Do Not Resist or Repress Your Feelings

“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”
– the Dalai Lama

One of the greatest ills of our society is the inability for people to handle their thoughts and emotions. Because this is never taught in school, people go their whole lives without ever knowing what they should do when they are faced with fear, grief, anger…or any other emotions, sensation or indeed intrusive thoughts. The rampant use of drugs and alcohol, the numbing of ourselves on pointless entertainment and reality TV shows, the inability to have happy and fulfilling relationships, innumerable amount of mental and physical health problems…have as one of their root causes the total helplessness of humanity in facing, handling or even acknowledging their inner pain.

For men this is often even worse, as it is so often silently agreed upon that feeling or showing emotions is somehow not masculine. This is of course total nonsense. Thankfully throughout recent years this notion has slowly been changing, at least somewhat, with the rapid onset of abnormally large amounts of mental illness in our society (making it impossible for people to hide their true feelings any longer), as well as potential solutions surfacing, like meditative practices, journaling and various forms of introspection.

So many people nowadays, I would argue the majority, are completely cut off from their feelings. They live their lives entirely in their heads, unable and unwilling (since nobody has told them it has any value) to feel their body and any emotions, sensations…present in it. They distract themselves endlessly and live their lives as if their inner world was not real – without knowing the truth that their subconscious is controlling them and influencing their actions far more than they realize. Continue reading

Allow Your Life to Be Interspersed with Moments of Being

We all live in a hectic world where constant activity is cherished beyond everything else. You are often even seen as more successful and productive if you constantly and consistently are (or at least appear to be) very busy.

But it is often that our busyness (or shall we say “business”?) can lead us astray. We may be constantly doing something, but is the path we are carving forward really in tune with our deepest desires and indeed our deepest selves? You may run as fast as you can, yet when you are running in the wrong (or at least sub-optimal) direction, you may end up lost and confused, while simply a casual stroll on the right path could have led you home.

How do we come to our core and allow ourselves to realign with our optimal path? The key lies in allowing ourselves to be. This to me, is the most wondrous practice, that I indulge in regularly. But really, even calling it a practice is missing the mark. If you allow yourself to be as you are, you are not really doing something – rather, you are actively doing nothing, which in Taoism is called the art of Wu Wei.

Indeed this, as you may have noticed, is the essence of meditation. But as much as a regular meditation habit can be very helpful, it is imperative to connect this to the rest of your life. Not only to connect it, but to understand its importance and implication, see it as something far beyond a practice, but as a new way of living life – understanding that what you are missing is right in front of you and noticing that as you allow yourself to touch what is, you will be renewed and your life rejuvenated.

So for a moment, right now, allow yourself to simply be. Allow yourself to relax, yet remain at full alertness. If you intend and allow your awareness to be swallowed by thought, you will move into unconsciousness, and ultimately into the sleep state. This is not what we are attempting here. We are attempting an open relaxed alertness, one that embraces all that comes onto its path.

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Hopelessness, Desperation and the Man at the Park. Are We Doomed or Is There a Light at the End of the Tunnel?

A few days ago I met at the park with one of my best friends. We hung out and talked for a few hours about a number of topics, until we eventually said our goodbyes as he hopped on his bike and left for home. It was quite late and night had already fallen, but I wanted to chill out and contemplate something I was thinking about earlier before returning home.

As I sat down on a park bench and meditated, I was, in the space of about 15 minutes, approached by a middle aged man pushing a bicycle beside him. He went past me and as our eyes met, he asked what I was doing. I replied that I was contemplating some topics that have been weighing on my mind recently.

I quickly saw that he was looking for someone to talk to – and my intuition turned out correct. He engaged me in a conversation, well not really a conversation, more a monologue, as I listened to what he had to say.

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Do Not Forget the Inherent Simplicity of Spirit and Life

Often we get lost in the various complexities of life, whether personal, societal, scientific, philosophical or spiritual. We seek answers, we seek ourselves, the seeking can be constant. And with the seeking, with the questions, come more and more questions, often accompanied by confusion and a feeling that we’ll never figure it all out. I know this because I’m often like this – I’m obsessed with figuring things out, with trying to find the answers, with wanting to have everything happen and align perfectly – wanting to know what to do and how to move forward in order to achieve and master perfection, alignment.

But with all of this, all of us, me included, often forget that the answers can often be found in the absolute simplicity of being. If you allow yourself to let go of the questions and the confusion, the seeking of understanding and the desire to know – you will paradoxically find the answers as well as the path forward. And the path can often and will often be very simple. Not only for a personal and worldly betterment of your life, but for your growth as a spiritual being, for the seeking of freedom and Divinity inherent within us all.

