Tag Archives: growing awareness

Monkeys Are Brainwashing Us!

The monkeys have been your puppet masters

They are whispering in your ear at every turn, you just don’t know it yet. They are everywhere you are, in your home, at your work, in your dreams – everywhere.  You want to do things one way, they command you to do it another. They want to keep you under control by suppressing your will to be something greater.  They are devilishly sneaky and have controlled you by manipulating your emotional hot-zones with cunning, and razor sharp skill.   Today, we blow the lid off of their clandestine nature and bring to light the truth of their evil monkey ways.

 

Life can be hard, at least until we make the conscious decision to live with ease and grace.  Being human comes withsome conditions and challenges that can’t be changed – such as the need for food, water and shelter.  From the time we are born we develop traits that serve us for a while, but then those traits expand to become hurdles, roadblocks and burdens that drag us down and make life difficult.  They are like little monkeys that jump on our backs and cling like Velcro. The more monkeys we carry, the heavier the burden and the slower we move through life.  These monkeys whisper in our ear and tell us lies about ourselves and these lies control us in unhealthy ways.

Do you want to control of your life, or let the monkeys do it?

Losing the monkeys is just a matter of convincing them that their lies are wrong. Do that and they will fall away.  You’ll be lightened and astonished at just how much each monkey slowed you down.  Start living your journey with greater ease, grace, peace, and more empowered conscious control.

Tell the Monkey it’s Wrong.

The monkey’s role is to tell us lies about ourselves.  It might chatter in our ear that we are unworthy, fearful, unintelligent or lack some skill or attribute to make us successful.   We silence the monkey when we convince it that it’s wrong, and we can do this by affirming the Truth of who we really are.  An ideal pathway to this end is through the power of affirmations.

An affirmation at it’s simplest is a statement of truth that you wish to ingrain into your consciousness through reading and/or speaking.  Affirmations work by telling our subconscious the things we want to change by convincing it they have already changed.  – basically stating: “this is now the way it is. ”

We are in essence, reprogramming our mind to behave in a manner we want it to. This is a great pathway to get unstuck from old patterns that no longer serve us, or that we find to be unhealthy or toxic in our current conditions.

The concept is quite simple.  We craft a sentence or two that states what we want to change in our minds so it reads as if it has already changed and how it might look in application. Please try to include the words now and always in some context so the mind understands your intention clearly.  For instance, if we want to take  self doubt out of our minds, the statement might look something like this:

” I am now filled with confidence in every situation and make every decision with the knowing that the outcome will be perfect and serve me in the highest. ”  (every substitutes always in this context)

-or-

“At every encounter or decision crossroad, I am brimming with healthy vibrant confidence that guides me to make correct decisions and take proper action. This or something better now manifests in me ~ thank you God!”

There is another form of affirmation that we use here at Empower-Yourself.com, and we find it to be more powerful in our own lives, the combination of denials with affirmations.

The affirmation tells our mind what we are to become, the denial tells the mind what to release so it does not creep back in. Metaphorically , we are taking out the trash before we bring in the new.  By removing the old muck we are clearing the obsolete reactions while creating the new and this has proven to be more effective for us.  The denial part of this is not what most of us might think of when we use that word, after-all, denying that we have a condition when we do is a little crazy. What we deny is a conditions ability to control us – we deny it’s power over us and thus are re-mind-ing our conscious and subconscious that we are indeed in control.

A well crafted denial will list the condition or conditions you seek to change, and either it’s inability to control you, or that it is no longer a part of your experience.

“Self-doubt is no longer in control.”

Combined with the affirmation we sweep clean the old and bring in the new thusly:

“Self-doubt is no longer  in control.  I am now filled with confidence in every situation and make every decision with the knowing that the outcome will be perfect and serve me in the highest. ”

Keep your denial affirmations to one topic at a time unless they are directly linked as in this example with fear doubt and worry:

“Fear doubt and worry have no power over me.  At every encounter or decision crossroad, I am brimming with healthy vibrant confidence that guides me to make correct decisions and take proper action. This or something better now manifests in me ~ thank you God!”

Now let’s add a final finishing touch with an action you will take should the “demonic monkey” try to creep back in.

“If I ever feel fear, doubt or worry, I place may hand on my heart, gently breath and remind myself that I choose love, peace and confidence. ”

Altogether now:

 “Fear doubt and worry have no power over me.  At every encounter or decision crossroad, I am brimming with healthy vibrant confidence that guides me to make correct decisions and take proper action. If I ever feel fear, doubt or worry, I place my hand on my heart, gently breath and remind myself that I choose love, peace and confidence. This or something better now manifests in me ~ thank you God!”

 

Practical application

An affirmation should be used at least three times a day for at minimum 32 days.  If you are experiencing change after those 32 days, you may include another denial affirmation for another issue, but continue the first denial affirmation until you know the change in you is complete.

