Author Archives: Free Self Help

Is Your Life Situation Is Exactly How You’ve Painted It?

Agreeing with the statement above means that every major part of your life has gone according to plan.  It means that you have the family that you have always desired, your career is right on course, and that you are at peace with your life.  Even if there are still things you desire, you are confident that they are on their way.  There are no major worries in your life.  If this is your situation then you are not pondering your past, nor are you worried about your future, you are centered in the present moment.

If the opposite is true, that is; if you totally disagree with the title, then I challenge you to reflect on why your situation is how it is.  The main problem is that we are always thinking and desiring things unintentionally.  Let me repeat that statement because this is very important: we are always thinking and desiring things unintentionally.  We are like a ship without a crew in a turbulent ocean.  The waves and the wind dictate where we go, because we are tied up against the ship’s mast, wearing a veil on our eyes.  And the worst part is that we have tied and veiled ourselves, no one else is to blame.

Have you ever noticed how your mind rambles on and on and sometimes incessantly?  Why is that?  Our ultimate goal should be to go beyond thinking, beyond the mind (see our Highest Goal article), or at least let’s take control of our thoughts and desires.  We can start by taking the veil from our eyes, and at least noticing where our ship is taking us.  We need to notice our rambling mind.  Pay attention to your mind and your thoughts.  What do you think about and when?  Sometimes we will be having a perfect day, however, the sneaky thoughts creep their way to front and center, thinking about doubts and how everything can come crashing down any moment.  Other times these thoughts are triggered by listening to others and their thoughts.  Just like in the “wallowing” article, we attract and are attracted to others who share our thinking, especially negative thinking.  So start noticing your thoughts, pay attention to them, don’t be unconscious letting the thoughts go on an on.  Write them down if you need to, this will definitely make you notice your thinking.

The next step is to start thinking intentionally about what it is you want.  Before a ship can take off, the captain and the crew must decide where they want to go, or maybe where they need to go, and also how to get there.  In the same way we need to decide where we want to go.  We have to know what we want.  What do you want? It seems like a simple question, and a lot of us might answer that all we want is more money.  However, give this simple step its due amount of time.  Ask yourself what it is you want.  If you are having trouble then start by telling yourself that you want to know what you want.  A very simple statement, “I want to know what it is that I want.”  Say it to yourself as often as you can, but also be very alert!  The clues will start coming to you very quickly.  Another way to find out what you truly want is to break it down into sections or categories.  Decide what you want as far as your family or love life goes; decide on what you want for your career, for your friendships, for your material desires, for your health and any other category you can think of.  If you already know what you want then please think about what you want as much as you can, without disrupting your productivity or your relationships.  Start taking control of your ship right now; don’t let the external world dictate how you feel inside.  Decide where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.  Writing down your desires is very important.  It seems when you write things down, you give them more attention.  Attention is the key, or better yet, intentional attention is the key.

After you have written down your desires, it is very important that you read your paragraph, or paragraphs everyday, especially in the morning and at night before you go to sleep.  It is also very, very important that you add this statement or a similar statement to the beginning of your paragraph: “In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, for the benefit of all, I want…”  This is because you want to achieve your goals in a positive way.  For example, I once read a story about a woman that wanted a certain type of vehicle; I think it was the latest model VW Beetle of a specific color.  So she kept thinking about it, and how it would feel to get on it for the first time and drive it, and she visualized herself in it.  And within a short time after she began the exercise she had an automobile accident, and guess what type of vehicle she got into an accident with?  You guessed it, a VW Beetle, and the exact color she was thinking of.  So be careful and think about your desires in a positive way.

Another powerful exercise that you must do is one I first read about in Stephen R. Covey’s (may he rest in peace) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  It’s at the beginning of the “Begin With The End In Mind” chapter.  This will also put your paragraph to the test, it will let you know if things you desire are in line with how you want your life to be.  To do this exercise please make time to be alone, free of distractions, and to especially be free of anticipating something you have to do afterwards.  Try to have a clear mind, and maybe do some physical exercise so that are relaxed.  Have a writing method ready, whether a pen and paper, or your pc.  Imagine now that someone very close to you has passed, and you are now on your way to their funeral.  As you are driving there, you are thinking about their life, about their struggles, and triumphs, about that person’s family and friends.  You arrive at the funeral home and as you make your way to pay your respects, you see all the person’s loved ones.  You see their family and friends. And you see them grieving.  Now imagine that when you arrive to their casket you notice that the person that has died is you.  And all the people there are your loved ones.  There is a program handed out with all the people scheduled to speak at your funeral.  You notice that your husband, wife or, partner (if you don’t a have husband, wife or, partner imagine that you do) are scheduled to speak, as well as your best friend, a community spokesperson (from your school, or church), and also someone from your job is going to speak.  Now imagine what each of them would say about you if you died now.  And also very important, besides thinking about what they would say now, imagine what you would like them to say.  Think about it and start writing.

