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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Planting Seeds

I’m all about planting Seeds!

With my index finger halfway into some soil of my garden, I realized
the sheer joy of putting a small seed into the ground. It’s an
investment and a discovery of unpredictability and of course, growth!
With some care, awareness and discipline, planting a seed can teach
you a lot of things that branch out into other aspects of your life. A
real integration of action starting from the earth itself.

Of course you can plant actual seeds, but the metaphorical and
metaphysical aspects of planting seeds seems to have a reverberant and
transcendent quality that echoes into the very richness of life
itself. You plant seeds with the intention of growing some type of
plant. From that plant, one can harvest food, medicine or merely groom
it to be a beautiful and resilient flower that takes your attention
and pleases the eye. So we can look at the process of the seed and see
how it could translate to the way we interact with the world around
us. Hence, you can plant actual seeds and metaphorical seeds in your
daily life.

How do you tend your garden? Both inside, outside and the one you
might refer to as your mind.

The planting of seeds doesn’t take a monster amount of effort to plant
and maintain. When you engage in the act of planting seeds, you are
allowing for some unknown potential to manifest in the future.
Sometimes the outcomes of planting seeds will provide more or less of
what you thought would happen. It’s that tricky thorny bush of
expectation. So focused on means to ends and concrete results that we
forget to truly appreciate the process and spontaneity of action!

Wrestling with Uncertainty, but Dancing with Potential.
Planting seeds is much akin to trusting the journey and process and
less about the overall destination. For a tree will die and return
back to the earth and allow for the way of more seeds of potential.

Think of planting seeds and planting ideas as one of the same thing.
We have some much potential to plant vibrant seeds of potentiality
within the blossoming minds of others. Think about it. When a thought
pops in brain from some type of external stimuli or a randomly
accessed memory, what happens? Does it spiral into a new a whole new
set of thoughts and images? Rarely do we ever just let a singular
thought go into the wind and away from our consciousness so quickly.
It’s the cyclical and very compulsory nature of thought. Thought
begets thought and so on. So think of these chains of thoughts as a
type of vine that was once a small, shiny and compact seed. It was
planted by something. Something from the past or something that
triggered a memory. Most of the time, involuntary. Unconscious. Most
of the times unaware from the crevices it has been called from.

You could almost think of some of these intrusive and “bad” thoughts
as weed that can be carefully pulled to make room for the growth of
new ideas, spaces and realizations.

Now that we can see the inner workings of thoughts and thought based
systems, we can see how they can grow into different forms. Sometimes
creating a rather peculiarly beautiful thought tree or a Thought
Forest wrought with many emotions and possibilities! So consciousness
and us being conscious of how our thoughts work and how they influence
our ACTIONS and BEHAVIORS is a big thing in discovering how we can
plant seeds that could potentially create how we see the world, others
and ourselves.

So these thoughts can sometimes transform into new budding flowers
that we call IDEAS! The lightbulb moment of efficacious whim or
withering. So these ideas can become very USEFUL seeds, but a lot of
it depends how we plant and care for these idea seeds. Do we want to
plant these seeds and see how they grow or do we want to discard these
seeds and put them in a dark place for them to “possibly” be planted
later? This is where the potential factor can play a key role. The
potential to plant and then nurture the growth of our own ideas.

T O   N U R T U R E

Of course there are many variant factors associated with the planting
of seeds. Both literally and figuratively. The environment is a big
factor. The inherent quality and potentiality of the seed is also
another BIG factor. The quality of the dirt and/or the mind must be
taken into consideration. If we plant seeds in a very dry and
infertile type of landscape whether it be talking to a group of people
or getting our hands first in the garden, we are not opening ourselves
up to very affirming and proliferating results. The How you plant the
seed(s) and the Why are both important factors in determining how the
seed(s) will grow.

Now that you have planted seeds, you allow yourself to see new
opportunities in front of you that would probably not see before. A
synchronous manifestation of conscious spontaneous delight! Think
about it for a second. Let’s say you plant the seed of wanting to look
for a new place to live. Beforehand, you may have skipped over the
many For Rent signs on your way to your job or household. When you
planted the seed or seeds of the intention of trying to look for a new
humble abode, you have allowed your consciousness to orient itself
towards that intention. Like a magnetic attraction. Soon your eyes
will delight in the garden of potential that you have brought into

Seeds of Manifestation. Seeds of Intention. Leads to a bush of New Invention.

It reminds of that classic saying, “You reap what you sow”. You get
what you plant. You get back what you put in. You give for the sake of
giving and intention of sustaining, maintaining and fostering
wonderful growth!

When a plant or an idea starts to take momentous growth, it takes a
keen eye and a little bit of tender loving care to keep it growing and
flourishing in the right direction. It is so interesting to me when I
hear people tout the expression of the “ Fruit of our Labor”. I think
the metaphorical makeup of that statement rings true with what I am
trying to get at with this whole planting seeds concept. If a tree is
planted in a fertile and conducive environment and is pruned and
groomed to produce juicy and sweet fruit, then it can lead to the
satisfaction of taste buds and the proliferation of more delicious
fruit bearing trees. The eternal relationship of cause and effect that
reverberates from a small point into an eternity of potential.