If you are new to affirmations, having reminders can be valuable to your success. Simply knowing the technique is not enough, you must put the treatment into practice for it to work.

  • Set a reminder in your smartphone
  • Pick specific times during the day that you will remember such as before you eat a meal – you can treat it as or include it with your mealtime blessing.
  • Set Google calendar daily reminders.
  • Use a cheap digital timer from the dollar store.
  • Find a partner who is doing affirmations and arrange to remind each other or to do them together.
  • Additionally, include your affirmation in your prayer times.

You may find it handy to print out a little card you can carry in your pocket or purse. If you are using Google calendar,  you can put the text right into the event and it will show when you get the reminder.

Remember the affirmation by heart so you no longer need the card, this can make the treatment more effective.

 

Summary

The more we empower ourselves, to more we realize that it we always had the power, we just used it in unhealthy ways.  We were choosing old ways often because we simply didn’t know any other way.  Affirmations are an excellent way to ease into change over many days or several weeks.  If we chose to make a change before we are forced to change, we allow ourselves to side-step the cosmic 2×4 and the pain that comes with it.

If  you have questions or would like some assistance, let us know in the comments below or reach out via our contact us page.  We hold all consultations in complete confidence.  Please feel free to share your affirmations with our readers!

Namaste!

Meanies and How They Ruin a Perfectly Good Day

Congratulations, person who wanted to be mean and hurt my feelings.

You were successful.

Big_Fat_Meanie

Your comment about me to my boss not only hurt my feelings, but made me question myself.  And made me cry.  Not the Ugly Cry but tears, nonetheless.

You took a day that was going better than average and turned it on its ear.

I’ve been doing what I do for a really long time.  To say that I’m comfortable in my abilities and social skills, would be an understatement.  But when I receive out of the blue comments about my less than great attitude or my unwillingness to be helpful, it throws me off my game for a bit.  To my benefit (and the benefit of those around me), my age and the spiritual work I’ve done allows me to bounce back pretty quickly.

There is a musing I heard quoted (I don’t have the original quote) about if you are going to suffer, then SUFFER.  The inference is that you need to really feel the hurt and the pain and move on.  Don’t dip your toes in the suffering pool a little bit at a time and prolong the agony.  Jump in, feel the feelings and get the heck out!

We’ve all heard the Buddhist proverb “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.”  I think we’ve even used it several times in this blog.  Living life hurts, but you don’t have to suffer the hurts longer than you want to.

From BUDDHIST SANGHA OF SOUTH JERSEY

First Noble Truth – Right Understanding

The Path begins with the Right Understanding of the Four Noble Truths:

· There is suffering in life.

· Suffering comes from ignorance which leads to craving, grasping and clinging.

· We can become free from suffering and achieve happiness.

· The way to become free from suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path

I like the first point a lot.  Because as much as I would like to claim that I am above choosing to suffer the pains in my life, I’m not.  Sometimes I sit back and lick those wounds over and over.  Was there something I could have done differently, better, that would have let me escape the sting?  The first point clearly states — there is suffering in life.  It happens.  Denying the suffering doesn’t help anyone.

Point 2 – suffering comes from ignorance which leads to craving, grasping and clinging.  Oh!  Sound familiar?  If I’m suffering from words spoken, then I’m the only one suffering.  The person who spoke them has moved on.  They are not suffering.  I’m in ignorance of the motives and standing in conscious ignorance to my own higher beliefs.   I’m left craving answers, grasping at the what-if’s and clinging to my injured ego.

Wounded people, wound others.  Angry people share anger.  Misery loves company.  For some reason, humans try to hurt each other but it is my REACTION to the pain which creates my suffering, not the event itself.  When I rise above my emotions and clearly see the other person in this situation,  I can see that they are unhappy in their world and desperately trying to defend their actions by putting the blame on someone else.  I’m not discounting their comment– maybe I was snippy to them once — but why wait YEARS to provide this feedback?  If you want to be helpful in providing feedback, it should be timely and clear.  By waiting so long, they are now evidence gathering as to why they are “right” in making the decisions that they are making.

Point 3 – we can become free from suffering and achieve happiness.  I could choose to carry the hurt for the rest of the day, week or month.  There is a high likelihood that I will see this person again.  How long do I feel justified in carrying my hurt?  I could be cold in our next encounter — but doesn’t that just confirm their opinion of me?  They will probably have forgotten their words and only  remember the feelings.  My being hurt and miffed in their presence isn’t going to clear up the situation one bit.

John & I were just talking about the analogy of suffering being like someone throwing garbage in your car and you refusing to clean it out.  You drive around with this smelly, awful mess — suffering the whole way — and they don’t even remember throwing trash in there.  I choose to release the suffering and thereby free my energies up to be happy.  Ultimately, this person has nothing to do with my everyday life and I should not make their opinion so important that it colors my world into gray.

