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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

To Be Fair

To Be Fair

Tommy brings a bright blue ball to the playground and shows it to his friend Timmy. Timmy’s small little eyes dart fast towards the illuminated blue sphere. Timmy feels a bit of envy and wants to trade his dinky little red ball for the Tommy’s blue ball. Tommy flaunts his blue ball up high as if he was hoisting up a lamb he just hunted and killed.

Timmy feels even more inferior and asks if he can hold the blue ball. Tommy takes a moment of pause and then consents to have Timmy hold the blue ball. Tommy quickly drops his red hot as if it was a hot coal and grabs the ball out of Tommy’s hand. Tommy’s eye brows shoot up and his mouth makes a perplexed half grimace. Timmy is enamored with the glorious integrity that the ball emanates. After a few seconds, Tommy quickly grabs the blue ball and hands it to cute little Susan to his left. She is as "equally" enamored with the ball. Timmy gets flustered with the fact that Susan is having way more time with the ball than he did. Timmy shouts, “ Hey that’s not fair! She had it longer than I did!” Tommy glares at Timmy and simply shrugs his shoulders. Tommy obviously favored Susan and this angered Timmy.

Timmy begins to go on a rant on how it is simply not fair that Susan has more ball privileges that him. He crosses his arms and threatens to tell his parents that what he is doing is not right. Tommy begins to get uncomfortable and gently takes the ball away from Susan. Tommy takes Susan by the left hand and they both back away quickly and head towards the opposite side of the playground. Timmy remains silent with his arms crossed and frowns his brow as he sees them walk away. He looks down to see his red ball and kicks it towards the monkey bars.

Since we were kids, we were taught and encouraged to share and that fairness was a virtue for social interactions and the culture we lived in. This was a fine and dandy in theory, but what good has it done for us? We may feel bouts of envy and jealousy and think that by leveling the playing field towards something more “fair” will be an advantage for everyone.

In an ideal world, everyone would have the compassion and altruistic tendencies to share what they have equally or to even give more of what they already have. I understand that you get what you give, but that concept sometimes gets pushed aside and forgotten when implemented into the real world. Deep down we want things to be “fair”, because we want to avoid conflict and we want what is best for the most part of the people we choose to “get along” with. Are we setting high and unrealistic expectations?

Is there an evolutionary advantage for trying to make things fair and equal across the scope of humanity? People are inherently tribal and we have fallen for Us Vs. Them tendencies in the past to protect in group preferences, but has the idea of “fairness” evolved with the human species? If so, what would be the benefit of trying to manifest this imagined concept of fairness?

Was it fair for Susan to have more time with the glorious blue ball? Certainly, Tommy brought the ball and it was implied that it was his property from what we know. He may have not purchased it out of the fruits of his own labor, but if it was given as a gift specifically for him from a friend or family member, then most of us can agree that the blue ball belonged to Tommy. With that in mind, Tommy could have a say with what he wanted to do with his property. If Tommy refused to let Timmy hold or play with the blue ball, would that make him a bad or non-cooperative person? Would the withholding of the ball from Timmy reflect the values or lack there of of Tommy? Tommy could have certain insecurities or protections over the ball he owns. If Tommy thinks that his property may lose value or be damaged, he has every reason to not let someone hold it. Should we cast judgment over Tommy’s property choices when we don’t fully understand his relationship and history to the object he owns?

We are taught that “Sharing is Caring.” In a way, this little platitude holds some weight and truth. However, Sharing is Caring and Sharing should be Mandatory are two different types of concepts. One “should” be encouraged to share if it provides value for them. If it will bring value to share something that is owned, whether the value brings good intent, happiness or even financial gain, then sharing is a net gain for everyone involved. If for some reason a person doesn’t want to share, should we be so quick to write them off as people of selfish tendencies and low virtue? A person may favor sharing sometime with a person they trust more or favor. Is there anything wrong with this?

How does sharing relate to fairness? Certainly, if someone would discriminate how they share their goods with people, does that make it unfair for people that want to partake but can’t? Would it be fair to say that there will always be a great deal of unfairness? The very nature of sharing implies that not everyone would be able to partake in the sharing does it not? Sharing is certainly restricted to limited resources and the allocation of what is available to share.

How is fairness decided?