This exercise really puts in perspective what’s important in your life and what is not.  It is a peek into your true self and what matters to you.  Compare your list to what you wrote down and notice the connections or lack of connections.  And maybe edit your paragraph accordingly.

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Our Hypocrisy

Have you ever caught yourself being hypocritical when trying to succeed? It happens when we want something from someone, such as a favor, however, when they ask us for a favor we show that we don’t want to do it.  When this happens we are transmitting opposite vibes, they cancel each other out, and that’s why it’s hard sometimes to get ahead.  It’s very important that we are always noticing ourselves and looking out for our hypocrisy.

You’ve heard the saying, “What goes around, comes around.”  Obviously it means that whatever you do to others will eventually be done to you.  However, there’s a very negative connotation associated with it.  We usually hear it when someone does something bad to someone else.  Why is this the case?  This makes us miss a gigantic opportunity, because we can all use this great power to our advantage.  If we do something bad to someone else, then eventually something bad will be done back to us, but what if we do something good for someone else?  Following the logic, obviously, something good will come back to us.  And it always does.  But it’s important we not worry about keeping tabs on what we’ve done for others, we have to let that take care of itself.

Whenever you are in need of something, give something.  Preferably you can give some of the exact same thing that you are needing.  If you are in need of money, give money.  But make sure you give completely, don’t have any negative emotions when giving, give with no strings attached.  Give keeping in mind that life is the perfect accountant; it keeps perfect tabs on everything we do.

How do we react when someone asks us for money on the street? A lot of us make up excuses such as, “I don’t have any cash on me right now.”  Some of us will pull out a few coins and give that, and some of us will actually give away a bill or two.  How do we feel when we don’t get what we are asking for?  For example, if we are in sales, how do we feel when we try to close a good deal with a client and they say no?  We’re basically asking them for money too.  We are being hypocrites when we refuse to give something to the homeless person, and get mad when we don’t get the sales.  I can hear some of you say, “The situations are very different, the homeless person is trying to get something for nothing, but the sale is a good or service in exchange for money.”  Although that may be true, when we break it down, it’s about giving and receiving.  We shouldn’t concern ourselves with the deal; our concern should be on always putting out the right vibe, the right mindset, the right attitude.

The giving away of something you’re in need of is powerful, but not necessary.  If you need money, but don’t have even a penny to give away, it’s ok, give away something else.  We always have something to give.  When someone is asking you for something you don’t have, don’t let them go without giving them something.  You can give them advice, or if you have no clue about what advice to give, then tell them you’ll pray for them to succeed.  You can also give them a good “vibe”, smile, and hold your hand towards them and say, “I send you a good vibe, and wish you to succeed.”  When you do this, your attitude is that of abundance.  You are saying, “I always have something to give.”  And you really do, even if it’s a simple blessing, it’s something, you are not lacking anything, you have plenty to give.  And since you gave something, if you believe in “What goes around comes around,” then you’ll will get something in return.

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Sticks and Stones AND Words

We’ve all heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  This saying is trying to say that we can only be hurt by sticks and stones, and that no matter what words someone uses against us, we can’t be affected by them.  This is simply not true, words can be as damaging, if not worse, than getting hit with sticks and stones.  The main difference is that it takes longer for words to affect us, compared to getting hit with sticks and stones.  The power of the word is one of the highest powers there can be.

Have you heard of the “self fulfilling prophecy?”  The classic example is when a child is repeatedly told that they’ll never amount to anything in their life, and in the end they end up not amounting to anything, but the results are attributed to the prophecy (an important key in this phenomenon is that the prophecy is repeated several times).  Had the child never been told they wouldn’t amount to anything maybe things would have been different.  This doesn’t mean it always happens this way, but it does point to the effect words can have on us.