Point 4 – I know nothing of the Noble Eightfold Path but I do know that choosing not to suffer and learning the skills to live in a non-suffering way is a journey!  You pick up one skill at a time and practice that until it feels less hard and then you are ready for another one.  Each time you practice a higher thought process you learn something about yourself and the process.  And you trust the process a bit more.  Berating yourself for not handling the process better does not help.  You must accept that you chose only to suffer a day this time and that is better than the three days you suffered last time.

So, in the midst of my suffering, while I was wiping away the tears of hurt, indignation and pride, I remembered to breathe.  I say that a lot — breathe, breathe.

The very act of taking a conscious deep breath connects my mind and body.  By taking another one, I feel my body settle into that place I know is safe and firm.  The anxiety leaves me and my feet start to feel very planted in Spirit/God.  Another breath, and I feel connected to my higher self.  From this higher place, in the calm state that simply breathing deeply has provided, I am able to see/claim that this hurt is not mine to carry.  I am able to have perspective and even understanding.  I feel the suffering slipping away as quickly as it came to me.

My father says “forgive but never forget!”  I always laugh at him when he says this because I couldn’t possibly carry around all the perceived slights in my lifetime — nor do I want to.  But there is some truth here.  It is our work to discern what comments/feedback are said to help us wake up and realize that we’re not showing up as we want to, versus the ones that are just thrown out there to wound.  Besides, forgiving is a much harder requirement.  Forgiving means no chip on your shoulder, no what ifs, no plans for future action.  Forgiveness is that I understand that you are human making your way on your path and our paths intersected and that I’m not going to knock you down just because I can.

Meanies are just part of this earthly experience.   Take a moment to recognize that the experience of a meanie hurt — temporarily.  You don’t need to suffer it over and over and over again.  Move on.  Claim the higher perspective.  Wipe away your tears and breathe.  Claim the joy in a good day.  Because they all are good days, even if there are meanies in them.

Why Are We Here?

Starting off with an easy question today………

Hands touching a globe

Have you ever wondered what your purpose is?  Why are you here?  Why did you have to experience that awful time in your life?

Sometimes the answers to really big questions fall in your lap and you have a moment of clarity so strong that it takes your breath away.

It happened to me today.

A number of years ago, I was in a really hard part of my life.  Broken first marriage, beginnings of a new relationship, a shattered child who took on many other issues, a full time job with heavy responsibilities and a household to keep up with.  There were days when it took all of my strength just to put one foot in front of the other — and it never seemed like I was in balance or had it all together or even was close to enjoying it.  I don’t actually remember asking “why me” but I’m not saying it didn’t cross my mind.

It was SUCH a hard time.  There weren’t any instruction books — just lots and lots of opinions freely offered, of course, by well intentioned people in my life.  I made decisions that others didn’t like and that I wasn’t 100% sure of, but I made them because I was following that voice of internal guidance that I kept praying for.  I listened to all the advice and took away bits and pieces, followed threads that lead to new schools, new ways, new thoughts, and new practices.  We did more than survive those years, all of us have grown and now thrive in our lives.

So WHY did it have to be so hard?

Today, I was talking with someone who I’ve known casually for 17 years.  We connect because of our sons.  While he is experiencing different issues with different players, the emotional toll it is taking on him feels incredibly familiar to me.  I see the sadness in his eyes.  I feel the heaviness in his parental heart as he has to make really hard decisions about his son’s future.  I hear the words he’s using to distance himself from those hurtful opinions of others.  I know his internal battle well.

And then clarity hit.

With one breath in, my world came into focus so clearly that I thought he could hear the snap.  My back straightened, my heart oozed support, and I heard myself calling him out of his darkness.  I heard my voice telling him that he must take care of himself so that he can care for others.  I felt the power within me, borne of the fire of trials, surge towards him.  You are not in this world alone.  I hear you.  I see you.  I give you my strength and my knowledge and my understanding.

Why are we here?

We are here to claim what has happened to us and to turn it into reasons to understand another.

We are here to listen and really hear.

We are here to lift up, encourage and shine as examples of triumph.

We are here to connect, heart to heart.

Do that.

Be that person.

Shine a light in someone else’s darkness.  Lift your light high enough that it shines upon another’s path and makes their next step more visible.

You have everything within you right here and right now.

 

Struggling

I want you to know that everyone struggles with something in their life.  Everyone, no matter how serene their outside facade, has inner demons and struggles.

I am reminded of that anytime a couple who I thought had it all splits up.  Or when some gorgeous, young, vibrant person takes their own life.  Or when a family is shattered by unseen forces.

I think one of the hardest things in this life is the inner voice that is so hard on us.  It knows the secret thoughts of doubt, anger, self recrimination, unworthiness, and the times when you know you didn’t live up to who you want to be.  That voice’s world is dark and cold.  And it usually surfaces when we’re tired and stretched leaving us more vulnerable to accepting that voice as the voice of truth.