We must take into the account the vast spectrum of advantages and disadvantages people have in relationship with each other. When we think of what should be “fair”, we are coming from a fragmented point of view constricted to our own sense of ideals. People can discuss and arrive to a consensus of what is fair, but there will always be some type of conflict because of people’s varying ideological constructs. What one person sees as unfair, may be fair to the other person depending on the context. Many businesses and organizations operate under tenets of fairness in order to keep things in order and without conflict. This is a good thing, but there will always be a sense of “unfairness” if you look at it from a mindset built from a sense of lack and grievance.

An employer may implement rules that apply to all employees in order to show that all consequences will be the same for whoever breaks them. Is this fair? Would it be more unfair if a person within that company with a higher pay rate and status got different and less severe punishments and/or consequences? Should this supposed fairness take into the account the opinions of all who reject it or only be amended and mandated by the ones who are able to enforce their own set of rules and policies?

Fairness is built on division. You can only see something as fair or unfair by comparing with what the situation is at play. Since fairness is based on division, there will always be fragmentation and conflict. There can be no communion, consensus or relationship when there is so much division and conflict especially when it deals with illusory and imagined concepts like fairness. A person that sees a certain situation as unfair, will try to make a means to finding a solution to something more fair. When a person comes from a point of view of lacking something, they are not entirely seeing the what is of the situation. The need for dissolving unfairness means taking away something from the more “fair” and advantaged. Therefore, the party that is seen as oppressively “unfair” will have something taken away from them in order to even out to a status of trite fairness. If  the person that was seen as being unfair does not cooperate, then the conflict intensifies. This is where the concept of fairness can be so problematic and subjective.

Can using a false dichotomy of what is fair and unfair lead to a destructive and distorted perception of the immense futility of what is?

Can there be truly objective fairness?

Fairness and Cheating

When someone cheats or doesn’t follow the rules to a certain situation or game, then someone might see that as being unfair. In a way it is unfair, but it more aligns with a violation of a code of conduct or some type of morality. We can all agree that cheating is wrong in this sense and that is creates a sense of wrongness in a certain scenario. For me, it is hard to see cheating as a sense of unfairness since it involves someone blatantly going outside the framework of what was agree upon to take advantage of the people or person involved. Consequently, this concept of unfairness or fairness is absolved since cheating is more of a moral breach of contract.

Fairness and Authority

Can someone have a specific authority to determine what is fair? If an employer thinks that a certain pay rate is fair for newcomers as compared to people that have worked for him for awhile, does that mean that that is fair even in the pay gap is quite big? If the employer chooses to limit raises to a few group of solid workers and not distribute funds “equally” through the organization, does that make it unfair? Some things to ponder.

When we strive for "fairness" across the board, we are wanting to level the playing field so that we can feel more secure with what we have compared with others. After all, it is moral to go by the golden rule and treat everyone the way we want to be treated and respect the boundaries and differences of other people. If you were unaware of the pay raise that your friend got for showing up a little early each day or if your coworker got a much bigger raise than you, would you even need to bring up the subject of fairness. Like said above, in order to construct this concept of fairness in your head, you have to be able to compare and contrast two different or similar things. We can disagree and agree with people’s ideas of fairness all we want and we may come to some hearty conclusions, but when we are at odds than our subjective views on fairness divide us even further from consensus and compassion.

What makes a fair punishment?
What makes for a fair set of rules?
Would rules and codes of conduct be seen as fair if everyone consents ( tacitly or explicitly) to them?

We can only operate under what is .
The laws of science and physics.
In the realm of the possible and the impossible.
In the realm of the seen and the unseen.

We do not all start from the same point. Some people with have special talents for things that we strive to get better at. It might take them way less time to learn something. Should we be angry at them for having a specific advantage over us? Should we put them down or place restrictions on them for their “gifts”? Should we try to enforce our will on people that we think are greedy or rich so that they can “share” some of their wealth? Is there a point where we can see fairness as a moral objective even if it doesn’t benefit everyone in the end?

Some of us make take the concept of fairness from a “morally superior” type of mindset. We may feel that by taking something from someone else, even though we have no business taking from them in the first place, is the moral and “right” thing to do. We may consciously or unconsciously try to guilt or shame someone that we feel is being unfair with their conduct, property or earnings. We may call them names or even puff up our chest and explain how that by leveling things to a sense of “fairness” is the path to a greater and more justified “good”. Do we really have any power to try to make things fair through force, intimidation or coercion? Can this concept of fairness be turned into a totalitarian and destructive ideology?