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Creating a Vision for a New Earth, for the Utopia This Planet Has the Potential to Be

How do we change this planet, how do we make a better future for those that will come after us, if we do not know where we are headed?

We have seen what’s wrong with the world and we see more evidence of it every day. What we need right now is a vision, a clear vision for what we all want this planet to be, as well as the final iteration of what we want to create.

If we do not know where we are going, we are doomed to miss the path that leads us there. Thus the most important thing to know is our destination. We need to have a vision of what we want to manifest into this world, for both us and our children.

What I’m asking of you is not to necessarily know the plan, or a clear path of action. If you can, that is absolutely wonderful, but the most important thing is to know the final destination, the final shape of what we want to create, the vision of a new society, of a New Earth. The mind works in mysterious ways and many times it will provide you with a plan of action as well as plenty of ideas and intuitions of what needs to and can be done, if you clearly state your end goal, visualize it and write it down if possible.

The vision does not need to be exact and not all contingencies need to be planned for preemptively in your mind. You do not need to see and understand the exact sociopolitical complexities of this desired Utopia. What matters most is the energy, the energy from which you create this vision. From this energy all the ideas, the plans, the details will spring forth. Will you create this from an energy of love, peace, compassion, unity, joy, or from fear, grief, anger?

You do not have to know exactly how it’s going to work or how we are going to get there, even a rough draft is a wonderful start. But I urge you to do this and to do this now. I urge you to think about , visualize and write down if possible what a New Earth could genuinely look like, how we can come together and make a society that we have all dreamed of a reality.

If you wish to create this, it is always best to clear your mind and come to inner peace as best you can. Let go of any bothersome thoughts or emotions. Drop them as the unnecessary burden onto your being that they are. Realize that fundamentally YOU ARE, realize your precious beingness and create from it, create from a space unburdened by any limits of who you are and how you should be.

Take a few deep breaths, relax and let go. Then allow it to come forth. Your vision for what this planet and all on it has the potential to be.

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The Inner Revolution – Saving the World by Dissolving Our Pain and Finding Freedom Beyond the Known

How do we save the world?

As within so without, as above so below
– Hermes Trismegistus

Most of us see the world is a mess. From wars, to total poverty, from people that are thrown into prison for crimes they didn’t commit, to people that do not have access to basic sanitation and clean drinking water. The fact is, if you were born in an at least somewhat wealthy country and have your basic needs provided, while you can also freely browse an uncensored Internet, you can count yourself as very blessed. But even in first world countries, where abundance seems commonplace (and even such countries are rare, the majority of first world countries still have a sharp divide between classes and enormous problems with poverty) and crime scarce (again, quite rare) you find yourself in the midst of a population that is unhappy, depressed, fearful and anxious, wanting to escape their reality and constantly seeking the next dopamine stimulating experience.

Where have we gone wrong and how do we fix it?

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Embracing and Dissolving Inner Pain and Suffering

accepting-embracing-pain-suffering-allowing

Whenever we are presented with pain in our life, whether it is emotional, mental or physical, we push back, resisting it. We want it to go away, wish for it to disappear, desire to change it, control it, make it different than the way it is. We want to escape.

But if you look closely, you’ll see that doing so only makes the pain, the suffering worse. In fact the suffering itself is actually created by the resistance to the pain. As the saying goes – “In life, pain is inevitable, yet suffering is optional”.

So whenever you feel any form of pain, instead of resisting it, embrace it.

As the wonderful Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh says – treat your fear, your anger, your grief….your pain, like a mother treats her child. Embrace it, hold it in the loving attention of your awareness.

As you embrace your pain, as you engulf it in a loving, open awareness, in a welcoming presence, it will slowly start to dissipate.

If you find it helpful, you can breathe through it. Use your breath to help hold you conscious attention on the pain and to help you in embracing it. Breathing is magical and the breath can serve both as an anchor for awareness as well as means to help dissolve the pain that you are experiencing. If you choose to have the breath as your aid, remember to breathe correctly – allow your breathing to be slow, quiet and abdominal (diaphragmatic), breathe through your nose and not your mouth.

Alternatively, if you are a more physical person or the feeling manifests itself as a sensation in your body – allow yourself to feel it fully. Do not think about it, just feel it.