I find myself working through some deep thoughts in the middle of the night.  It may seem like the best time, the outside world is quiet, there are no distractions, but it’s actually when my defenses are down and that negative voice seems its loudest.  I know I’ve hit the wall of Out of Control when I worry about when the last time the kitchen floor was mopped.  But I don’t always hit that well recognized wall.  Most of the time, I stop short and just wallow at the base of the wall, unable to sleep and unable to work through the issue with my sleep deprived reasoning skills.

In the morning light, my fears and worries are put back into perspective.  They shrink back and are replaced with my life’s missions and obligations and by the affirmations of those around me who find me valuable and worthy.  Yes, there are days when the shadows sneak in but in the daylight, those shadows are not overwhelming.

So, what do you do when the shadows seem to be overtaking you?

My simple answer is pray.  Pray to your Higher Power, God, Allah, Jesus, Messiah, All That Is, and surrender the fear and the doubts and the worries that are swirling around.  Imagine gathering all the darkness and putting it in a basket or a box and handing it over to the Great Light of the Universe.  Imagine this basket/box being lifted from your hands and feel the weight of it being removed from your being.  Feel your fingers releasing the basket/box.  Let it go.  Don’t reach for it again.

Feel that sense that you are safe and that your biggest worries are being handled by someone who has more knowledge than you do.  It’s safe here.  You are safe.

Close your eyes and imagine a great sunrise on all those shadow thoughts.  Blasted in the light of knowingness and centeredness, they are gone.  Shadow thoughts cannot stand in the light.

You have the power within you to raise the light of your being any time of day.  As I sit here at 3:32 AM, I know that my light and my God rise inside of me and banish all those shadows thoughts.  I am an expression of God, full of worthiness, confidence, wisdom, power, zeal.  There is no situation here that can overtake the light of who I am.

Grounded in this wisdom, I sleep.

How Meditation Can Affect Alpha Rhythms in the Brain – Re-post

 

This is a re-post from an email sent to me from Luminosity.com by Pam Zhang.

http://www.lumosity.com/blog/meditation/

 

How Meditation Can Affect Alpha Rhythms in the Brain
Meditation might act as a “volume knob” forselective attention, leading to better control over pain and negative emotions. A recently published Brown University study on mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) has shown that attentional training holds promise for improving everyday functions.
What is MBSR?
Originally developed by a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical Sc hool, mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) has grown to become part of many healthcare plans in the last 20 years.It consists of an 8-week program that trains patients to focus a “spotlight of attention”on different parts of their body, and eventually to develop the same awareness of their mental states.

How MBSR affects alpha rhythms
There is strong evidence that the MBSR techniques of increasing attentional control have measurable effects on alpha wave behavior in patients’ brains. Alpha rhythms are a key part of the sensory system: they’re related to how the brain processes and filters irrelevant sensory inputs.Filtering inputs is a crucial part of higher order cognitive process such as selective attentionand working memory. Both of these processes are based on a person’s attention to focus on relevant information while ignoring irrelevant information. Without proper filtering, your ability to carry out even the most basic cognitive operations can be crippled.

Imagine the simple task of backing your car out of the driveway. In order to reach the street safely, you must hold your destination in mind while steering t he car and ignoring distractions from every modality: the news on the radio, children playing at the end of the block, an itch on your foot, the glare of the sun in your eyes. Most of us do this filtering subconsciously—but if you let such irrelevant stimuli distract you, even such a daily task can become a difficult ordeal.

That’s why MBSR’s value extends even beyond its ability to improve attention during regular tasks: one of its primary clinical uses is in the treatment of patients suffering from chronic pain, who struggle with ignoring irrelevant pain stimuli on a daily basis. In fact, MBSR has been shown to have positive emotional benefits in those suffering from chronic pain and depression.

Brain scan evidence of MBSR
In this 2013 Brown University study, researchers divided participants into two different groups: a test group that underwent MBSR training for 8 weeks, and a control group that did not. After 8 weeks, both groups were analyzed using a brain imaging technique known asmagnetoencephalography (MEG).Participants in the brain scan were told to direct attention to or away from their left index fingers. The MBSR group’s neuronal response was significantly faster than the control groups, as measured by concentration of alpha power.

 

6 Incredibly Useful Ways to Stop Making Mountains out of Molehills

Dartmoor Diary St Olaves D200 Apr 2013 099Over inflating our responses can become such a distraction, we fail to see the truth of the situation.  When we step away and allow ourselves to see conditions from heightened clarity, we are in a much better place to make good decisions from an empowered space. Here are six useful ways to stop making mountains out of those molehills.