Fairness and Reaction

When you imagine the concept of fairness, how does it make you feel?
When you see something as unfair or you feel that you are being treated unfairly, how do you react? Is the reaction more emotional than rational? Is is more visceral than concrete? When we can truly observe what are reaction to what we “think” is “unfair, than we can start to understand the relationship it has with ourselves and people we surround ourselves with.

So when we can step outside from this illusory spectrum of “fairness”, we can observe and understand why we have tried to make things fair in the first place. Does it come from a center of rationality or emotion? Does it make you feel contempt towards the people you felt were unfair? Are we simply ignoring the contexts for these scenarios that we saw as unfair? Can we simply look at each contextual landscape without placing our subjective and deeply personal world view onto it?

Are we coming from a place of resentment, jealousy and anger?
Are we coming from a place of vulnerability and compassion?

( In relation to “Fairness” )

To be fair, do we really know what’s fair?


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Steal More Ideas

Steal More Ideas

    You’re shopping in the supermarket in a frenzy trying to weasel your way through the crowds. You pass by the cereal aisle. There it is. The cereal idea that you thought about years ago. You know, the one that you thought no one would have ever thought of. But here you are. Looking at the idea that you never manifested into the real world of the Cereal Industrial Complex. You feel betrayed. As if someone stole that idea from your brain and took it for their own benefit. Maybe your cereal idea wasn’t so original in the first place. That’s a possibility isn’t it?

We may have had many moments of us feeling guilt or regret for someone else acting upon their own similar ideas. We may make excuses and toughen up on our own smug sense of self and think that we could have done a better job. Moments later we return a new cycle of compulsory thought that makes us forget about the idea theft we felt just minutes ago. Welcome to the modern distracted universe!

Where do these so called “original ideas” come from? What makes us motivated or drawn to manifesting or bringing these ideas into fruition? Do you think that we should be able to “own” ideas as if they are property and prosecute people that take these ideas?

In reality we can come to terms that a person an patent a product or concept and prevent us from producing or copying the same thing. This is inherently tied to intellectual property. Whether I agree with it or not, there are fundamental consequences for trying to “rip” something off verbatim especially when it is wrapped up with contracts and legalities.

We can always innovate. We can always take someone's idea and improve on it with creativity and the intention of pushing the conceptual continuity of the original idea. When an idea is manifested from a thought based concept to a real and tangible object or action, it allows for the potential of progress, order and/or chaos. Humans don’t live in a vacuum and all things that arise from thought are allowed to be scrutinized, challenged, improved and fragmented. It is the fragmentation and analysis of all of these various ideas that form the way we see and build the world around us.

Ideas evolve from the ideas that preceded them. Think about the progress and evolution of musical genres through history. Think about the various art movements that seemed to organically morph from one to another and die or change into a different form. We can learn so much about how we interact with ideas and how it relates to the quality of our consciousness.

“ If you are a painter, what other painters and paintings are you looking at?”
“ If you are a cook, what other cooks do you admire? What recipes tickle your fancy?”
“ If you are a fisherman, how would you improve the lures and rods you use?”

Sometimes we want to clench so tight to our so called original ideas, that they end up dictating unconscious action and becoming our identity. This attachment to the originality of “our” ideas distract us from the ephemeral and inherent elasticity of the ideas themselves. Ideas emerge from thought. Thought begets thought. So when we have a thought, we have a thought that leads into another thought. Were the thoughts simply directing us to the cohesion of an idea that could be manifested into something in the real world? Did we have much control or will to dictate the nature and path of these thoughts?

We can become somewhat intoxicated by the popping up of a good thought. It may stop us in our tracks and we may even physically stop what we are doing to entertain the appeal of these “good” thoughts. We may take action and write it down or even make a course of action to try to realize the intoxicating idea(s) that popped up into our consciousness. Other times we may be too busy and simply let the good ideas float down the river of compulsory thought. It may pop up later and we may act differently or not.

So as we established above, most good ideas are motivated from the past and the knowledge we have collected. The impetus of these ideas begin with the brain trying to make sense of the world and acting on trying to navigate more effectively and efficiently.  Some people may see a chair as just a chair, but a person with a different past will see chair as a catalyst for something more. They may see that they can improve the integrity of the chair or even try to reproduce/ copy the chair for financial gain.