Another example is bullying, either kids on kids, or adults on adults.  Bullying can involve physical abuse or verbal abuse.  As we have seen in the news, both types of bullying have damaging effects.  It is clear that the power of the word must be acknowledged.

There is also the unspoken word, our thoughts, the words we use to talk to ourselves.  What does your inner dialogue sound like?  In general, there is always a pattern to our inner dialogue.  The pattern can be generally negative such as, “Dam it, I’m such a looser!”  Or it can be generally positive, “I tried my best, I’ll do better next time.”  It’s very important to know and to notice what our inner dialogue is like.

The power of the word is a double edged sword, but we have a choice.  We can use the power of the word to have a positive impact on our lives and the lives of those around us.  The first step is to notice our words.  I mean this literally, take notes.   Have a notepad with you at all times, or use your phone.  You don’t have to be super detailed and write every thought word for word.  But you do need to capture the general mood of your thoughts.  Try this for a week or so.  Then reflect on your word, what does it look like?  Is it positive, negative, neutral?  Does it reflect your current life situation?  If you don’t like what you see then it’s time to change your dialogue, and the changes are very small and subtle, but they have the greatest impact.  A good example is one time I decided to ride my bike to work.  On my way back I noticed my fellow colleagues getting into their nice cars and driving home, and poor little me was riding his used bike.  My dialogue to myself was, “Dam, I feel like a poor man, trying to save gas by riding my bike instead of driving my car.”  Luckily I noticed it and quickly thought of all the good things coming out of me riding my bike instead of my car and I told myself, “Well, at least I’m getting in shape, I’m saving gas, and contributing to a cleaner environment.”  And voila, I immediately felt a lot better. So as you can see, there are always a lot of different ways of describing one situation, it’s important to first of all notice our way of describing things, and second, know that you have a choice, and of course, choosing a way of using our word that would be of the most benefit.

Use the power of the word for your benefit; use the “self fulfilling prophecy” to your advantage.  Tell yourself what you want, repeat it as much as you can, think about it, imagine it, believe it, and you will surely get what you want.

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Why Do We Wallow?

Why do we wallow in our misfortunes? Have you noticed how a lot of people will wallow in their misfortunes? Why does that happen? For example, a very common misfortune these days is financial trouble.  The typical person has a good job, a mortgage and a family to take care of. Then they loose their job, they’re not making enough money to pay the bills and their mortgage.  They are down to the last dollar and they’re about to loose their house.  You bump in to his person and try to catch up on how they’re doing.  The first thing they’ll do is to start wallowing in their horrible situation, and they want you to wallow with them.  They’ll tell you, “My life is horrible right now, I can’t make the mortgage payments, I’m going into foreclosure, I don’t know when I’m going to find my next job.”  Wallow, wallow, wallow.  I’m sure you would empathize with the person, but I bet if you meet them again in a few weeks it would be the same story.

I can’t say I’m any better than the person in the example, because I’ve done it myself plenty of times.  When I was struggling with my first business it was always the same wallowing whenever anybody would ask me how my business was doing. It’s like I was a broken record, wallow, wallow, wallow-business is bad, people are moving out, I’ll probably have to close down, on and on it went.

I believe life is like a journey you have decided to take. Imagine walking down the path we call life.  You might have to go up steep hills, or through hot deserts, or maybe through lush green forests.  Now imagine that there are big pools along the way. Some of these pools are filled with fresh, crystal clear waters, they’re filled with happiness, joy, fulfillment, love, and all that’s good in life-you can drink those waters and they help you live a good life. Now imagine pools filled with the most horrible substances-sadness, hate, pain and depression.  What would you do if you fell in one of these nasty pools? Obviously you would try to get out as quickly as possible, get to the edge and pull yourself out right?   Then you would want to clean yourself and get rid of all those foul substances that are all over you.  All these bad situations we face in life are just like those nasty pools. We fall into them and instead of trying to get out as quickly as possible and cleaning ourselves we like to wallow in their putrid substances.  When our friends and family pass us by this bad point in our life, we invite them into the nasty pool with us.  It’s as if we pull them in with us and we wash them with the putrid mud that’s in our pool. And then what do some of our friends do? They tell us, “If you think this pool is bad, wait ‘til you see the one I was in.”  And then it’s as if they’re inviting us to go visit them in their pool, we get there and we take a dip in there with them.  Talking about our misfortunes, thinking about them, giving attention to them is the exact same thing as taking a dip in a pool that’s filled with murky, bacteria-infested, water.  If you would take a dip in such pool you would probably get sick, you would get some kind of infection, you would smell really bad when you finally got out, and you could suffer a wealth of other negative effects.  And it would take a lot of washing to get clean again. So why do we keep wallowing away through our lives? One thing is venting with someone and letting out your feelings and emotions, another is wallowing.  You obviously don’t want to bottle up pent up feelings, you do want to let them out.  Going to through this journey we call life we are bound to fall into some of these nasty pools, that’s just how it is. However, even though life is like this, it doesn’t mean we have to remain in the pools for any amount of time, we can get out as quickly as possible.