1) It’s only big if you make it big, so stop making it bigger than it really is: One man’s hill-side is another man’s mountain-side. The difference is perception. If one had only lived on flat ground, then a 300 ft. high hill might appear mountainous. On the other hand, growing up in the Andes on a 14,00o ft. peak, a man might think of a 5,000 ft. peak as a simple hill. In neither case did the size of the hill change, only the perception of it’s size, and perception is a creation of the human imagination. Change the way you think and you change size of the obstacle. Even the largest mountain is traversed one step at a time.

2) Stop stacking it on: When we see a small obstacle as a large one, we sometimes begin piling new obstacles right on top that give us “excuses” for not moving forward.

  • Fear leads to inaction
  • Lazyness leads to inaction
  • We gather evidence that “excuses us from action”
  • Guilt develops for not dealing with it right away
  • Frustration as deadlines loom
  • More Guilt – for lack of action
  • More Fear – now that it’s bigger
  • More Frustration – “Now how will I EVER deal with this?”

3) Commit to stop seeing obstacles as problems and begin viewing them as “projects”: Any obstacle can be overcome when steps are taken — just like it takes a series of steps required to complete a project. When we label something as a ” problem” we put an imaginary burdening weight on it that can freeze us in our tracks like a deer in the headlights. Start viewing it as a project and the freezing oppression is allowed to fall away. Then our thoughts and efforts are available for motion.

4) Take action in a constructive direction – any action. Just MOVE: Don’t wait for the perfect plan to fall into place. If there was such a thing as a perfect plan, it wouldn’t stay perfect for long anyhow. As we move through the “plan” unforeseen changes are going to arise and alter our course. Knowing this allows us to expect change and this tells us we must remain flexible. And knowing we must be flexible allows space for us to stay out of panic when changes arise. Anticipate change and you have nothing to fear. So stop nit picking a plan and just move! As long as you have forward motion, it will work it’s way out however it needs to regardless of any “planning” you might do. Cease motion however, and the molehill will continue to expand.

5) Stop the whining. Complaining serves only to tell yourself and those around you that you are too weak to change the situation. After all, if you actually had the power to change things, wouldn’t you be putting your efforts into actually changing it? Complaining does nothing but deepen your conviction that something is not going your way and you are powerless to effect change. You DO have the power to change, so empower yourself! Stop complaining and put your mental and physical resources towards a constructive outcome. Constructive behavior leads to smaller hills. Destructive behavior just makes bigger mountains that YOU eventually get to traverse.

6) Multitasking is a myth. We can only focus on one thing at a time. “Multi-tasking” or what I am coining in this very post as: Scatter-Braining™ is merely shifting focus from one task to another and back again – never really putting your best efforts into either one. It’s like trying to run up two hills at the same time, only you have to run back and forth between them to make progress. Just wasted effort. Pick the hill that requires your attention and focus focus focus. When your mind gets going, the mental momentum will build and tasks will get accomplished faster with greater efficacy. Keep flinging your focus around like a sloppy mop and if things do get accomplished, you may find that the efforts don’t meet expectation and you have to revisit them to clean up the spatter. This just means more work and that equals a bigger hill.

Be-Do-Have vs. Have-Do-Be

Music BasicsBe-Do-Have.  Many have heard this phrase but too often I hear myself, as well as those around me, working on the Have-Do-Be principle.

When I finally HAVE __________ (enough money, enough time, enough energy, a better relationship, a lover, the perfect house, the perfect body) then I will DO ___________ (work out more, work on whatever needs to be corrected, read more, sleep more, clean more, worry less, eat better, love more often, judge less) and I will BE __________(happy, secure, free, peace-filled, loving, healthy, the person I know I should be).

Sound familiar?

This is a trap.  A very familiar, well worn, trap.  You’re never going to HAVE it all.  There’s always going to be something better, greener, thinner, prettier, calmer, and bigger that you’re going to want.  This is the way of the human mind.  And I want to tell you that it has served you and all of humanity well, thus far.  After all, we don’t still live in caves and depend on our hunting and gathering skills to survive, do we?

This longing is why we as a human race have survived and thrived (for the most part) on this planet.

But we are not just substance on this land of substance trying to rise above the next substance.  We are spiritual beings exploring this human experience.  While HAVING has served our human side well, it doesn’t always serve our spiritual side as well.

You must BE what you want to be.  You must BE loving in order to DO loving things in order for you to HAVE love in your world.  You must BE peaceful in order to DO peace-filled actions so that you can HAVE peace in your life.  You don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are!  You can’t fake out the Universe.

Yes, we’ve all seen those people who have money and success and they are just horrible people.  Seems unfair, doesn’t it?  But they obviously are not happy.  They need more and more and more to try to fill the void of who they are not.  They are driven by the HAVE-DO-BE and there’s not enough in this world to have before they can be.  So, they collect and conquer and collect some more.  It’s a trap.