Seed to Tree to Fruit to Seed to Trees to Forest to a Perpetual Feed.

Just think of how it amazing it is to think that big forests have
started from small little seeds. With the fostering of the environment
around them, they became giants and provided life and shelter for many
other animals. An ecosystem of life, death and sustainability. The
marriage of fertility, balance and the melding with what is that
allows a seed to erupt into the light from darkness. Planting seeds
implies the act of awareness to watch them grow without trying too
hard to control the outcomes. To simply let it be. To let it reach
towards the sun in its own pace. It’s own rhythm. It’s own intention.
The attention to your intentions will surely leave a future forest of
garden brimming with new and unknown possibilities.

To Observe. To Maintain. To care for with a sense of grace. To sit
still and to grow. At a slow pace with bursts of momentous space.

The seeds that do not erupt from the dark nutrient mass, shall compost
back into the natural order of things. Or maybe it might not be the
seeds time to grow. It might not have the right conditions from which
it can spread its stalks and branches. One cannot force this delicate
process. What were the conditions when the seeds were planted? What
has the weather been like? Have you done all you could have done with
what you had at the time! Aha! Only so much in your control. Why try
to waste so much time worrying about the sprouting of seeds. In a good
time, there will be good time.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Are You Sure?

Are you sure?

So you want to buy that new car or house, but are you sure?
So you want to progress in a romantic relationship, but are you sure?
So you want to take a trip or change careers, but are you sure?

Are you sure?

It seems as if we deal with doubt and fleeting frustrations on a daily
basis. Moment to moment fluctuations of conflicting passions and
desires that have affects on our moods and general dispositions of
body chemistry. There is something very mysterious and alluring about
doubt and the simply complex act of second guessing ourselves in every
decision. Most of the time we make decisions based on how we feel and
how we think we think we are going to feel in the future. It may be
more of a myth to think that we are purely rational creatures when in
actuality we may be more “rationalizing” creatures attempting to
explain why we have made certain decisions simply after the fact.

It feels remarkably human to swim in the abyss of doubt and second
guess “our” decisions. We employ our pre-frontal cortices to stop and
smell the roses, while looking inward to see the possibilities around
us. We are limited and that is beautiful. We operate on what we know,
but also navigate our proverbial paddles towards what could be, both
subjectively “good” and “bad”. Sometimes when operating on what we
feel and what think is “right”, we make a leap of faith and truly
submerge ourselves into the unpredictability of the unknown right
underneath our noses.

We act in a realm of potential. Charting out into the unknown. Doubt
is a stepping stone in facing against what is and what could be. It
seems the more we resist such doubtful thoughts and self proclaimed
barriers, the more we cut ourselves off from growth and learning where
we are in the moment and where we are going.

It’s understandable. We act on what we value for the the most part.
Putting together a hierarchy of something that is better or more
useful than something else. It’s how we construct how we see things
and how we choose to act with or against things. This is good to
realize so one can truly see how and why they act out their values
within each conscious and (unconscious) moment. We can explore the
mechanisms of metacognition and really think about the way we think.
From this little observation, we can take a more informed looking
glass to how we think about thinking on the way we act and why we
doubt in the first place.

So what do we know and how do we know if we are sure?

It reminds of the brilliantly compassionate teachings and writings of
Pema Chodron.
She teaches how we simply think we know what we are doing, but in
actuality, we really don’t know and that is ok. There is an immense
and almost limitless sense of humbling power that comes from the
realization that we don’t truly know what we are doing. If we can
retreat inward and observe how we act and cherish our past actions, we
can open ourselves to a new world “as it is”, as Chodron constantly
touts and illustrates.

How does second guessing ourselves or even asking the “questions” come
to bring about awareness in our own lives? What a beautiful gift we
have that allows us to reconsider, to shine a light and to bring about
a new sense of awareness to how we make decisions and why we make them
in the first place.

Sometimes these questions are hard and we know that the answers might
burn us. We can feel it in our bodies, but we know that the
transformative properties are necessary for growth. There is reason
for that little doubt worm to pop it’s head out of the hole. It’s an
invitation to LISTEN.

Doubt also creates a sense of space. The gooey adhesion between
moments for us to catch ourselves in the act of self awareness. Maybe
it is good to be grateful for all these “Are you Sure?” questions we
ask ourselves on a daily basis. It ultimately boils down to how we
REACT to the questions. How does our body react? Do we feel a slight
tension in our stomachs or necks? How do we even react to our own
bodily reactions? What reactions are we still unconscious of?

The Are You Sure question is always followed by a rather daunting and
big question mark that seems to echo out into the space time.
Sometimes we may feel what we think is anxiety or confusion. A
question mark can lead us to paths we would have never thought of in
the first place. Unlocking new doors and carving new paths.The answer
you may be looking for could be built within the architecture of the
question itself. Instead of trying to hard to search for that answer,
take a few breaths and let that Are You Sure question sit on the shelf
of your general awareness. Simply observing it like a tree or passing
leaf blown by the wind. Let that question be, go have a snack and
revisit it to see if there are any new revelatory adornments adhered
to the surface that will allow for new observations of why you asked
the question in the first place. No need to force. Treat it like a

Doubt it?

