Thursday, May 31, 2012

Negative People

I often read comments about not being around negative people and surround yourself only with positive people, etc. I always wonder about that. There are people I don't care to spend time with, positive or negative, but it doesn't seem to be about that.

The Beauty is in the Contrast
Sometimes the most positive sounding people just don't strike me as being authentic, they seem to be trying to be positive to cover up what's really going on. It doesn't work though because the truth just somehow comes out of their pores as some kind of scent that you can't miss, and it isn't attractive. It can also be tiresome to be around people who are negative about everything and seem to wallow in that but then I don't see how that makes them bad, it's really just another way to be in life. I actually feel some sadness and compassion when I encounter this because I can't imagine what it would be like to live in that body.

Then there's most of us who are just doing our best and sometimes we feel happy and sometimes we feel sad and sometimes we're scared and sometimes we're excited and sometimes we're not. Life as it manifests is both positive and negative and the more we roll with that the easier it seems to be. Trying to create positivity when it simply isn't where you are in the moment is really a form of resistance so it simply doesn't work in the long run (or the short run for that matter). When we can make peace with where we are in the moment we are not caught up in making ourselves or anyone else wrong. What is, is. And this too shall pass.

I imagine some of you may be thinking that I'm missing the point and I may well be. I'm not saying that constant negative thinking is the way to go or that it's pleasant to be around. Here's another thought though on being around negative people; if they bring up discomfort in you then perhaps there's something in you that is calling for your attention, something you may have rejected about yourself that cannot truly be avoided because it keeps showing up in the people around you. Again this may well be a call to make peace with something you have not been able to accept in your life. Who knows how you will respond to 'negative' people once you make peace with yourself. Far as I can tell discomfort is usually just another opportunity to bring compassion and understanding to inner being and to wherever there is a call for it. 

When all is said and done however, why not spend time where you want to spend time and with whom you want to spend time? Whose voice is saying you 'should' do anything else? Is it the truth?


Sunday, May 27, 2012


I'm absolutely loving the look and feel of our spring weather these days. We had a couple of days of steady rain at the beginning of last week which was fabulous, I could almost feel the earth drinking in the fresh water. This weekend has been incredibly beautiful to me as I simply appreciate the sun dappled scene in my back yard and at the sporting clays field where we were yesterday and on our walks through the wooded areas around our home. The contrasts are stunning and I can feel my heart opening to the wonder of it all.

That's also the way I feel about the contrasts in life that are experienced in the inner world. The sad moments are just a beautiful as the joyful ones in their own way and when fear arises it also provides for the contrast that opens out into a renewed sense of wonder and appreciation. When I miss my targets in sporting clays, it just increases the joy of hitting them when that is what happens. It's all a mystical dance filled with variation and motion and stillness.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Gratitude in The Midst of Life

I've been particularly aware of a deep sense of gratitude and flow the past few days even though I've walked with people through some very dark places. I find this is so often the case; meeting people where they are in their pain or in their joy is where life flows.

I've also been spending some time pondering what the Buddha said so long ago 'Life is suffering'. I really rejected that idea for a long time, wanting it to be different, thinking it was all about choosing something else or once we did enough 'work' it would no longer be true but I've changed my mind about that. There is an incredible amount of pain in the world and that is as it is. I remember well many years ago when a friend reminded us that to suffer meant to allow; not how we tend to define it is it? I don't know how the Buddha meant it but my sense is that there are elements of both ways of seeing suffering at play; on one hand there is much pain and on the other hand allowing it is really the only thing left after we've tried everything in our little bag of tricks to deny it or distract ourselves from it or fix it.

GratitudeThat is really where the gratitude comes in. For some inexplicable reason when I am present to and simply allow the pain and suffering in myself and in others what is left is a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for no good reason. I love feeling appreciation for no good reason, I suspect that is the truest expression of appreciation; not the stuff that's dependent on things being a certain way.