Past Experience and outer and inner environment influence the work of thought patterns in the mind. This works into and influences our sense of self. Are we determined or destined to think these thoughts from our memories, thoughts and knowledge? Can we really be independent from our thoughts when the concept of the “thinker” is a thought in the first place? Can we truly control and free ourselves from the pull and influence of thought patterns that lead to successful and unsuccessful ideas?

As an experiment, don’t try to control the thought pattern. Simply observe. When you step back and watch the river of compulsory thought, do you get more access to ideas. Do you pay more attention to the birth of good ideas?

Ideas are meant to be amorphous and less concrete. When an idea becomes manufactured and dull, it loses its flavor and applicability to be manipulated and improved. This is why it is so important to be open to so many ideas even if we may see them as trivial, dangerous or abhorrent. The ideas that were once stuck in the middle of our small heads, are now out in the world to be seized, taken and manipulated. You may have introduced the idea and take credit for it, but when it is manifested ( Material or Concept ) you are agreeing for it to be improved or destroyed. How miraculous is that?

Stealing ideas aren’t immune to consequences.

One person may have more resources to implement and idea that was put out there.
One person may have more intellectual insight and drive to execute and idea that wasn’t originally theirs.

What is important is that we observe what our relationship to ideas are.

Our relationship to thought. Our relationship to our identities.  Our relationship to how we manifest our ideas and what value it gives us and society.

Why limit yourself to the limited biases and attachments of others?

Challenge people’s ideas with curiosity, scrutiny and the openness to listen and challenge with respectful discourse. 

Respect the value of other people’s ideas, but do not fear trying to imitate or replicating them. Humans thrive and grow from imitation. This is how we learn. This is how we progress as a human species. When we can observe our attachments to ideas and the relationship we have with ourselves, we can be creative. We can be creative without the fear of failure.

We can go into discovery into the unseen, the unexplored. We may execute bad ideas a few times and manifest really fantastic ideas later on. In any case we can divorce ourselves from the impulsive need to place ideas on a viable and non-viable spectrum. We can step back from placing ideas on a good and bad spectrum.

Of course we must be mindful of our time and energy, but with an elastic and curious mind we can entertain the idea of pushing new and exciting ideas no matter how uncomfortable it might make us.

Discomfort and uncertainty and great for improving and implementing fresh new ideas.

Go out and play! Play with ideas. Take ideas. Manipulate and steal those ideas. Let the ideas form into other unintended plays. Let those ideas play with other ideas. Let those ideas birth new ideas and observe.

Take this apart. Criticize it. Let it inform you. Deny it. Let it be. Surrender yourself to the present. See what arises without analyzing it.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How can I help?

How can I help?

We have all encountered situations where a friend or a loved one was in a bit of a crisis. How did you react in that moment? Did you feel the tension well up inside of your body? Did you get uncomfortable? Were you eager to escape this uncomfortable moment?

We may react to one of our friends voicing out their problems to us by giving our sympathies or even offering some type of advice. Sometimes the advice seems warranted and sometimes it does not. We may think we are helping by expressing our sympathies and giving advice, but are we really helping?

We may think that giving advice is helping, but sometimes we use it as at instant gratification exit strategy to immediately find solutions to ease the tense moment. We may not know what is best for them or even what is best for us in times of great stress. This is imperative to observe. We can only give advice from our own limited and biased perspective based upon our own past experiences and selective knowledge we have picked up along the way. Giving advice isn’t necessarily destructive, but sometimes it may divert away from the root problem your friend or loved one is having. What happens when get away from a more agenda driven conflict resolution type of mindset and aim towards a non-judgmental sense of awareness based on listening and compassion? It may be uncomfortable at first, but if we can learn a lot from humility and not jumping towards immediate answers.

Some of us may be unconscious of the “stock words and reactions” we use when trying to respond towards a person in crisis. We may perk up our sympathy ears and say things that we “think” we should say in the moment.

Words Like..

“ I’m am so sorry “
“ Wow, that isn’t good.”
“ I feel you.”
“ Things will get better.”
“ I’ve been there before.”

( And other precarious platitudes. )
This is your conditioning.

