WEIGHING WORDS

When it comes to writing for my blog, I sometimes feel stymied – thinking about the subject that is my interest, well, everything that can (or should) be said, seems to have been.

Meditation is my interest, passion more likely.  And, often, I see that treated as the latest hip, slick and cool thing to do, or to claim one is involved in.  There are all kinds of challenges, retreats, spas, etc., all having the latest take on meditation and very, very expensive -guessing here that this would be the benchmark for how valuable it is – not to me.

Nothing wrong with making a living, but it does seem, to me, these days that every idea, every word that comes out of anyone’s mouth is fodder for a new enterprise.  The first consideration – how much can we charge, how much would people tolerate paying?  How and to whom do we market?  It sickens me.  I see meditation often marketed as an opportunity for greater prosperity – do this, this way and you’ll be a millionaire in a month.  Oh, please.

What about, learn to think, learn to think for yourself what your own thoughts truly are and feel better.  What if learning to think and know your own thoughts allowed you to be more at ease in yourself and in your relationships.  What if you had more of you, a deeper, more centered you in all areas of your life.  That’s the meditation I’m talking about.  I have no concern or intention to turn anyone into a millionaire. Billionaire is the target now, isn’t it?

It’s a simple process, a simple truth – doesn’t require a commitment to a lifelong guru, surrendering your will or identity to another person, which I AM NOT a fan of AT ALL.  For me, meditation was the open door.  It was my way to living a full, open life.  I had great difficulty coping with, let alone trying to conquer, chronic pain.  I didn’t want the current western medical model:  antidepressants, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety drugs, etc.  I wanted a clear, strong, creative mind.  I didn’t want to watch $$ flying out the window pursuing every silly, snake oil idea out there.

I found meditation.  Practiced, studied, practiced, took classes online, went to classes, studied some more, practiced, read every book I could find and got results.  My results were surprising to me, initially.  The first, I realized I was experiencing moments of inner peace – I hadn’t had that before.  And, then stringing together, more and more spaces of time spent in true happiness – regardless of my current environment or situation.  I just felt enough, equal to the challenge, whatever it might be.  I lost my worry.  I became better at planning, but lost my worry.  I’m not looking for him, either. . .

Anxiety was the next to lose it’s grip.  Oh there still may be triggers, but they don’t get a hold anymore.  They are recognized for what they are, and seem to fade out.  How does that help chronic pain?  Well, my pain did not go away.  But, I have more energy and more ability to manage the pain.  It is there, I’m aware of it, I don’t deny it, but it’s just there period, that’s all.  It is a reality, just like having blue eyes – but you don’t spend all day thinking about your eyes.  I have more success planning and using my energy to its best effort.

I see so much potential for meditation – of course, there have been many cultures who have known this for thousands of years.  I want to see schools able to offer meditation – it’s good for any person, and I think would be excellent for the bullying problem – bullies and the bullied, alike.  I’m not teaching a system, a religion, or even a philosophy – My goal is to teach others what I have learned:  Your mind is your own, and the thoughts you hold are there because YOU thought them, and decided to keep them and make them your subject – it is that simple.  Learn to know your own mind.  Learn who you want to be.  Learn why you allow some thoughts to continue and whether that is useful to you, or not.  Learn that you can change at any moment, and then change again.

So, let’s weigh our words.  Let’s look at the profit in our words as the ‘prophet’ in our words first.  Weigh them in your mind, are they useful?  Are they helpful?  What feeling do they promote?  It’s up to you.  Thanks so much for reading.  Lilie

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ALL THE STITCHES LINE UP

Again, thank you to those folks who hang in there with me.  The heat has definitely affected me this year, I bet many of you can say the same.  I have to blog when I can and take time out from the blogosphere to regain momentum.

While resting this time, I worked on a shawl that I had been knitting.  I came to a place where the stitches were no longer correct.  I worked the pattern, over and over.  Then, I remembered that definition of insanity:  You know, the “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result”,  well, that was me.  But, sometimes we do need to review.  We need to go over the steps, see where the pattern is.  Finally, I had to disregard the pattern and just look at what the stitches were intended to accomplish.  I followed that, built my own pattern and it came out correctly, voila shawl done!

