follow that connection no matter how thin it may be. Remember energy travels though the thinnest wire to illuminate a lamp from the tiniest of batteries. Do the same as you re-energize.
  5. Write down five things that you are proud of. Put that list in your pocket or handbag. Remind yourself that you have done great things in your life and will do many more in the future.
  6. Stand in front of a mirror, raise your hands above your head in a power pose and stare at your smile in your reflection. Think of the great things you have achieved in your life. When your mind turns to dark thoughts return your gaze to your smile and say to yourself, “I am smiling through my delusions.”
  7. Acknowledge what is happening in your life. Label the instances where you think things went wrong. Then acknowledge that you still have fingers and toes to feel the world with, you have eyes to see the world with, you have ears to hear with, you have a mouth to taste with, and if all those senses are gone, you still have a heart and your spirit to steer your moral compass by.
  8. Stop picking up your mobile phone, stay off of social media [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram]. Pick up a book, sit back, and read instead.
  9. Stop comparing yourself to others. You are not someone else, they are not you. Just know that they are just as insecure as you are. Now, laugh at yourself for being foolish and only seeing the curated life they want you to see.
  10. Do not allow negative thoughts in. Every time you feel one bubbling up, call it out, label it, and return to the very real world that you are in. Scroll through your five senses as you look around, listen, touch and smile until you find one teeny, tiny bit of beauty in your world. Trust me, it is there. Feel that bit of beauty expand until it fills your world, the real world you are in, free from delusions.

[BONUS] Train yourself to quit the negative and focus on the positive.  Start today. Know that we are trained at birth to see the rain more than the sun. It is human nature, but it does not have to be your nature.

 

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Stop Shopping Delusions

Consumer Psychologists spend a lot of time following people around stores, both online and off. It is not what they buy that interests them. It is the why behind the what people buy that they are interested in.

Not only do consumer psychologists find an incredible assortment of products in people’s closets, they find products that have never been worn before, and never will be worn. It is an amazing phenomenon that is shared by people from all walks of life who purchase things they never wear and, most surprisingly, never return.

The old explanation for this is that it was a well intentioned mistake the consumer made. However, after probing a little deeper consumer psychologists have uncovered a consistent pattern going on. At first consumers make excuses for themselves like, “I saw a really amazing item and I just couldn’t let it go.” Or, “after I purchased it, I found a little flaw, but I got it at such a great sale that it not worth returning.” They tell themselves this until it is no longer possible to return the item and have to keep it – thus being out of their control.

It is such a common phenomena that psychologists have put a name to it. They call it cognitive bias. It is the way in which we ignore information that doesn’t support our perceived needs, enabling us to remain in a world of delusion, that is simply not real.

It is now a completely unfit person can win an election by delivering unreal promises with absolutely no intention of keeping them, but knows that is not what the voter, or consumer, wants to hear.

 

Buy Reality, Not Delusions

Everyone lives in a world of delusion to some degree. Perhaps you see clothing and rather than step back to consider if they will work with what is already in your closet, you begin to dream of all the places you could see yourself wearing whatever it is that you want to buy. Perhaps it’s a car that you picture yourself in, driving up to the valet at some chic restaurant or through the rough terrain of the desert or jungle. If it’s an apartment you think of the fascinating people you might entertain at all the fabulous dinners you never have. If it’s a gift for someone it may be to see the smile on their face once they open it.

At some point you forget that these scenarios are just fantasies you created for yourself. This is the moment sales people wait for. That point when they swoop in to confirm your dreams and help you complete your purchase. The problem is, these scenarios are delusions. They are not real, and when they don’t happen, you see that you have left the door to depression and suffering wide open. That is the moment when you leave the world of delusion and see reality in all its cold truth before you. Rarely is this a pleasant sight to see, so off you go again, daydreaming about your next purchase.

No, this does not mean you should not dream, or that you should not “fake it till you make it.” Just the opposite. It means you should dream. That your dreams are a wonderful and very real part of your necessary psyche. You can wish for more or better. You can and should push yourself to grow. Just do not lose yourself to the dream world you want so badly to be a part of your very real life. Fake it till you make it? Yes, just keep one foot firmly planted in reality so that you never lose sight of where you are.

 

Shopping is Not An Escape

One of the top reasons so many people love to shop is that they can escape their lives for a while. You can allow your imagination to run wild as you wander through a store or sales room. Just do not forget that at the end of the day, you will have to return to the world you are in, with or without the credit card bill you have acquired, and is that bill worth the dreaming you just enjoyed?

If only you stop for a moment before you put your credit card down. Or voted, or did anything. You could have enjoyed your dream without having to wake up to the real world that is all around you.

Allow yourself your fantasies and your dreams, they are a very healthy escape in the world we all live in. Just never lose sight of the real world that is all around you. Your landing will be so much easier when you do – free from the delusions that are so easy to get lost in.

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Much Love

 

 

j.