We want to appear sympathetic and make the other person feel like we are listening no matter how manufactured or uncomfortable it may make us. We all have problems that we need to talk about in order to fully understand where they are coming from. This is essential for human bonding and cultivating valuable and long lasting relationships. With that in mind, we can learn to interact more effectively when we understand the relationship we have with ourselves.

Sometimes we may feel obligated to try to manipulate our friend’s tense situation in order to make him or her feel better about themselves. We may unconsciously try to tell them to manipulate the state they are in and move them into a more relaxed and positive oriented disposition. The intention in this seems pretty harmless, but could still be seen as a type of exit strategy from discomfort. When we tell a friend to simply “ relax” or “ cheer up”, we are ignoring what they are really saying. We aren’t necessarily listening or being very attentive. This is more key in trying to understand the way we feel and operate than the way others too. When we are able to expand self knowledge and self ownership, we can start to see that the way we treat the people around us is a reflection the way we treat ourselves. You may catch yourself telling yourself to relax or to calm down in times of high anxiety and stress. You may catch yourself trying to divert your thought pattern to sometime more positive without really understanding where those thoughts are coming from. When we try to manipulate our behaviors as a form of escape, we are not allowing ourselves the totality of such passing experiences. When we can simply be with what is happening within us without trying to resist it, we can see it for what it is and let it make its course through us and pass. It will pass.

You have no obligation to try to change people's moods and behaviors.

So when we are aware with how we try to manipulate our moods and listen to what is going on within us, we can start to project that with the people we encounter. We can accept ourselves as well as accepting our distressed love ones without immediately trying to jump to conclusions and solutions. We can switch from seeking solutions to understanding the roots of suffering.

But how is this constructive?

You can say that you understand and you can sympathize and empathize all you want. In a way this is good. The ability to be able to sit with someone in pain without being dismissive, negative or anxious allows for more fruitful and loving relationships. This brings to light what we can do action wise. We can offer ourselves in service. We can give what we can within that moment and attentively listen to the people in turmoil. Sometimes listening may be the best thing to do. Being present is the best strategy in every tense situation. From that presence arises a call to action towards compassion and vulnerability. We can refrain from saying things unless they need to be said. We can refrain from trying to move on from the discomfort. We can truly utilize the moment to connect with someone else and ourselves and learn from the suffering.

We can keep asking questions? Digging deeper to the root cause of the suffering. Not fishing for immediate solutions.

We can ask, “ How can I help? “

By asking this question, we are offering ourselves to service of another person. They may or may not know what they want. This is all fine. So many tense interactions center around conflict resolution and the omission of tension, that we forget that we can offer anything valuable in return. We can all offer something no matter how small. Sometimes listening is just enough. Sometimes asking this question is just enough. It’s certainly not about trying to fulfill and altruistic goal or means to an end.
Asking “How can I help?” is in a sense a type of discovery.
A stroll through uncertainty.
A lengthy jog through value and virtue.
A swim through vulnerability and compassion.

From the discomfort comes great growth.
How will you be present with someone in need?
With someone in distress?
With yourself in distress?
With yourself and the world?


Friday, March 10, 2017

What Are You Practicing?

What are you practicing?

It’s a simple question. Is it not? We all may have a particular idea of what practice is or what it means to us. We are taught that practice makes perfect or that the consistency of which we do things will yield favorable results and consequences. Some of us may dread the whole concept of practice all together where we recoil in horror at the thought of repeating something very routine or heavy with rigid and demanding disciplinary actions.

We have been mainly raised to see practice as a compartmentalized type of technique for achieving a set out goal or attaining some type of reward or desired state. An athlete will see practice as a way of getting better at their own craft and sport as well as strengthening their sense of purpose and value systems. When we are deliberate with practicing for the sake of a means to an end or the perpetuation of a certain lifestyle, we box in practice as something that must fit into our desired sense of identity. Practice may give us a sense of purpose, joy, direction and meaning because we feel passionate with core  of the value it presents to us.

We can dissect and analyze practice and become better at it. We learn from past mistakes and achievements through the actual implementation and action of practice. This is necessary to understand. We may have days of bad practice and days of grand practice! Some days we might not what to practice at all, but we know that by doing it no matter how badly, we will ultimately get something out of it even if its not entirely positive. The consistency of keeping up with practicing whatever you are trying to practice can allow for immense personal growth and life lessons.