You’ve heard the phrase:  Happiness is not getting what you want but wanting what you have.  (I wish I could find who said that but a lot of people are claiming it and I’m not going to try to figure out who coined it.)  You must choose happiness right now in order to be happy.  You must choose to love no matter what.  (Of course, healthy boundaries should not be forsaken for loving unconditionally.  Different topic.)

When you choose what you are going to be, you will be challenged in that decision.  If you choose to be patience, you will have lots of opportunities to practice patience.  If you choose to be love, you will have lots of opportunities to demonstrate your choice to those who you may not want to love.

I believe part of this challenge is that we have awakened our awareness in this area.  These same challenges have presented themselves many times before but now we’re trying to react in a different manner.  Just like any other new habit you are trying to form, it feels hard to accomplish.  It feels like everything is difficult and that people are coming out of the woodwork just to trip you up!  Do your best.  And realize that when you don’t act the way you wanted to, that at least you were aware that there is a better way available to you.

What qualities of other people do you appreciate?  Those same qualities reside in you.  Claim those.  Breathe those.  Realize that you have a choice to make.  Today, choose to awaken to who you want to be and then put feet to that awareness and BE that.  You will be amazed at what comes your way when first you choose to be your spiritual self!

A Path to Peace – Moving Past the Attachments.

So far in our Path to Peace series we have had a look into what an unhealthy attachment is and how we can spot them. Seems the next logical step is moving past any attachments that lead to suffering and towards a life of peace.

We have all heard the “Go with the flow” attitude and “Let go and let God”, but often we miss the actual letting go part. We toss the issue into the fire only to reach in, grab the hot embers and get burned in the process. We want to let go but just won’t step deeply enough into faith to let that happen fully.  It’s our attachments to the outcome that cripple us from releasing fully into the flow of the Divine. The Loving Spirit of God wants to provide for us all that we need and desire.  God wants us to be at peace and filled with joy!

Great spiritual masters as well as today’s modern mental doctors have professed the benefits quiet contemplation can have on the mind and body.  Master Teacher Jesus tells us in scriptures to enter the inner chamber and from there, pray in quiet.   Something almost magical happens when we enter a space of internal silence. With gentle practice we begin to quiet the mind, calm the body and awaken the  Perfect Consciousness that resides with in us and is patiently waiting for us to allow it to reveal. This is a place of consciousness where we commune with God, the Divine, Spirit, Allah, Jehovah…

From this place we learn  it is safe to ask the tough questions and get the answers that can move us into the next level of our being. It is from this space of silence that we can look deep within, and with an intention of being honest with ourselves, find our attachments and seek the answers to letting go.

Many of our attachments are deeply programmed because we have hauled them around with us for decades and they have become automatic responses and they originate from all areas of life

  • From our parents who yelled and threw anger in our direction when we did not meet their expectations and so we have learned to do the same.
  • Lack of approval from those who we viewed as authoritarian such as teachers or care-givers so we do improper things to get approval.
  • Mainstream media such as commercials that insist we must look a certain way to be beautiful and movies that show us how tough a man should be.
  • Songs we might hear teach us that we must feel suffering when we lose a valued relationship and that it is okay to take revenge when it happens.
  • Some musical expressions try to teach us to hate authority and the law.
  • The examples of friends  and family who showed us that they hated their ex-spouse so we assume we should do the same.
  • Some are so deeply permeated in tribal thought that we may be challenged daily or hourly to avoid regressing into our old ways.   “My religion is the only right religion” or the condition of Political Hypochondria that has infected our world are both good examples.

 

Day 1. Taking the first step – discovery: Here is an exercise I use. When a situation brings up stress in my life (in whatever form that might be)  I go inside and look for where in my being the stress was triggered, what kind of stress is it – fear, anger, resentment, disappointment, disgust? With clarity on the emotion, I am better prepared to drill into the root attachments.

Day 2 – 3 Investigation: The goal here is to take your awareness of the emotion and allow it to guide you to find what you are attaching to.  Being complex individuals, we each respond to our attachments in our own way, so you will have to use your own life experiences to help you in the process.

Some tips that may help:

  • Recall similar situations where the same emotional response surfaced.  What is common between them? 
  • Fear is sometimes masked as anger.  For instance the fear of losing something might result in anger surfacing. It looks like anger, might even feel like anger but something in the pit of your stomach tells you it’s fear.   Fear of judgement can manifest as anger when a person lashes out from a comment or remark they find demeaning.
  • If your anger is a fight or flight response, there is a good chance it’s based in ego.  Something in the ego feels the need to defend or protect itself so it does so with a show of superiority through aggression.
  • Sadness can be a sign of grief and grief can be an indication of loss. Look for what you “lost” in the situation and this will lead to finding the attachment.
  • Fear of loss may bring jealousy – an example of multi-layered attachments.  Fear and loss are two separate yet connected issues.  Each can exist without the other, but one can trigger the other.  Loss issues arise from attachment to some “thing” in your world and fear is based in a perceived lack of safety or security.  A jealous lover may be attached to control (security) in the relationship (the “thing”)