The next time you fall into one of these pools, decide right away that you will only tell one person about the situation, and that you will tell this one person only so that you can vent and let out your emotions.  Decide that you will not give any more attention to this nasty pool, other than venting about it to only ONE person.  As soon as you fall in there, intend to get out of the pool as soon as possible; intend to move on right away.  Swim to the edge, get out, clean yourself, dry yourself, and appreciate the fact that you had to swim through that pool.  After all, having to go through these nasty pools makes swimming through the clean pools all the more enjoyable.  If all the pools in life were good ones then they would all be normal, they wouldn’t be great since we wouldn’t have bad pools to compare the good ones to.  Let’s stop the wallowing.

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Try Positive Things Osmosis

Did you ever see a Garfield poster that shows a picture of him with books tied to his body, and the caption says, “I’m Learning By Osmosis?”  At first I didn’t know what Osmosis was, I was in elementary school, I had to ask my teacher what it meant.  Afterwards, I did get a chuckle out of it.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could learn that way? Instead of having to spend a lot of time reading a lot of books, you could just tie them around your body and you could absorb all their knowledge.  It would certainly be great, however, it is obviously impossible.  But now as an adult I can see some truth in it.

I believe we are directly influenced by a type of Osmosis.  Everything we think and talk about gets absorbed by our being, and the corresponding situations, people and things show up in our life.  What “books” do you have strapped on your body?  We all have our own “books” strapped to our body, and we carry them around throughout our life, and their corresponding knowledge is being permeated through us.  The problem is that some of us carry around negative “books” or thoughts.  We have that one “book” titled, “What I Should Want And Should Do In Life,” However, this “book” is usually authored by outside forces, it’s usually not authored by us, and in the worst cases we don’t even know who authored the book, we just know it’s there and follow it’s instructions aimlessly.

It is supremely important that we reflect on what thoughts, and emotions we carry around.  Just knowing this is a great success in itself.  This way at least we can have an idea of why we are in our current situations.  What is going into us, through our eyes, through our ears and through our mind?  What do you see on a daily basis?  When you wake up do you see someone you love?  Do you see a healthy breakfast?  When you get to work do you see a great working environment? When you get your paycheck do you like what you see? Do you hear loving words from the people around you?  Do you hear words of appreciation at work?  Do you listen to positive things on the radio, tv, or your computer?  How do you feel on Monday mornings versus on the weekends?  Whatever the answers are, whether good or bad, our situations are a direct consequence of what we think about on a constant basis.  Obviously, what we think about doesn’t materialize immediately, it takes time, and what we see in our lives is what we think about the most.  The nature of this concept is also cyclical, meaning that what we think about the most is what we see the most, and in turn seeing those things makes you think about them even more.  When we don’t notice this cycle is when we usually bury ourselves deeper in our situations.

If your life is going just how you want it then it means that you know exactly what books you are carrying around, and that you have INTENTIONALLY chosen the books you want.  If your life is the opposite, then it’s time for you to reflect.  But reflect inward, don’t look at yourself in the mirror, or record yourself throughout your day.  The external situation, what you see, is not the source of your situation.  Your situation stems from inside of you, from your thoughts, and even deeper than that, your situation stems from the quality of your connection to your true self.  Start taking control, choose your “books” intentionally, don’t let others choose them for you, and especially important is to not let some false part of you do the choosing.  Shed those negative books, they are heavy and corrosive.  Positive books are light and nourishing.

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Why Not Aim For The Highest Goal?