The most important thing is to be completely aware (in a welcoming manner) of what you are feeling, whether you are simply aware of it or feeling it fully, the crucial point is embracing your feelings, thoughts and sensations in a welcoming, spacious awareness – giving yourself and your experience the gift of space. (described in even more detail in the linked article)

Keep at it until the pain is gone, or at least until it has been greatly reduced. Embrace whatever comes up. Welcome any and all thoughts, pictures, emotions and sensations. Love whatever comes up.

At this point you can also simply decide to let the pain go. You may be surprised, but ultimately holding on to your pain is simply an internal decision that is there by habit. Thus you can choose to make the opposite decision and simply let it go, like dropping an unneeded heavy item from your hand.

You can also ask yourself a simple question to help facilitate the release – “Could I allow myself to let this feeling go?”, you can follow it up with “Would I? and “When?” – these questions will help you identify your resistance to the act of letting go. By noticing your response to these questions (which may in the beginning or in some cases be negative “No”, “I can’t”, “Later”….) and choosing a positive affirmative answer (in order “Yes”, “Yes”, “Now”) you will be able to let whatever you are holding on to, go.

It is in this moment, when the current pain is greatly reduced or perhaps even gone,  that you need to look deeper and find the cause for the pain that has surfaced and is perhaps to a degree still present. You cannot hold the crying child that is your pain in your arms forever and even if you have temporarily calmed it down, you cannot truly help it if you do not know what the cause of its distress is.

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Portals to Insight, Knowledge, Understanding and the Dissolving of Confusion

The letting go of the seeking for answers, for understanding, as well as admitting that you do not know the answer to the questions that appear in your mind can be one of the most liberating things there is – as well as a true portal to deep insight.

DROPPING THE SEEKING OF UNDERSTANDING AS THE PORTAL TO INSIGHT AND UNDERSTANDING

It is so often that we obsess about certain questions, whether it is about us, about our past or quite frequently about our future (“What will happen tomorrow?”), about what others think (“How does that person see me?”, “Does he/she love me?”), or perhaps deep philosophical and/or metaphysical questions about reality.

I know that in my life this is a common occurrence. I get obsessed about various questions, very often philosophical in their nature, that will often drive me to the edge of insanity.

One of the main keys to resolving such issues is to simply ask yourself an iteration of this simple question, that can work as a facilitator for a release:
“Could I let of wanting to figure this out?” “Could I let go of wanting to know the answer?”

Look within and see whether you can let go of the desire to know, to understand. See the resistance within you and ultimately choose to simply let go. Letting go is simply a choice and by answering yes to the above question, that is the exact choice you are making.

Why would you want to let go of the desire to understand? Simply because the very want, the desire to understand the question is the very thing that is one of the greatest impediments between you and the answer.

By letting go of wanting to know, you move into the realm of knowing. You move into peace and the realm of stillness, where no questions arise. From this place it is far more likely that you will find an answer to your question, either through your own internal intuition or by intuitively knowing where to look for the answer (perhaps in a book, perhaps by asking someone that might have the answer…). Though it is not guaranteed that you will always receive a total and complete answer and be given omniscient clarity on the subject of your confusion, it is still far more likely for this to happen after you drop the desire, the burning want to know, then if you keep holding on to it.

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Redefining Achievements – Is There Really Anything to Achieve?

Achievements. Our society is absolutely obsessed by them. Achievements mean success and success means you are worth something, you’ve done something useful, you’ve contributed to society (or at least, to your own ego), you’ve finally “made it”.

The context I’m going to be talking about achievements in is the one where you are constantly striving to enhance yourself, your self-image, your self-worth, through some kind of accomplishment that you deem makes you better, greater and more important, as well as (and perhaps especially) happier and more fulfilled.

Achievements are our society’s way of dangling a carrot in front of your face in order to make you endlessly run towards it, never catching it. The carrot is always just out of reach. Even when you accomplish something the victory seems to be only temporary as the next thing that’s missing is always presented to you again by the world and ultimately your own mind, keeping you eternally stuck in the chase. 

Freedom, happiness, fulfillment thus always remain out of reach.

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Deciding, Choosing and Creating with Awareness

In life we all have choices, decisions that need to be made, paths that need to be chosen. How are you choosing your path? Are you aware of what is happening or are you letting your own unconscious conditioning, your autopilot responses take you for a ride?

The key here is awareness. You see, most people aren’t really aware of themselves, their thoughts, their emotions, even their body. They live life on autopilot and they make the majority of their decisions unconsciously. They let their conditioning, their habits, create their life and future for them.

Your choices, your decisions come from you. Who you are, how you feel and most importantly what you desire will determine how you react to life and ultimately what path you will take forward. Whether you will go left or right in the next intersection, whether you will get angry or react peacefully to the next provocation.

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