We have to follow a path, review, pay close attention to where the patterns are, and what we expect to find in them.  In this instance, I wanted a shawl that had a certain type of stitching.   I got that, but I had to re-think, reorganize and examine.  I decided what was important about the project and how best to arrive at the desired result.  I had to stop trusting the written instructions and work on experience and intuition.

I think living with chronic pain is like that, as well.  We need wise counsel, information and education to form a plan.  And, we need to learn when to make adjustments, what to keep and what to discard.  It’s a process, doesn’t stay the same for long.  It’s been an ongoing lesson in learning how to trust myself.  Learning how to trust myself – even when I’m wrong.  Yes, even when I’m wrong – that I will see I’ve been wrong; be willing to admit I’m wrong (regardless of ego-attachment involved), and that I will regain a path toward positive result.  It’s easy to trust ourselves when the instructions are clear and correct.  It isn’t as easy, when the instructions don’t give the result expected and we must find our own way through.  Trusting ourselves in difficulty, that’s the challenge.  That’s the one I’m presenting to you.  What will you do when your plan goes off course?  Fight it,  or find it?  Here’s that choice thing again.  You can trust yourself in uncertainty just as you can when all the stitches line up.  You have to choose to find it.

I hope you’re taking care, staying as cool as you can.  Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

WHAT IS WHAT IS?

“What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.”  Nietzsche said it.  Who has not thought or repeated it?  I have.  Then, when I started thinking about life as it is, I reviewed this expression and whether I wanted to retain it.  I’m doing that with a few expressions, as I find them.  It has served a good purpose.  I think I’m trying to put it away, now.

I was talking with a friend about viruses, particularly, getting the flu.  She mentioned that the virus really is designed to kill you, that recovering from it, well, we ought to see the miracle in that.  I agree, in part.   But, I think a scientist would have a different take.  It’s not out to kill you per se.  It’s out to survive.  A virus is a living thing.  It does what it does to live.  It hasn’t any concept about killing you, it isn’t personal.

We do this with a lot of things.  Set up adversarial relationships.  We are at cross purposes.  But, is that really true?  Is it useful to us?  Maybe, that expression has been.  Probably many people have pulled up out of the dust by that one.  I just want to look at why we have to think things are out to harm, or kill, us?  Is it always true?  Sometimes a person, or other organism, is just doing what it does, and we happen to be the done to in that situation.

Why do we think misfortune, challenges or trials are this ‘adversity’?  It’s the stuff of the day, and you deal with it.  That’s the way I’m trying to see things.  Trying to get inside that equanimity.   I don’t see the limb that fell from our tree and into the road as an adversity.  I see that strong wind broke a branch of a very old tree, and it fell.  Period.   The fires that are currently raging some miles from me, it’s fire.  It does what fire does.  There is destruction, loss of life and sadness from that.  These fires are the result of someone’s careless disregard of the law, and other persons and property.  There should be consequences, natural ones that fall from such an event.   Why can’t we accept our true feelings about such events, rather than demonizing them?  I feel very sad about the destruction of the land, the loss of life and harm to animals, damage of people’s homes and property.  It’s an event that leaves a scar.  I believe we deal more effectively with our lives, and have something effective to pass on, when we just deal honestly with the emotions we feel, rather than projecting some quality on to something.  It’s another layer, not a solution.

So, when you trip over the rug, or fall off the deck (my specialty), the rug and the deck are not out to kill you.  They are not a challenge or an adversity.  They are what is.  The results are what is.  You don’t have to like them; it’s ok to be sad about the consequences – it doesn’t help you to think something is out to get you.

On that note, I’m going to have a cup of coffee and sit on my deck – it looks ‘friendly’ today.  Lol.  Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

EQUANIMITY, WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE UP CLOSE

Two significant events happened, fairly close to each other, when I was a kid.  My brother, on an errand for my dad, went into a Safeway grocery.  A robbery happened to be in progress.  My brother was in his early teens.  He was a little over 6′ tall at that time, and had a cast on his arm from a football injury.  The robbers were professionals, not drug addicts.  And he, and they, kept their cool.   The robbers left the store with money, but did not hurt anyone.  Later, in another robbery, the youngest of the robbers was killed, unnecessarily, by an off-duty policeman, who didn’t keep his cool.   The robber was not much older than my brother, and was with his brothers.  You might say, well, they were committing a crime with a weapon, so. . . .