I believe there are two different types of goals.  There are external goals and internal goals.  For example, let’s say you have acne.  You can treat your acne externally with creams and wipes.  Or you can treat your acne internally, either with medication or with your diet.  You can try to solve the problem from the outside in, or from the inside out.  Another good example is trying to be successful in life.  You can try to achieve this goal externally by getting an education, and then a career.  You would be gaining knowledge through your ears listening to teachers, and through your eyes and your mind by reading from books.  Or you could try to achieve success from the inside out, by first becoming successful inside yourself.  And what does that mean exactly? To become successful on the inside?

If someone on the street was doing interviews for some show, and they stopped you and asked you, “Who are you?” How would you answer that question? If someone asked me then I would answer it by stating my name, where I’m from, what I do, what school I went to, and maybe a short version of my life story.   And I’m sure most of us would answer the same way.  However if you were to bump into an enlightened person and asked them that question they would surely respond with a very short answer, “I am.”  Notice that there is only one period after that phrase, meaning that nothing comes after it, there’s nothing to expect after the phrase.

Enlightenment

            What is enlightenment? It is the highest form of consciousness, the highest level of awareness.  It is when you are always focused on the present moment; you never wander into the past or into the future except for practical reasons.  It is when you don’t mind what happens.   It is when you are in direct contact with God.  It is when you find your true self.  Enlightenment is when you realize that you are not merely your body, your mind, and a collection of life experiences and thoughts.  Enlightenment is when you realize that your are much, much more than that.

When you reach this state, and even while trying to reach this state, many positive changes happen in your life very effortlessly.  Think of some bad habits you have and the times you have tried to change them.  It’s been really hard hasn’t it?  For example, everyone (it seems), is trying to loose weight nowadays.  They try really hard, they exercise, they get on diets but nothing seems to work.  Sooner or later they get back into their old habits & are back at square one.  And the suffering they go through is tremendous.  They feel depressed, and unhappy.  They feel guilty about not being able to eat right.  Their self esteem is very low, they also have low self confidence, and it’s very hard to advance in life.  Now imagine that almost suddenly, you start exercising more and eating healthier very effortlessly.  The habits just come to you out of nowhere.  This has happened to me recently.  I had a bad habit that I had dealt with since I was young.  At first I fought against it and I went through all the cycles.  And finally I accepted it and just kept the habit all these years.  But after just trying to reach this ‘Highest of Goals’ I have made tremendous improvement.

I believe attempting to reach this goal is the best way to achieve your other goals.  This idea started spawning inside me since I wrote the article about your ‘Supply Manager’.  This article and the ‘Supply Manager’ article are basically about the same thing.  When you are able to get in contact with the supply manager you can more easily achieve any of your goals.  Getting in touch with that source is complicated by the many shells and layers that are blocking us from reaching it.   This idea can be simplified by comparing it to a pearl and the way a pearl is made.  Pearls occur in the natural world by way of a grain of sand getting inside a mollusk.  The grain of sand irritates the mollusk like a splinter.  To alleviate the irritation, the mollusk starts forming layers of calcium around it & the pearl is formed.  In a way, the grain of sand is our true self, the pearl material is our false self, and the mollusk is our ego, which is the creator of the false self.

The Ego

            In general when we hear the word ego we think of someone showing off something that makes them seem superior to everyone else.  For example when we hear of a lead singer of a group having a big ego it means the singer thinks him or herself superior to the other band members.  And ultimately, that big ego causes the band to break up.  However, here the ego has a different meaning.  The roots of the ego come from any identification with anything.  What does it mean to identify with something?  Identification means to regard something to be the same as you.  For example, if I were to say that I identify myself with being a healthy eater, then what I’m saying is that eating healthy is like me.  Another example would be identifying with something physical.  When I say, “This is my car.”  What I’m saying is that the car is like me, it reflects the person that I am.  Another perfect example is doing a collage type poster with all the things that you are.  I remember doing that in elementary school.  We had to go through magazines and cut out images of things that reflected who we thought we were, or in other words; things we identified with.  So everyone cut out images of certain cars, shoes or clothing, and places we’d like to visit, homes we’d like to one day own.    Then at the end, we would display the collage posters to everyone else, and we all thought we had a good grasp of who we really were.  It’s also good to reflect on not identifying with something, which is still identifying with something else.  For example you say you don’t like the color white, so you’re saying you don’t identify with that color, you’re saying that that color is not like you.  However, by saying you don’t like color A, you’re saying you like color B .  Another example is if you were to say that you hate exercise (not identifying with exercise) then surely you do identify with not exercising.