 

Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love, as versus conditional love, is so rare. Conditional Love is easy. I give you Love when you do something for me that I want you to do. You do the dishes, I kiss your cheek. I hold the door for you and you smile at me. You do something in the bedroom I enjoy. I return the favor. It is a give and take. At times I give more than I take. At others I receive more than I give.

But it is not give freely. There is a cost, a condition, to this kind of Love. Compliance. You will do what is expected of you if you are to receive the Love and attention you desire.

With unconditional Love there is no compliance. It is the act of simply giving. It is so rare, simply giving again and again and again. Not expecting anything in return, not asking for anything with one’s eyes or hands or heart – simply giving.

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Can you imagine what this world would be like if everyone simply gave without expecting anything in return? It would be a world filled with Jesus’, Buddhas, Mohammads and Abrahams.

I have experienced unconditional Love on occasion. At my bedside, when my mother fed me ice chips when I could not sip from a cup. When my wife lifted me up when I toppled over in rehab, neither asking if I wanted it, each simply offering, helping and assisting without expecting anything in return. On the rare occasion that I turned it down, they simply accepted that without a word, and smiled with more Love for me.

It is the Love a mother gives to her child when going through labor or when nursing. It is Loving through the pain. It is the Love a father gives to his child when explaining why the world is the way it is, free from feeling his own pain or regret, or acknowledging if his own needs are being met. Simply being present to the needs of the growing consciousness that is before them.

Unconditional Love is about caring for someone else’s happiness without a thought to the needs of the self. It is about being fully awake and aware, being fully present to the world around you, the person in front of you, to yourself.

It is not an excuse to stay in a bad marriage or relationship. It is saying I love you no matter what happens to us, not I love you no matter what you do to me.

I will love you when the sun is shining or the skies are grey.

I will love you even when I have a horrible day.

I will love you even if you do not return my love.

I will not look for love elsewhere even if you do.

For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health.

No matter what happens to us, I will Love you.

Because when I love you, I also love me.

I Love you no matter what conditions occur around us is unconditional Love.

Do not bother looking for it.

It will find you when you are ready to accept it.

If you want to feel unconditional Love simply open yourself up to it. It is all around you. It is within you.

Give it to yourself first. Hold yourself in your own heart unconditionally. Respect yourself, Love yourself, free yourself from those undermining comments you allow to fester within you. Free yourself from the self-loathing, the self-bashing you waste so much time on. All of that does nothing but distract you from the Love that is within you.

Once you see the Love within, you will begin to see the same unconditional Love within those around you. When you can feel the Love pass through you as you send it out unconditionally.

Try it.

You will be amazed at what will transpire.

Not just with others, but within yourself.

Unconditionally.

Observe, Assess, Appropriate Action

It’s not just about the election, it is a lesson to carry with you for the rest of your life.

I have been inundated by calls and emails from people on both sides of the aisle. Each had some very strong emotions about the recent election. Those emotions run the gamut of anxiety and anger to fear and helplessness. Each is also very complicated.

On one hand, your emotions are a very real chemical response to the perceived threats of your world. On the other, each is also layered with your past experiences and future expectations. Your brain layers these on as it tries to assess how large a threat the events of your life actually are. While they should never be dismissed, they should also never be taken at face value.

Emotions like fear, anger and anxiety are sparked by very real events. However, the memories your brain accesses are rarely as accurate as your brain would like to think. In fact, some of them may have never actually occurred at all.

In many ways the fear and anger you feel are disproportionate to the reality going on around you. When this happens they quickly become a distraction that will prevent you from being a better person or from living your life, your way.

In one sense fear and anxiety is your brain telling you to watch out, that you are walking into danger. It is no different than when your prehistoric ancestors stood at the edge of a forest and stared into the darkness. Their fear made them hesitate, which is why you should do what they did so many millennia ago. They stopped. They Observed. And they Assessed before taking the Appropriate Action.

Whether you love the election results or hate them, I encourage you to slow down, to observe and to assess what others are doing before you take any action. We are all at a crossroads. One path leads to a more enlightened world where we all get along. The other leads back to the swamp of hate and fear that we have spent hundreds of thousands of years climbing out of.

It is more important now than ever to be sure your responses are appropriate to the situation at hand, not only for your self-interests, but for the interests of everyone around you.

Now, more than ever, you need to stop and listen, truly listen, to those around you. You need to hear what they have to say and understand their hopes and dreams and concerns. I think what you will find that We The People are more alike than the media would like to admit.

After all, Love and Kindness rarely plays as well as Hate and Anger in the ratings game. That is a shame. It also prevents us from putting our energy where we should be. If we are ever to change the way we behave, we need to change the way we think. We also need to change the way we treat our neighbors.

After all, it is not our neighbors that are the problem, it is the political process and the way the media covers it that is. Just remember there is far more at stake than your ego and pride. Now is the time to dial down your auto-responses and clear your mind so you can respond in a way that is appropriate to the situation at hand.