Some of the best practice sessions come from little to no expectations. Where practice becomes a form of structured play that integrates error and grace. Some of the best rewards that come from practice come from the strength to pursue even when certain factors are going against our plans such as mood, body strength, mental acuity and attentiveness.

What if we were to expand on the concept of practice a little bit more? What is we were to not analyze, divide and compartmentalize what practice is and simply live a life that is more integrated with practice? Let me explain.

We may practice things that we don’t necessarily consider practicing. We may be unconscious or not aware of the things we are practicing. Some could be the habits we have picked up over the years. Both good and bad. Some practicing strategies may be influenced by conditioning we have accepted and not challenged in our current situation. We may tell ourselves that we practice mindfulness and self-awareness on a daily basis, but may be missing the mark on actually “practicing” these techniques.

Talk is talk. Thought is thought. How we practice both paves the way.

If we can strip the “means to an end” pleasure/reward driven center from practicing, we can dig deeper into a more beneficial and integrated form of practice that with work in harmony with what we call “living”. Practicing goes hand in hand with living with what is and what is happening within you. You are practicing the same thought patterns and preferences that make up the way you see the world. Do you see? You are practicing the same way you haphazardly make your bed or how you hastily brush your teeth. You weren’t totally there. You were in a state of effort that was trying to achieve a mundane goal. You may have not taken the time or had the patience to really “Improve” or “Be” with the process you are practicing. That’s the thing. It is about the process. It is about trusting the process without necessarily worrying about the result.

So we can move from the inner to the outer. What patterns are you practicing in your head? What kind of value does it give you? Are you just practicing the same pursuit of pleasure patterns that your mind feeds on and perpetuates or are you practicing being in the moment and accepting uncertainty and the constant that is change? Do not get too concerned with trying to fit your practices into a good/bad/beneficial spectrum. Great learning comes from the practice of not falling into a boorish routine or a conditioned approach. When you try to imitate directly from an certain practiced approach, you are limiting yourself from discovering the unseen. It is easy for us humans to try to latch onto a certain boorish system that will yield the same results from the past. The past that forms our knowledge and the past that ultimately informs the way we see the world and what we practice. Do you understand what I am saying?

When we can see practice as not a blueprint and more of a method of discovery with various consequences and outcomes, we can open ourselves to a life that is abundant with practice. We can start to look at the way we do our dishes like the way a basketball player treats his practice of getting better at free throws and dribbling. We can start to practice the cleaning and maintenance of our room as if we are ballerinas trying to delicately and attentively trying to improve our graceful bends and moves. Do you see how our life situation and this concept of “practice” are all intermingled with each other?

When we are present with whatever action we are doing no matter how routine or non-routine it is, we are practicing presence and improving on the way we do things without the will and intent of trying to improve things. When we try to improve things, we are aiming towards a “should be” scenario and we are less accepting of what is. Should we not improve things? Absolutely not, but conscious improvement comes from the harmony of action and self awareness. Conscious improvement is seated in understand ing and the acceptance of the here and now.

You may hate to pick up your room, but your attitude on that matter is of little relevance in the grand scheme of things. You can either not pick up your room or pick up your room and your attitude might have some affect in how it is executed. What happens when you “try” to “get excited” about picking up your room? Do you feel any more motivated? Do you feel any more passion for the task at hand? Ask yourself these questions for the things that you do not like to do. Ask yourself these questions for the things that you don’t do with your whole presence and totality. We live in a world where we multitask and do things quite half assed and not present. Don’t we?

The quality of our practices in daily life is determined by the amount of presence and the understanding of what is. We all have things that we need to do. We all have things that we want to do. When we are able to dissolve the line between the need to do’s and want to do’s, we can integrate tasks into our consciousness and the way we live. We can accept that some things might offer more challenge, but will help aid us in learning more and growing.

How are you practicing? How are you living? What are you practicing? What are you living?

One of my favorite lessons and writing comes from William S. Burroughs’ The Discipline of DE (do easy).  This has a lot to do with what I am talking about in relation to practice, consciousness and action.

Here is an excerpt.