Not too long after that, my dad was in his store (a pharmacy in the same small shopping mall as the Safeway).  He was at his typewriter, filling prescriptions for the next  day.  A man dropped down from above and  behind him, accompanied by two other men – and a gun.  (They had been hiding in a false ceiling.)  My dad, didn’t say a word.  They told him not to turn around and to empty his cash register and give the man the keys to the refrigerator in the back (the one with narcotics in it).  There was a post office in my dad’s store, and they wanted the keys to that.  My dad told them, he would give them the keys, but by taking the narcotics and going into the post office, they would be committing a felony, did they just want to take the money and go?  No, they wanted the money order plates, his money and the narcotics.  He gave them all they asked for.  They did not harm him.  And, he was not afraid.  The detective who responded with the police was a friend of dad’s.   He commented that dad was not even shook up when he gave his statement.  That was dad, as far as he was concerned, the incident was over.  He was thankful no one was hurt.  End of story.  He wouldn’t have told it at home, if the police and the FBI, had not called our home and asked questions.  Also, the detective’s wife leased an old time (it wasn’t old time then lol) fountain, inside the store, from my dad.  So, she told us the details, while we drank chocolate malts and had cheeseburgers.  We wouldn’t have heard about it, not all the good stuff, if not for her.   Then, one of these robbers was killed in another robbery; the others were captured and a trial was set in another state.  My dad would have to go, as a witness.

In the first incident, my dad was certainly glad my brother was unharmed, and proud of him that he kept his emotions in check – which protected my brother’s life and the others in the store, as well.   And, he was very sad the young man was killed.  He remarked that it was important what decisions you made with your life.  Think carefully who you want to be.  Make plans to be that.  Don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of those plans.  Don’t limit your opportunities, nor your potential.  How sad for a young life, he said –  that this was bound to hurt many people.  He said you weren’t  alone in this life, no matter what you thought, and the things you did affected others.  Use care in your thinking, and behavior.  Think of yourself, do right by you, and you will do right by others. Regard your own life, and you will see the importance of others’.

In the second incident, same thing.  My dad was sad that another young man had lost his life in such a senseless way.  I noticed that in both instances, he had no anger, no outrage, no sense of being a victim, it was just something that happened.  And, he did not brag about the events, nor repeat them to anyone outside of family.  He didn’t tell us we couldn’t tell anyone, but he didn’t encourage us to talk about it outside of our home, either. We were free to ask him questions, but not encouraged to discuss this for attention.   He was sad that a life had been lost.  That a person had been lost, long before the shooting incident.  Again, we were told, regard your life.

I loved him for his compassion, for the ‘long view’ he had about these situations.  No sense of entitlement to revenge.  He didn’t want anyone else to be harmed, and he wasn’t glad to see someone have to go to prison for the mistakes of an unconsidered life.   He accepted it was a consequence of choices, but he felt sadness that the culmination of events resulted in this.

Dad was not perfect.  He certainly tried to live what he believed, that impressed me – though he wasn’t out to impress.  My first experience of equanimity, how it feels on the inside.  That was a life goal worth achieving.  Evidently, dad thought so, too.

It isn’t superhuman.  We can turn the volume down a notch.  It seems, lately, that we  (with the help of the media, and others) want to be outraged; want to do violence for violence; want a person to blame; to be held accountable and we can’t seem to move on, or live, if we don’t get that.  Time for some meditation.  I think the whole world needs it.  Live a meditative life.  It begins in the next moment, and the next.  Pretty soon, a bunch of  moments get strung together and you’re doing it more and more.  Living a better life for you, and those around you –  that ‘ripple’ thing, you know?   Then, another person wants to do that, too; wants that considered life.  How about it?