What do you identify with? We all have our individual life circumstances.  Like I mentioned earlier, if we were asked who we were, we’d all answer that question by mentioning all the things we identify with; our names, our place of birth, relationships, thoughts, opinions, etc.

Symptoms of The Ego

            The ego manifests itself in many different ways; it has many symptoms and characteristics.  Just like the mollusk that starts forming layers around the grain of sand, the ego begins forming layers around our true self from very early on in our lives.  As children, one of the first things we learn is our names.  We keep getting called something and soon we realize that our name is us.  When someone calls our name, they get our attention.  As we get older, we start adding more & more layers to our true self.  We begin to learn about the concept of possession.  We learn what’s ours and what’s not, and when someone takes what’s ours we suffer, and when we want what’s not ours we also suffer.  When we reach our teen years we have an especially hard time because we are still adding layers to our pearl, and we are not finished adding the layers, but we desperately want to add those shiny new layers as soon as possible.  We want to get the layers that the popular kids have so that we can feel connected & accepted by them.  Once we get to adulthood we think we have a good grasp of who we are, and we live out our lives adding layer upon layer upon layer and we keep getting further and further away from our true self, from our source.  In our final days, when we are near death, is when we might finally realize the impermanence of our lives, the impermanence of all those layers we built all those years.  At that point we might realize that our lives were just a piece of clothing we built and wore all that time, and now it’s time to toss it.  However, that grain of sand is not impermanent, it is timeless, it is immovable, it is still, it is silent, it is connected to everything and everything is connected to it, it is the entire universe fit into its very small size.  That description doesn’t do justice when describing our true selves bit it’s a good arrow that point’s in its general direction.

List of Symptoms

            One of the main symptoms indicating that we are possessed by the ego is by far our identification with our mind and everything that surges from the mind.  The ego loves to possess things both physical and non physical, things like cars, houses, clothes or ideas, thoughts, and opinions.  The ego fears loosing its possessions.  The ego likes both pain and pleasure; it doesn’t like the middle ground.  It loves to especially identify with pain, it loves to wallow in it.  The ego loves enemies, it needs something to defend, it needs “bad guys” otherwise it wouldn’t exist.  The ego loves to feel inferior and superior to others.  The ego loves separation, it believes it is separate from everything else, it believes it stands alone.  The ego has an insatiable appetite for things to identify with; it has a void that can never be filled.  The ego loves to identify with the body.  The ego loves the past, both the good times and the bad times.  The ego loves the future, it loves to dwell on what could be, and it thinks it can only be happy in the future.  The ego hates the present moment; it always wants to escape it.  The ego loves time.  The ego doesn’t like to be still, it likes to have the gears of our minds constantly running.  The ego loves opinions and loves to be offended when its opinions are opposed.  The ego loves resistance, it loves to resist what is, it minds what happens.  The ego loves drama.  The ego wants to exist, and everything it does is just for that goal, to exist, to survive, to be.  There are also seemingly positive things that the ego loves to identify with.  For example let’s say you create a foundation that helps hungry children around the world, however, you created the foundation to wear it as a badge, as a sign of who you are.  Surely, that’s a positive thing, to help hungry children, but it’s still an identification with something, that identification impedes you from your true self.  When action comes to you naturally, it is a sign that the action is not ego-based.  For example in Forrest Gump when he just starts running across the country.  Forrest didn’t think, “I need to run across the country so I can be famous & get attention.”  He just ran.  When they asked him why he was running across the nation, they thought maybe he was running for special causes, but he answers that he just felt like running.

 

The Cause of All Suffering

            The ego, of course, is the cause of all our suffering.  Our identification with anything; causes suffering.  A person that identifies strongly with a certain opinion, will surely suffer.  This person will always be ready to counter-attack anyone who opposes their views.  An easy example is politics.  Politicians certainly go through a lot of stress defending their views and attacking opposing views.  Our attachment to our possessions surely causes suffering.  How would we feel if when we came home we saw our house and everything in it burned to the ground?  We would certainly suffer a great amount, we would be under great stress thinking about all those irreplaceable pictures, those important documents, those name brand clothes and appliances.  On a higher level, how do we feel when we loose someone close to us?  Identification with our loved ones is still identification.  The death of a loved one is one of our greatest causes of suffering in life.  And of course, how can one not identify with our loved ones?  They are our fathers, our mothers, our sons, our daughters.  How can one not suffer when loosing a loved one?  It is very important to keep in mind, that not identifying with something important, for example our family, does not mean that we don’t care about them.