DE is a way of doing. It is a way of doing everything you do. DE simply means doing whatever you do in the easiest most relaxed way you can manage which is also the quickest and most efficient way, as you will find as you advance in DE.
You can start right now tidying up your flat, moving furniture or books, washing dishes, making tea, sorting papers. Consider the weight of objects: exactly how much force is needed to get the object from here to there? Consider its shape and texture and function. Where exactly does it belong? Use just the amount of force necessary to get the object from here to there. Don't fumble, jerk, grab an object. Drop cool possessive fingers onto it like a gentle old cop making a soft arrest. Guide the dustpan lightly to the floor as if you were landing a plane. When you touch an object weigh it with your fingers, feel your fingers on the object, the skin, blood, muscles, tendons of your hand and arm. Consider these extensions of yourself as precision instruments to perform every movement smoothly and well. Handle objects with consideration and they will show you all their little tricks.

It seems easy enough does it not? The concept of things being hard arises from compulsive thought. It comes from the discomfort of failure and the minds clinging for security. When we can break things down to small steps ( micro steps ) we can see that these immense tasks we saw as difficult are not difficult at all. They are comprised of small, intentional, and fruitfully present tasks.

Baby steps.
When that thought plants in your brain that relates the future “hardness” of an endeavor, are you watering it. Do you have a whole forest of doubt planted in your head that takes up your consciousness?

Every moment you are aware and without an agenda, you are able to integrate presence into practice. You practice the way you think. You practice the way you look at your thought. You practice the way you refrain from eating that cookie. You practice the way you treat yourself and that affects how you treat other people. You practice what you value and you practice what you are conscious of. Are you really practicing when you are unaware? Or are you practicing things without knowing that you are practicing?

Are you practicing presence or practicing unawareness?

Are you practicing the fragmentation of self through discipline or are you practicing the ease of integration within your life situation? Are your practices resourceful?

Are you practicing patience?
We practice what we preach. We practice what we want and don’t want. We practice what we need and what we don’t need.

The way we practice one thing is the way we practice everything. If we can integrate the act of practicing more into our lives and see it less a separate and obligatory imagined entity, we can start to understand living. Living that is not constrained to routines and conditioned features influenced and dominated by the past. Living that is attentive and keeps us competent with the seen and unseen.

The simple art of “living” becomes a practice in itself.
Practicing living is the practice of practical bliss.



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Importance of Negative People

The Importance of Negative People

The Sit Down.

Q: I seem to be surrounding myself with negative people. I don’t really see myself as a negative person, but why would a majority of my friend be negative? Am I in denial? Am I not seeing something? What can I do to not surround myself with negative people?

A: Great Questions. I will have to ask. Why do you not want to surround yourself with negative people? I mean, I think none of us consciously want to do it, but why do we allow ourselves to keep them so prominent in our lives? It is a good question. Maybe these negative people tell us more about us than it does about them.

Q: That is true. I do not want to surround myself with negative people, but I am not sure why I am asking this question now when these people have been in my life for a while now.

A: I understand completely. You are seeing these negative people as outside of yourself. This of course is true in real life, but there might be a deeper reason for why they are still such a major factor in your life. They might give you more value than you think. We have heard many times before that people can be reflections of our own insecurities. This has some truth to it for sure. We may want to shift the blame onto other negative people and not take responsibility for our own behaviors. It may be a little more ironic too. Certainly, you may have general concern for why negative people are in your present life, but would you say that you are complaining?

Q: I wouldn’t say that I am complaining, but I might be in denial.

A: You very could well be in denial. Whether you are in denial or not, it doesn’t really matter for the bigger question at hand. Do you understand where I am coming from? You may have been conditioned to have these negative people in our life out of proximity, obligation and passiveness. You may be “waking up” to the fact that you haven’t been completely in control. They could have chosen you more than you have chosen them. Does this make sense? Either way, these dysfunctional relationships emerge out of unconsciousness. They emerge our of the resistance to “What Is”. Maybe we should look more into ourselves to see how and why this negativity is so important to us?

Q: This is very enlightening, but are you saying that it may be more of me than them?

A: Not entirely. You see, you are still trying to “otherize” these negative people. They are indeed just the images of them in your head that you have pieced together from your past interactions, personal thoughts and how you were raised. So these people you are struggling with are just the false identifiers in your head. They are the mental constructs. It is of your own limited perception and opinion that you are facing and resisting. These people are negative because you place them on the spectrum of negativity. You and many people immediately discriminate based upon our own concepts of division and judgments of character. In a way this is beautiful. These people are going through their own battles. Their own suffering. We may want to label them as “negative” because they aren’t really offering us much value and we don’t choose to take responsibility or look at what is actually happening. They are indeed reflections of your own conditioning and insecurities. Do you see what I am getting at?