Doubt seems to get a bad rap and carry somewhat of a negative juju
that permeates across most human cultures. It boils down to
challenging the narrative. Ultimately, there has to be a reason for
you to be feeling doubt? So often we want to escape it or drown it.
Maybe some of the problems arise from us being so quick to categorize
what we THINK doubt actually is. Doubt might be more expansive and
malleable than we may think. ( Keep the “More than we may think”, in
the back of your mind for the moment.) Some people may see doubt as
being more concrete and limited, but others may place it more on a
spectrum. One day you may feel a little doubt in a cocktail mixed with
anxiety and the occasional momentary depression. All terms and boxes
that seem to have an infinite amount of flexibility and push back.

How do we observe ( if we even attempt to ) the way we call our
feelings or decisions “good” or “bad”? How does that matter in the
long run? Is shame and guilt a part of that slightly judgmental
process of putting different perceptual events into two polarizing
folders? There in lies a conflict. A projection of how you want to see
the world and how you want the world to be. A real tough and tumble
with the “should bes” and “ought to bes”. What happens when we drop
those illusory polarization ratios we tend to place on many events and
actions we see in the world? It’s that good old conditioning from the
past I tell you.

You can’t judge the external events and choices of yourself and others
in the real world. You can only judge the image your mind has created
from the sense data that you have gotten from past experience. All
very limited like thought itself. All very measured.

So if we can simplify and observe how we label such fleeting feelings,
we can start to see the roots of our own unconsciousness. The feeling
may first begin in the body and the mind will catch it with its
interoception capabilities. From these bodily feelings, we can grab
from our mind hat a collection of possible “emotions” to put things
into context. This feels like anger so it must be anger. This feels
like sadness and maybe a tad bit of loneliness, so let’s go ahead and
call it sadness or if we are feeling particularly exuberant, “
Sadliness”. This is where our conditioning comes into play and we may
not even know it. This is also where it gets pretty interesting. We
use all these categorizations and compartmentalization from the past
to describe the way we feel through thought. Thought is conditioned
and always of the past. This is important to note as we can see that
thought is cyclical and often times binds us in a transitory of
psychosis that most of the time we choose ( or don’t know that we
choose) to identify with.

Ah yes! Identity. When we are so quick to identify an emotion that our
brain as labeled as a certain construct, we are likely to get lost in
that thorny bush of compulsory cyclical thought. Can you see how this
all works together? What happens when we aren’t so quick to label,
escape or alleviate a certain type of feeling/ emotion? What kind of
reaction arises when don’t try so hard to act or react to the
explosive chemistry that is happening in our bodies? Not seeking an
answer. Not seeking a solution. Just simply being with the happening
of what is unfolding in the (eternal) present. Does the feeling or
emotion transmute and subside? Does it double down and strengthen
itself? Do we try to rationalize and intellectualize what we THINK is
happening within us? This is where explanations and categorizations
can put a road block in the full presence of experience. We can so
easily retreat into our heads and try to be “smart” with how we
observe our internal unfolding.

A Triplicate Questionnaire to toss in your brain mixer:

How much do we get in our own way?
How much do we identify with the cyclical cycle of thought that
happens in our head?
Can we just observe those thoughts without the need to change,
reroute, act upon or make sense of what we are feeling especially if
we may think it feels like something so amorphous as “doubt”?

So many Questions. Are you beginning to doubt yourself? Sit with it.
Or stand with it for that matter. Get back into the body, where does
that doubt manifest in your body? Feel it. I mean like really feel it
without trying to resolve to some type of State of Certainty. The
ability to be with uncertainty is an inspiring and useful concept.
Buddhists tout this quite a bit in their teachings. When we strive for
a sense of certainty, security or a means of “resolve”, we are
creating a sense of conflict that ignores the root causes of most of
the problems we tend to create in the first place. What are we
ignoring when we are so quick to have things feel like they are solved
or completed? That’s the thing. Things come together and fall apart. A
real flux between certainty and uncertainty. Order and Chaos. The Well
Structured and the Asymmetrical stacks of junk and thoughts. Where do
we stand when the certain sh*t hits the fan? Certainly, we can almost
guarantee that orderly things will un-thread every once in a while or
more. How do we react? How do we see? How do we see the constant
impermanence and unfolding of things HAPPENING around us? To think we
can control it all is a very fantastical thought coated with a sugary
shell of idealism and naiveté.

So how do we act and react with these “Are You Sure?” Thoughts?
Many questions that we may not have very many answers for right now.
No need to rush. All this Doubt is intertwined in the process of
growth. Do you doubt that? Well, great! See where that goes? See where
new perceptions can take you. Simply observe what you call doubt and
let it do its dance in front of you without you telling it to scram.

Is it really just a doubt or something we call doubt that we put into
a nice and tidy box just so we can reduce and try to understand it?