Life is what it is, suffering and all. The more we accept that, the freer we are to be in the moment with what is instead of hoping it will be different someday or projecting some memory or belief about how it should be. Life is for living; it seems to have its own agenda and everything is part of it no matter what my opinion may be. Whew! That's a load off the old shoulders.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chaos Dreams

This morning I woke up with the strong memory of a chaos dream. I have those once in a while and as disturbing as they can be at times, I also find them to be good omens. I interpret them to mean I am outside my comfort zone so my mind is trying to work things out for me and it isn't really succeeding. That's good news because I don't really want to resolve the chaos in the ways that are familiar anymore.

So when I awoke with this chaotic, out of control energy playing out, I stopped and tuned into what it was trying to resolve. Then I took some time to be fully present to what was going on under the surface, beyond the mind's efforts to resolve the discomfort and was once again aware of the sweet innocence behind it all.

The sense of being out of control can be pretty uncomfortable but it is necessary if there is going to be any kind of liberation from the illusion that I am in control, thus limiting the wonder of living with what is. Easy to say the words but not so easy when confronted with the reality that I am not really in control of much of anything in real life situations. When I move through the layers of protection and the false belief that life is somehow controllable however, I find myself in the great unknown, the place where I simply don't know what is really happening, nor do I know what to do because all the ideas that my mind comes up with are really just old programming about how to feel more in control again. Beyond mind however there is that sweet space of wonder and possibility and peace where there is nothing to control, only life and its infinite possibility, and there I rest.

In the end, when the veil of illusion about the way it is supposed to be drops away, what is left is ineffably perfect and wonderful and all I can do is be grateful.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Movement and Rest

Remembering that life is about change seems to allow much more flow and ease no matter what shows up. I officiate at a fair number of memorials, funerals and celebrations of life and this is the theme that keeps popping up in those and many other circumstances in life.

I look out my home office window and am privy to daily change as the Mayday tree goes through its annual cycles. A few weeks ago, April 5th, I had taken a picture where it was laden with snow. Today I took a picture from outside to show the amazing blossoms but the lighting is not very good. You can still get an idea however of the contrast in these pictures. 

April 5th
May 19th

Such is life, full of contrast and beauty that shows up in an amazing array of various forms and expressions.  The tree does not protest the changes, it simply expresses what is there in every moment. I feel a deep sense of peace and serenity when I do the same, just let myself be where I am in the moment. Sometimes there is a lot of movement and energy, other times not so much. In the end the universe, including the way it is expressing in this body, is all motion and rest. Falling deep into that is being at peace.


Thursday, May 17, 2012


I had an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday who said she was working on boundary issues. This is not a new topic by any stretch and there are many of us who have struggled with boundaries all our lives.

The topic usually comes up around lack of boundaries; in other words the places where we have not stood up for ourselves, where we tend to go along with others not because we want to but because we are afraid not to. You can tell you've hit a boundary issue when you start having thoughts like 'What about me?' 'What I want doesn't matter' 'There's no room for me', etc, etc. Resentment tends to show up  in these places and if left unattended relationships eventually break down or are lived out in a state of misery.

Many of us didn't really have the luxury of relationships that honored healthy boundaries when we were growing up. The adults in our lives didn't necessarily have them so it was pretty difficult for them to encourage us to be aware of ours. Thus we did whatever we could to create a sense of safety which is where we learned to put up walls or let others do whatever they wanted, depending on how we were interpreting what was going on. These protective measures often showed up as either passive or aggressive behaviors (or passive-aggressive of course).

 Unfortunately, for the most part when people talk about creating boundaries as adults they are actually in the process of creating more barriers and walls. These are just the other side of the coin of where you let yourself be walked on, neither is really a boundary; they are reactions and strategies developed in our attempts to deal with fearful situations. If I believe I need to create a boundary or a wall or let myself be walked on, I'm still not dealing with the real issue; what is behind the fear, how am I interpreting what is happening and is that true?

We don't create boundaries, we become aware of them. Usually when we are trying to artificially create boundaries we are talking about setting up rules (barriers) to keep us safe. Boundaries are natural, like where the ocean meets the shore or the river meets the bank. There's a natural ebb and flow to boundaries where we do not lose sight of who we are as we move within relationships with a natural give and take; whereas there is really nothing natural when we need to create rules and laws that we are then bound by.