Q: Yes, I do. I feel as if I am projecting so much of what I feel on the people around me. I choose to label them as negative. Well maybe I don’t choose so much. It is the lack of choice that I am unconscious to. Now that you bring it to light, I can see that I have not been very aware of my internal dialogue and atmosphere. How can I change for the better? Should I totally abandon my negative friends?

A: Great questions once again. If you are seeking for companionship or friendship in the outer world and you are not taking the time or the patience to observe what is happening within you, you are doing yourself a great disservice. You are stagnating. Do you understand? So when you see these beautiful neurotic people, you can either accept them for who they are and how they act or you can delve deeper into unconsciousness and your neurosis and resist. What you resist persists. When you aren’t aware of what is happening, you are just perpetuating the same behaviors. You will attract the same type of people. You will perpetuate your acts of gossip, hearsay and complaining. It is not a matter of making a distinct decision in whether or not to abandon your friends, it is being aware of what is happening within you in the first place.  When you can truly be with what is and accept the fact that you have no real sway in manipulating other people’s behaviors, things will unravel for what needs to happen. Not for the greater good. Not for the “benefit” or the “Increase of Value”, but for health and quality and awareness of consciousness itself.

Q: This is starting to make more sense now. I see that the world is within me and I can choose to control it.

A: Well, you are correct on the first part. It is not about control however. Not in this situation. When you are trying to control, you are trying to fit into a mental constructed ideal. You are reaching solutions without really trying to understand the problem. You see “ trying to control” is a form of resistance. You are going against the what is and moving more to a “ What should Be.” You are making the effort to change your behavior to fit a goal. This may all seem reasonable and logical, but in fact it is a form of self resistance. You are right to take responsibility for your own feelings and actions. You are seeing control as a means to align yourself with a false identity. A mask to escape discomfort. You see, all these negative people are some of the best teachers. They are hidden gems for us to open up, be vulnerable and truly experience our inner turmoil without trying to analyze or compartmentalize it. Do you see now? These negative people start to shed their own toxic skin right in front you. Your limiting judgments that were based on conditioning and division will transmute into compassion and understanding. These people may be hurting, but when you are attentive with what is going on, you can truly listen and feel the totality of each conflicting situation. When you surrender to the present moment, you are accepting these negative individuals with no agenda of trying to change, judge or fix them and at the same time you are accepting yourself. Accepting yourself unconditionally. When this happens, you radiate that acceptance and the world around you begins to change. You can accept the movement for all of its ugliness and all of its beautiful offerings.

Q: I am truly grateful. I feel as if a great weight has lifted off of my shoulders. It is freeing to realize that I have been creating these problems all along. It is freeing to realize that I don’t need to try to get a “quick fix” to my misunderstandings and self created problems. I realize the effect of my own unconsciousness. I truly embrace what will happen next without the need to try to simply change what is around me. I know that by trying to change what is within me will not come from simply trying to change what is within me. I accept this fact and I accept that I am indeed part of this world as much as my negative friends around me. It is not my job to spread kindness and compassion in this world, but I know that it will come if I am attentive to what is. How can I ever thank you.

A: Ha Ha. No need to thank me. You have realized more by yourself than from me. Go out and discover through the murky swamp of unforeseen opportunities and the unseen. These answers that you are looking for are all within you. I am part of you. You have arrived here through the unraveling of certain circumstances. Was it destined? Well, destiny is an odd concept isn’t it? Surely none of this was predetermined, but most of it was influenced from your unconscious and your past conditioning. You may think that you want to attain knowledge, but when you see knowledge as a separate thing from yourself, you are not truly being knowledgeable. Do what you will with what i have told you. Do not repeat it or try to remember it. Try not to forget it, but simply let is sink in. Keep asking these important questions. Do not be too eager to find solutions. Most of the questions could have solutions with itself. It takes great depth and patience to be with uncertainty. Every waking moment is a chance to just sit with uncertainty and not try to magically change it to certainty. We can be certain that there will always be uncertainty. Can’t we not. I am not giving you orders. Do not see any of these “do not” statements as commands. I am merely talking words. The greatest guide is yourself and we can both move towards truth together when we see that we are of the same world and same consciousness.