The Highest of Goals

            What is the highest of goals?  It is to discover our Source, to discover who & what we truly are, to discover that we have a direct connection to God, to go beyond the ego, to be silent, to be still, to realize that our true self is timeless and our body is like a piece of clothing we decided to wear momentarily, it is to become conscious of the truth.  Again, please be aware that these words are merely signs that point to a general direction, or maybe not even that, maybe just signs that point to other signs.  The reason I mention this is that this highest of goals can not be described with words.  We can only know and experience the truth when we start heading in it’s general direction.

Why aim for the highest of goals? Why not?  If you wanted to become a professional basketball player why not emulate the best player of all time?  Why would you want to emulate a mediocre player?  It’s always the same no matter what goals you want to accomplish.  If you want to make a lot of money then you’ll want to learn about what the richest people in the world are doing to make a lot of money, wouldn’t you?  If you want to make an average amount of money then you can study people that are making the average.

Is this the highest of goals? What if I don’t believe in “God”?  You will not find resistance to your views here.  If you don’t believe this is the highest of goals, then don’t believe it.  But I dare you to start heading in this direction I’m pointing to and see it’s effects on your life.  All you have to do is nothing.

How To Reach The Highest of Goals

            There are many ways to reach this goal, or at least be on the right path and head in the general direction of the highest of goals.  One way is to meditate.  There are many ways to practice meditation.  If you have any specialized skills, such as playing a certain sport, you’ve probably already mediated many times during play.  The goal of meditation is to “get in the zone”, that is when thought is not involved.  That is when you are reacting to the environment instinctively.  I’m sure you’ve seen it in sports when a player breaks records, or seems to be unstoppable.  So if meditation doesn’t attract you to practice it, gain a specialized skill that you can practice on a daily basis, and while your are practicing your skill makes sure & notice if your mind is thinking or not.  A really important point, if you do play a sport, is to not be attached to the outcome.  You shouldn’t care whether you win or loose, the goal is just to play it and to not think.

Do a simple meditation daily.  You can start with 5-10 minutes.  Sit in a comfortable position, in a quiet location, with no interruptions, close your eyes, and most importantly DON’T THINK ABOUT ANYTHING.   It’s very hard to not think about anything.  We have been conditioned to always have our minds running.  Is our mind who we are?  Is our brain who we are?  I’m not sure that, that is all we are.  Isn’t our brain just part of our body?  Are our legs who we really are?  Do our legs use us or do we use our legs?  We are in control of our legs aren’t we?  If we want to walk somewhere, we make the decision, and command our legs to take us to where we want to go.  Why isn’t it the same with our mind?  If we need to solve some problem, we certainly use our mind to do so.  If we want the mind to be still, to be quiet, why is it so hard to silence the mind?  Isn’t our mind a part of our body just like our legs are?  Are we in control of our minds, or are our minds in control of us?  Don’t struggle, or stress out when you can’t control your thinking.  Just do your meditation, let your thoughts come and go and observe your thoughts.  Be especially vigilant at the space between thoughts.  Try this simple exercise now:  think of a gigantic and fluorescent pink elephant and hold that thought for a few seconds                    now think of a tiny red flower in your hand.  Now, try to go back into this little sequence and see if you noticed the space between those two thoughts.  If you didn’t notice any space, then just simply try it again, but this time pay special attention to the gap between the two thoughts.  If that gap in thoughts only lasts a second, then it is a success.  With more and more practice the gaps will get bigger.

You can also try to focus on your breath while meditating.  Notice your inhales and your exhales. Notice your lungs expanding and contracting, and again, pay attention to that tiny gap between the inhale and the exhale.

Yet another way is to feel your body while you’re meditating. You can start with a foot, then your lower leg, then the entire leg, and keep going until you can feel every part of your body simultaneously.  Try to notice your pulse, and feel the life that you have within your body.