In order to become aware of where our boundaries are we need to have a very intimate relationship with our inner being so that we can deal truthfully and compassionately with the fears that show up rather than interpreting them in ways that are self-limiting and in the long run isolating. It is only then that we can spontaneously respond to what is happening without having to 'protect' ourselves. Being authentically in the moment allows for the natural boundaries to be honored and for connections to be made. Life really doesn't have to be all that complicated.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Acceptance and Compassion

It's interesting to me to observe how the lack of acceptance of self or situations or others (or all of the above) also leads to a lack of compassion. Not really a big leap when you consider that if we aren't in acceptance then we are in some form of resistance such as denial, rejection, defensiveness, aggressiveness, fear and/or projection. When in resistance mode the objective is generally self-protection so there isn't much room left for the desire to relieve suffering in self or other.

The belief that there is danger in some form or other is behind almost all non-acceptance. This has gone so deep underground that most people do not even begin to question whether it is in fact true or not, we just react. Most of the time we are oblivious to the fact that we are afraid; we've become so adept at masking it and coping instead of facing it. When I say facing it, I mean being truly present to the fear and seeing what the beliefs and assumptions are that fuel the fear. We are rarely in real danger as adults unless there is someone or something about to take our lives. Acknowledging that those are times of true threat, there remains a massive preponderance of situations where we react with some form of self-protective behavior even though there is no true threat, just a story we've told ourselves about not being safe.

Truth is, there is no real 'safety' in the world; the whole concept is false in the first place so that isn't where we'll find it. So often I've seen people attempt to move beyond their comfort zones by trying to act as though they aren't afraid only to be thrown back in because they were still looking for something or someone to be different 'out there' in order to confirm that they were safe (or perhaps to confirm that they weren't). Doing the inner work of true acceptance doesn't mean anything will change in the world, it means that we accept what is and make peace with that, thus freeing up energy and creativity for a new experience of life. It doesn't happen the other way around, at least not as far as I can tell.

compassion Pictures, Images and PhotosBecoming aware of the stories we have bought hook, line and sinker about how we have to be or how the world needs to be in order to be OK is a big step forward in making the shift from resistance to compassion. When we no longer expect things to be different is when the space is created for that shift to happen; that's the paradox. When we are no longer seeking we find that what we have been chasing was here all the time.


Friday, May 11, 2012

How Do You Relate With Your Inner World?

In all the coaching work I do whether one on one or in groups, I find that the way people relate to their inner world is rarely even on their radar, let alone what I would call healthy.

We have been so deeply hypnotized by the projections on the screen of the 'outer' world that we forget that is exactly what they are, projections and the originator of those projections is within. So there really isn't much point in trying to make changes on the screen; that's a lot of hard work and is inevitably ineffective in the long run. We can take away one set of characters and/or scenes and think we've actually changed something but the projections coming through the lens of the inner world invariable come along and obliterate any real changes bringing us right back to the same old experiences. Why? Because the picture that we struggle with is on the lens, not on the screen. The lens is what I would call the layer of beliefs, memories and assumptions through which we view life, it isn't what's real either, that's beyond the lens, but the lens needs to be cleaned at least somewhat in order to be able to see what film is actually playing so we can really enjoy the movie. The way I figure it, the source of the movie is Essence and it's playing all the time. It's actually a beautiful moving tableau of Life filled with colour and adventure and possibility. When the lens is clear, the beauty shines through; when it is caked with old pieces of film and fluff that we're still hanging on to, whether consciously or unconsciously, it becomes more and more distorted with time as it gets dimmer and dimmer and the essence of the movie is lost.

That's why we need to learn to relate to our inner world in a totally different way than most of us have been taught or decided. When our relationship with our beliefs and feelings becomes more compassionate and understanding we can see that even though it is filled with distortion there are no bad guys here, only innocence trying to survive. Then those layers begin to dissolve and even though they may come up again and again, they become less and less distorted and dark and scary because we can see right through them to what's Real and Beautiful and True. Mmmm, delicious.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Ride

The conversation yesterday at the first Integrating Spirituality Gathering was mostly introductory and we talked about the human condition, how we got to be here and what it means to dismantle the illusion. One comment was how defining the illusion as the thoughts we have about ourselves, life, the world was helpful in itself. We talk about illusion all the time but I forget at times that the meaning we give things isn't always the same as how someone else is defining it.