As always, peace be with you.  Thanks so much for stopping by.  Lilie

TALKIN’ ABOUT IT

I try to make my posts as concise as I can, and not to harp on a point – I do my best about that.

I appreciate that the ‘Hypocrites’ subject generated so much interest, and private emails.    So, I want to revisit that a bit, if you will indulge me.

It is my intention to always point toward myself – not others; to share what I have learned that has been helpful to me in changing my thinking and my habits.  And, to reveal that I know I’m always in need of working on myself, and of change.  That said, the ‘Hypocrites’ article was about ourselves, examining our reasons, our beliefs.  I did mention my definition of a hypocrite.  Once I recognize that in a person, I just move on, blessing them and that’s it. I get back to the business of minding my business, that’s a full-time job.

If we look to others as our reasons for not living fully in us, we are losing something very precious that we won’t get back – time.

It is sometimes difficult to get over injury done to us by another person.  If you feel that you are too tender about your painful thoughts or experiences, make sure someone is with you – ask a friend, visit a counselor and try this practice with them.

I recommend this practice that finally set me free.  It isn’t about forcing yourself to forgive, or condoning the person’s actions.  It is about you.  If you are having hurtful, intrusive memories about past events, please try this – be gentle with yourself – I’m not a psychologist, and you know what you can handle.  But let’s try:  Find a place to be in a comfortable position, where you will remain awake and alert.  Get comfortable in that position.  Breathe.  Just breathe.  Watch your breath.  Only watch your breath.  Don’t categorize it.  Don’t count it.  Just breathe.  Only watch your breath.  As thoughts come, let them walk by.  Don’t attach to them.  Recognize you are  thinking, let them walk by.

Realize you are safe.  Sitting, or in whatever comfortable position, safe, breathing.  Now, count your breath – inhale and exhale count as 1.  Count up to 5.  If you lose your count, your mind drifts – start with 1, again.  Thoughts come.  Give them a name:  ‘thoughts’, that’s all.  Just know ‘thoughts’ have come.  Breathe.  Count your breath.  Watch and feel your breath.  Where does it enter, does your body contract when you exhale?  Breathe.  Count your breath.

If the intrusive, emotional thoughts come, breathe and watch them.  If tears come, let them fall, don’t encourage, just let what is be what it is.  Breathe.  As intrusive, emotional and painful thoughts come, name them:  “painful”.  Say to yourself, “these are painful thoughts”.  Breathe.  Breathe fully and slowly, through your nose.  Breathe.  Look at those thoughts.  Examine them.  If there are painful actions toward you in those thoughts, realize they were not about you.  Other people, whether they are relatives, parents, friends – they have wounds, history, personality characteristics and they act from those, just like you act from what came before in your life, what is happening  now, and what you hold inside.   Some people change through their life, some do not.  Breathe.  This is the way this person acted.  This is who that person was.   Breathe.  You can’t be responsible for someone else’s actions, toward you, toward themselves, toward others.   Breathe.  You can, at any moment, decide how you will carry memories in your life, what memories you will carry.  Breathe.  Breathe the memories you would love to carry.  Breathe a pleasant memory for a moment. Each time the intrusive thoughts come, realize you have examined them, you have given them their name.  They do not presently exist.  They are only thoughts, and they are passing, impermanent.  You are now.  You are breathing.  Begin to trust who you are now.  Know that you have learned and can decide now with whom you will have relationships.  You can trust yourself to find healthy relationships.  Breathe that.   Breathe and begin to come back into your circumstances.

Throughout the day, if thoughts of others’ behavior toward you nags at you, take a moment, breathe and say to yourself inside your mind:  I have seen you.  I have examined and named you.  Breathe.  Only a thought, passing away, let it go.  You may have to do this for some time.  You may find that the thoughts are gone, and something triggers them.  Doesn’t mean what you are doing isn’t working.  It means you have a mind that lays down memories like wearing a track, exactly like that.  The more you practice ‘forgetting’ , the stronger that will become.  Pretty soon, you may have the memory, it won’t have the emotional charge   – it will just be a truth.