When I first began healing attachments it took some time to get my head fully into the action of investigation. After practice, when the emotion is discovered, the attachment often reveals itself right away but sometimes it ,might be a little stubborn and I’ll have to “sit” with it for a while. My method is to hold the “intention” to discover and heal the attachment, but I won’t actively pursue it. In its own perfect time it reveals itself.  So if the attachment does not come to you, that’s perfectly fine. Don’t let yourself get attached to finding the attachment!  Let go of any feeling of need to find it. In time it will reveal itself.  Plant the right seed, nurture it and it will come to bear fruit.

 

Day 4 and on. Once the attachment is uncovered, the release work begins.

Giving yourself permission to heal is critical.  The suffering may be so deeply integrated into your life that you have resistance to to letting it go. You may feel like you don’t know any other way to live than the way you are living now.  In other words, you are attached to the suffering that comes from attachment!

  • Can you allow yourself to be okay with not being okay? This is to say that you give yourself permission to accept that you have room for healing. Without this, you will experience persistent resistance to change.

For some it may have to begin with forgiveness work.

  • Forgiveness is for the benefit of self first. Carrying resentments and pain towards others does nothing to the other person, but instead toxifies our own life. Refusing to forgive is denying yourself the power to make a positive change – it is much like drinking a poison and expecting the other person to suffer. Give yourself permission to put down the burdens and move on.
  • A lost friendship from misunderstandings may require forgiving yourself for your part in the exchange. This is not to say you should dwell on your being “right”, but coming to a realization of how you may have handled it better and forgiving yourself for your past actions.  Once you clearly see your part in the matter, you are far more prepared to forgive your friend.  Look for the log in your eye before trying to remove the splinter from theirs.
  • Childhood related issues such as abuse, bullying and neglect may have serious effects on adulthood.  One of the joys of attachment work is the freedom to live in the moment rather than dragging around the past.  Our past prepares us, it does not define us. As our own best guides on our paths, we are free to change our minds and make the choice to live in the now, free from the illusionary bondage of our past.

You may work through the grief process when releasing long held attachments that were falsely associated with their personal view of their identity.

  • Brea the Beekeeper:  “I am a beekeeper and was fired”  –  Brea, is not realizing that the truth of who she truly is as a loving expression of the divine – a spiritual being having a human experience. Beekeeper is a job, not her true identity. Releasing the attachment to the job as her identity might be difficult for Brea as she deeply feels she has lost a part of herself.  By freeing from the attachments of the job title as identity, she is now freed to discover greater truths and higher possibilities in her next career.  The divine never closes a door without leaving another one open. Attachments can blind us from seeing the open doors that are right there in front of us.
  • My mother was an addict and I was withheld affection and stability as a child. When sober, she was engrossed in her distractions and as the day progressed so did her state of intoxication. I and a few of my siblings were born with physical defects as a result of the daily toxins she ingested during her pregnancies.  My upbringing was filled with family anger and resentment. While my father and my siblings did their best to be a stable presence in my life it didn’t overcome the repercussions of the anger.  I used to identify myself with being the child of an alcoholic. In school it served me in an unhealthy way.  Counselors first,  then teachers would give me a break when homework was late because “you know… poor little John’s mom is a drinker.”  I learned very early on that this would get me out of certain things at school. In my mind, it was the perfect excuse! Unfortunately, I fully bought into the story and gradually identified with it.  With my attachment to it, I fell further into self-pity, self-doubt and low self-esteem.  Eventually, I grew to understand that this past did not have to define me. I remember, as I began the release work, I would go through typical stages of grief – the sadness, the bargaining with God, emotional swings, and more. While I have come a great distance, over two decades later, from time to time I still get opportunities to work with this.

Like any skill, practice makes better. The great joy in this practice is that you reap amazing rewards in the quality of your life. You blossom, your relationships sweeten and peace emerges where once there was suffering.  Embrace your past for it has brought you to where you are today and prepared you for your new, fresh and exciting life that is unfolding before your very eyes right here, right now.

Blessings

 

 

 

 

 

A Path to Peace – Spotting Attachments

It is fairly easy to spot attachments once their symptoms are in your awareness.

Some spiritual teachings offer that the ego is the enemy. I see the ego as potential master or potential servant. The ego can serve us if we are willing to keep vigilant awareness to its attachments. The ego is not just the base survival instinct that can pit us against each other, but it also can be the driving force that will move us out of suffering and into a better space.  When anger arises out of ego as a result of an unmet expectation or from a word or two that offended you, or from someone cutting you off in traffic, you have an opportunity to seek what it is that you feel the need to protect.