It's easy for me to forget that understanding what the illusion is tends to be illusive. When you work with things every day there tend to be short cuts in the language so I love working with new people who require definition of what I'm talking about, it always helps me get clearer.

I am aware that there are others who see the world itself as an illusion and the only thing that is real is 'me'. Of course the concept of me would need to be clarified as it may have any number of meanings as well but too often when we use a word like me there is a tendency for the self-identity (ego) to appropriate the concept thus short circuiting the reality once again.

One perspective, which I resonate with, is that there is no 'me' in terms of a separate entity; that is part of the illusory world because it is made up of beliefs, concepts and assumptions that are really thoughts about a self rather than Self which is what I would call Life, the Allness of Beingness which is beyond definition. What I think about anything is what forms the illusionary world; being with what is, beyond thought or evaluation, is what I would consider real.

May seem to be a subtle difference but it is not; the difference is like night and day. The world and everything in it is fine without commentary or evaluation; unhappiness, resistance and pain tend to be connected to what we think about what is.

Now, does that mean we should never think about stuff or evaluate or choose? No, it simply means that what we think, evaluate and choose can be either arbitrary, as when we are unconscious about it, or they can be recognized as subjective and limited and not about anything other than a personal perspective. When we know this we can see beyond the meaning we give so that we can release it when it is not serving or we can enjoy the meaning we've given knowing that it's just one way to play in this amazing and wonder-filled universe we are experiencing. No need to worry or fight or resist when we know there an infinite variety of experiences available and being experienced at any given moment. If we don't care for what we are experiencing anymore then perhaps it means there is something new ready to be brought forth into our life expression. When we accept what is exactly as it is rather than complaining or 'shoulding' or resisting there's a lot more energy available to allow what is now possible to manifest in our world.

Life is a roller coaster, why not through up our hands and get the most out of the ride?


PS I just got a flash of Bill Hicks' piece on Life is a Ride so I thought I'd include the YouTube link here as well.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Musings on Levels of Consciousness

I've been pondering David Hawkins' scale of consciousness this morning. It is a scale he and his group developed to map levels of consciousness using muscle testing. It's interesting stuff in many ways and it is also easy to get caught up in making one level better than another even though he very clearly reminds people often that it is not meant to be a tool for judging ourselves or others, but rather a means of understanding the evolution of and levels through which consciousness manifests.

Anyway, as I woke up this morning the image of the scale was in my thoughts for some unknown reason as this kind of fan like image where there was a single point that radiated out, something like this crude image. The thought that accompanied it was that the point was an event, any event, and the radiating lines were the many ways this same event could be experienced based on the level of consciousness a person found themselves in at that time.

I often think about the way life unfolds and whether or not we really do have any real choice as to what happens. Personally, I doubt it, Life seems to be doing what Life does in and through us and all of creation; we're basically points of expression and experience. Creativity seems to be happening at a level that is far beyond the personality where it is being experienced. The scale of consciousness seems to be part of the way we evolve and every level is being experienced somewhere by someone or something all the time. So the way I experience an event is not at all the same as the way someone else would experience it; neither is right or wrong, the perceptions are simply different.

color prismUsing the term levels of consciousness seems to imply a hierarchy because that is the way we tend to think; but what if it isn't so much a hierarchy of consciousness but rather like a prism where light is being refracted into its many colours?  Is red better than green or just different? What if in any given moment we are simply reflecting different colours of consciousness? What would there be to judge then? Perhaps shifts in consciousness happen when we've been reflecting yellow for instance but are now attracted to the colour green? Maybe sometimes the colour red is called forth and so we experience Life in yet another way?

It's interesting to me that we are now also seeing more and more of the subtle shades of colour as opposed to simply the primary colours that were available in the human spectrum hundreds or thousands of years ago. The variety of human experience seems to be expanding as we evolve so the nuances inherent in any experience are more available to us as well.

What if Life is really a shimmering dance of the awesome spectrum of colour and light that we get to play in and savour and appreciate? I guess all that's left then is to enjoy the show as it unfolds.