The truth behind  this that makes it effective:  YOU are in control of your brain.  Your mind decides what your brain entertains.  That is a scientifically proven truth.  YOU, not your brain, are in charge of what you think; what you allow to remain.   The more you practice being in charge of your thoughts, the more leadership you have over them, and over your own life.  Whatever came before, this is now.  The YOU inside is the one in the driver’s seat.  It’s only a choice away.

So, again, thank you for the discussion inspired.  But, by giving the article the name ‘Hypocrites’, I wasn’t looking to point out anyone’s behavior but our own.

May you have a pleasantly thoughtful day.  Thank you so much for stopping by.  Lilie

SOMETIMES YOU WANT TO SHOUT IT!

We all have a story to tell, and they are worth telling, IF only one person listens, and learns.

I never thought I would tell mine.  I was good at keeping secrets.  But, maybe, just maybe, one person will hear, and it will change the course of his/her life.

I got my life kicked – hard.  And, I fell.  Doesn’t matter how, who or why.  What does matter is why was I available for that?  What in me allowed it; didn’t see it; wasn’t consciously present in my life?  Those were the questions I asked myself.   Those were the questions that saved me.  I didn’t blame myself.  No.  I did examine my character and the course of my life, because I was the person I could change.  I wanted to be the person I knew I was inside.

I created a second chance for myself.  I think everybody deserves a second chance, and maybe they get it on the fourth or fifth try.  My first course of action was to separate myself from those with whom I had associated, and I sought out a very wise and compassionate counselor.  That was my safety zone, from which I plotted my course.  I had many influences throughout my life who practiced mental discipline, and some did this by meditation.  I studied everything I could find; took every course offered by every religion, organization, university,  individual, etc.  But I was no joiner anymore, not to or for anything.  I took religious studies, sociology, psychology, medical studies,  and so on, building and learning what most people come into life with naturally, through their families.  I have to say here, my dad was a great source of wisdom, but it was just not available to me then, didn’t mean I couldn’t find it now.

I stepped out of the cocoon and tried new things, slowly but surely.  Got myself a yoga teacher’s certificate, meditation certificates, pain management certificates, and so on.  I began to take writing courses, and turned to writing poetry, a love from childhood, and now I took myself seriously.  I began attending writing groups.  And, I published two books of poetry.  I didn’t look back.  I just kept going.  I had begun to have medical issues.   I had to accept the loss of my working life, and tried to ‘work’ and contribute in other ways.  Again, I didn’t look back.  When the stories played in my head, I acknowledged them honestly but did not entertain them, didn’t ruminate on them.  I realized I was in control of my thought life, all the time.  With practice, that became stronger and stronger.

I felt like Ghandi’s famous quote, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”  And yet, I had begun to have friends who were Christian, I mean that in the sense of acting like Jesus, really acting like Jesus.  So, I am watching and waiting.  Don’t know that I will ever join any group again.  Still feel like I need to know where the exit is.  I don’t like ‘group think’.  I try not to lump people together with groups, see them as they truly are in their own lives, but when it’s ‘group think’ or ‘group speak’, I keep my distance.

The most important lesson I learned;  You must regard you.  You must think well of you.  You must have a plan for your life, and believe in it.  You must hold it dear, and not give up on it for other persons.  It is one thing to help someone else, and I strongly believe in that.  But, DO NOT GIVE UP your goals, your life, your plans for another.  It won’t help them, and it most certainly will not result in anything positive for you.  And, YOU is what you have.   The least selfish, most giving people I know, regard themselves; have strong self-respect, and are accomplished in their life goals, and continue to have and set goals for themselves.  You can’t be free to extend anything until you know  yourself.

Whatever situation you are in, it is not hopeless.  You are still there, still present inside – listen to that.  Become present, awake, aware, conscious in your life.  Reach out.  Take one step at a time, but take a step.   I did it, and I got to take someone with me.  Someone who turned out to be a most incredible person, and love.  He just made that same decision:  To find, and be his true self.  I did hurt people I loved, and I can’t change my indecisions and weakness of the past, but who I am now is what counts.  I stand up for my mistakes, and take the consequences.  I repair where I can.  You are worth it, too, come on – it’s your chance, now!

With love and regard to you.  Lilie   – Thank you for stopping by.