If you just can’t seem to meditate then you can try a meditation called Japa meditation, which is a type of chanting mediation.  You say any prayer you may know word by word, very slowly.  You say the first word, then pause,  and then you say the second word.  Then you go back and try to stay in that pause between the two words, and during that time you make an “Aaaww” sound.  Making that sound is supposed to put you in a good vibe, plus it gives you something to do which, in turn, will make it easier to not think.

Another Way

            Another method you can use to be on your way to the highest of goals is to try to always have your attention on the now.  Sounds simple enough, but try it, and you won’t even notice when you left the now.  Your mind will be on some future event you’re looking forward to, or just start thinking about random stuff.  Paying attention to the now means being totally aware of your surroundings, of your body, of all the sounds and smells around you.  Have you ever misplaced anything?  That is a tall tale sign that you were not present in the now, because you didn’t notice where you misplaced the item.  Once, I must have been looking for the remote for like 10 minutes, before I finally noticed that it was in my hand the entire time!  How’s that for not being present?  This is the reason I suggested earlier that you learn some kind of skill you can practice daily, especially sports related.  After you’ve been playing any sport for a while you start becoming very skilled at the movements.  When you become skilled you will notice that in the heat of the movements you are completely present in the now.  You are not thinking about anything, your mind is quiet and you are playing almost instinctually.

You can also do a daily practice of being present in the now with just about any daily activity.  For example, when you are washing dishes try to quiet your mind, and just focus on all the movements, on the way the water feels on your hands, the way the dishes feel, the sounds of the water, the smell of the dish soap, and any other sounds you hear around your house.  At the same time notice your breath, surely it will be a shallow breath, but you can still notice and feel it if you focus.

During your morning and your night-time routine you can certainly also focus on the now.  You can meditate while you are washing your teeth, tying your shoes, or putting on your clothes.  A great tip is to put multiple pauses on your movements.  For example when you are tying your shoes, after you make your first movement, pause for a few seconds and notice your breath and then continue.  What the pause will do is silence your mind at least for those few seconds.  Keep in mind that there is no success or failure to be sought, the goal is just to do it.  Even a second of silence in your mind is a step in the right direction.  As you practice more and more the gaps of silence become bigger and bigger.

I Just Cant Stop Thinking!

            If when you are doing your daily practice you get frustrated or have any negative feelings the best thing to do is just to notice those feelings and notice the thoughts.  Just knowing and noticing that your mind is racing and racing round and round about random things is a very good sign.  When we are so unconscious that we don’t even notice our thoughts, when we are so engulfed in the thoughts, that’s when we can have some serious problems.  So, knowing that you are having these uncontrollable thoughts and noticing them as they come up is a step in the right direction.  You don’t have to silence your mind for hours on end.  All you need is a second, and as you keep practicing the gaps will get bigger and bigger.

Use Non-Judgment

            You can also nudge yourself closer to this, the highest of vibes by not judging anything or anyone.  This is really hard since it is tattooed in our conditioning.  When we were babies we were taught what was good and what was bad, we were taught to put labels on things.  These labels included: good, bad, yummy, yucky, pretty, ugly etc…  When we get to our teenage years judging is especially rampant.    We label things as cool or un-cool, we label our classmates as fine or fat or ugly.  As we get to adulthood we still carry that imaginary label maker in our heads.  As soon as we meet someone we take out the labeler, make a label, and put it on that persons head.  And when we talk about judging it’s not just about the negative labels we create.  It’s the same thing with positive labels such as saying someone is beautiful or intelligent.  Why is judging something undesirable?  The main reason is that it creates a lot of noise and mind activity.  It also takes us away from the present moment.  And all that noise prevents us from really listening and connecting with others.  Practice non-judgment whenever you can.  When you meet someone new, avoid making any labels, don’t do anything except listen with a quiet mind.  I know I still have a hard time practicing non-judgment.  Especially when dealing with negative people.  When someone starts talking to me about their problems or lack of resources, I tend to automatically label them as negative, or I label them as people with a bad vibe and I feel myself better than them because I don’t have those problems.  At least I am noticing the judgment and my feelings of superiority.  It’s the old ego trying be in control.  If you can’t stop judging certain people, then at least notice the judging when it happens.  Imagine these habits as being a dark room, and noticing them is like turning on the lights.  When the lights come on the habit can’t exist, the more you shine the light or in other words: notice the habit, the less power it will have over you.

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