Attachments lead to lack of compassion and understanding in other’s situations. When things become all about “me,” this is a solid sign that an unhealthy attachment is at work. We are all one with the Divine and with each other. There is no me and you, only us. We are here to work together in each other’s best interests.  My way or the highway mentalities create limitations in our lives that would not exist if we were fully co-creative with those we share life with.

Closed-mindedness from selfish attachments manifest actions that damages us, and puts others at risk for harm.  Closed-minded attachment to religious beliefs, dogmas and philosophies have been at the root of violent psychotic behaviors for millennium. These “I am right and you are wrong” attachments have caused immeasurable death, destruction and suffering.   From the basic back-yard childhood brawl, to all-out genocide, unhealthy attachments are at the root of the behavior.

Part one of this series briefly mentions the sneaky and hard to spot nature of some attachments, so here I offer a few places that I have discovered sneaky attachments in myself and others.

Argumentative or aggressive listening: Are you actively listening with the intention of hearing and valuing what the other person has to say with the same level of respect you deserve, or are you formulating your rebuttal, your argument or your disagreement?  If you are not listening properly then an unhealthy attachment to your point of view may be at work. It’s perfectly okay to have an opinion of your own, but when you are closing down to the thoughts and opinions of others, you may be limiting yourself and them from discovering together a better way to a higher end result.

Being too agreeable: In almost stark contradiction to what you just read, constant agreement could be a sign of attachment to being accepted by others, or it may manifest from an attachment to avoid conflict.  If you have something valuable to contribute that may go against the opinions of the status-quo, refusing to add it to the mix could easily be a disservice to the highest and best outcome for all involved. The key is to present it from a point of view that is helpful and constructive to the conversation, and avoid dismissing other views as being incorrect, invalid or simply wrong.  Focus on communicating in a way that lifts up conversations and those involved rather than tearing things down.

Loyalty to a brand or style of music:  Seems crazy doesn’t it? After all, when you like something, you just simply like it. What could possibly be unhealthy about that?  Liking something is just fine, but when it comes to a point that you like it so much you dismiss other options simply because they don’t fit the mold, then you have crossed the line into attachment.  We like things such as a type of music or a specific brand of ice cream because it brings us some form of pleasure or maybe we trust a brand of car for it’s dependability.  It’s perfectly fine to like something, just don’t close your mind to other alternatives. When we refuse to see or experience other options, and sometimes  we do so with great disdain, we limit our possibilities for something greater to unfold.

And the extra sneaky: Attachments may have layers. One or more attachments may be the symptom of a deeper attachment at work.

Some example standout symptoms of attachment to watch for are:

  • Anger
  • Jealousy
  • Envy
  • Fear
  • Frustration
  • Sadness
  • Grief

Any of those may be an outward expression of an unhealthy attachment to something tangible, such as a relationship or material possession, or something less tangible such as an unmet expectation  – like a son or daughter not cleaning their room.  While having a clean room is a good thing, your response to the child not following your direction will help guide you to discovery of any attachments. Is your ego under attack because they failed to honor your parental authority, or can you respond to the situation without fear, anger or resentment?  There is little we can actually do to “control” another human being. Even at a very young age we have our own capacity for thought and decision making.  Having attachment to being “right” and “in-charge” as a parent can reach an unhealthy level.  Control is an illusion anyway.  Teach right thinking and right choices get made. Try to control someone, even a child, and they will seek to express their own control over the situation and resistance ensues.  We can always try to use fear, but is that what we want to teach our future leaders; that ruling with fear is better than careful listening, proper thinking and proper action?  Pick your attachments carefully and thoughtfully.

Feel free to chime-in with any attachment symptoms you have uncovered in the comments below.

Next up: Moving past the attachments.

 

What does your heart know?

colored heartsI remember when I was a kid, awake in the middle of the night, I would lay on my side and feel my heart beat in my body.  Last night was like that, the rhythmic motion soothing and hypnotic.

Just as I was starting to drift off to sleep, I thought about my heart.  What does my heart know?  What story does it tell me?

In the silence, it kept its secrets, gently rocking me back to sleep.

Hearts are like that.  They don’t share their story.  They rejoice with you, break with you, flutter in a moment of recognition but they don’t share.

Hearts are very in the moment, very in the Now.  You can’t conjure up that same feeling of heartbreak.  You can’t make it leap with joy.  And yet, we know it will break in the future just as it will jump with joy.

There are whole sciences around the heart.  The experiments being done on heart energy alone are staggering and mind boggling.  But I don’t really need to know any of that to know that my heart soothes me, carries me and provides for me more than just pushing fluid through my body.

My heart knows my story.  My heart recognizes another’s pain and happiness.  And in the middle of the night, when I’m still, I simply allow the resonance of my heartbeat to carry me back to sleep.