Bend and you will remain whole

From the John C. H. Wu translation of the Tao Te Ching, passage 22:

Bend and you will be whole.
Curl and you will be straight.
Keep empty and you will be filled.
Grow old and you will be renewed.
 
Have little and you will gain.
Have much and you will be confused.
 
Therefore, the Sage embraces the One,
And becomes a Pattern to all under Heaven.
He does not make a show of himself,
Hence he shines;
Does not justify himself,
Hence he becomes known;
Does not boast of his ability,
Hence he gets his credit;
Does not brandish his success,
Hence he endures;
Does not compete with anyone,
Hence no one can compete with him.
Indeed, the ancient saying, “Bend and you will remain whole” is no idle word.
Nay, if you have really attained wholeness, everything will flock to you.
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Are you Awake?

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I’m sure we’ve all experienced the peculiar situation in which we know for a fact the things around us are ‘just as they seem’, yet we didn’t ever look back at how they got that way.

In particular, I’m referring to this strange, inherent ‘dream-knowledge’ we have while dreaming; for instance, you may have been visiting a friend, yet they didn’t at all look like your friend, but for some reason, in the dream, you knew who they were, and you didn’t question it. Had you maybe questioned things, you would have probably been provided some degree of insight, or even fallen into a state of lucidity(awareness).

Instead, you take it at face value, because it just seems to be the most convenient conclusion at the time. I think you would find this kind of ‘unquestioned assumption’ almost always carries over into our everyday lives, and can affect us deeply there too. We assume someone meant a particular thing when they only said a few words, or didn’t say a few words, or made a certain gesture. We assume things that can then derail our entire day, or even throw off the friendship or potential relationship with that person, yet if you try to trace back exactly the source of how you ‘know this to be true’ you really never come to a concrete occurrence which would have lead you to believe it.

What I’m getting as is that you should regularly be questioning your assumptions about your life, and see if they have a basis in reality, or atleast a basis in the reality you desire to be living from. If you find yourself in a situation where you aren’t sure how things got the way they are, you are most likely living in an illusion, and taking it as face value. If you’re sure that guy at the gas station just doesn’t like you, but you can’t trace it back to an incidence, it’s an illusion, a deception of our ego.

Maybe you’re certain that it’s impossible to find a job you enjoy, or that all men want is sex and all women want is money, and you’ll never find true love. Well, have you worked every job imaginable, or met every potential paramour out there? Certainly you have not, and are making assumptions based on a very small slice of experience you may or may not have even had.

Next time you feel a limiting belief about yourself, or about the universe, check to make sure you aren’t just dreaming. Check to make sure you aren’t looking at an illusion and mistaking it for real life.

If you follow this train of deduction back and it has no source, then cast it away like last night’s bad dream.

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The coincidence of opposites

From Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, passage 11:

Thirty spokes converge upon a single hub;
It is on the hole in the center that the use of the cart hinges.
 
We make a vessel from a lump of clay;
It is the empty space within the vessel that makes it useful.
 
We make doors and windows for a room;
But it is these empty spaces that make the room livable
 
Thus, while the tangible has advantages
It is the intangible that makes it useful
 

This is one of my favourite passages of the Tao Te Ching, and usually the first passage I open to if I find a new translation. This one comes from my most enjoyed translation so far, by John C. H. Wu. I love this one because it artfully, simply, and explicitly makes us aware of the ‘negative’ or ‘empty space’ of things, and helps us consider the importance of opposites in our everyday life.

The coincidence of opposites is that opposites can only exist in relation to each other; you can only recognize you are warm because at one point you were cold. It is this contrast that we must experience to understand anything, and we understand that the contrast actually holds opposites together, for without the sour, the sweet wouldn’t be.

Understand that sometimes the worst or hardest situations happen in our lives in order to create the depth of the beauty and love we can experience. We need to experience the hardships in order to prime ourselves and open up the possibility of our perception to brighter and better things. It is only because of hard times we can recognize when things are going good for us, and we soon learn not to separate these conditions so much, much like the Farmer and his Horse. We can derive joy even in moments of pain because we know the pain doesn’t exist independently, and naturally suggests a state of wellbeing. This play of back and forth is the very essence of being alive.

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A Case Against ‘Negative’ Energy

I have something of a confession to make. I choose to share this with all of you in hopes that your life will benefit in the same way mine has from adopting this assumption. This is often an unpopular opinion, and has gotten me plenty of flak from people in my life when I divulge this information, but it really doesn’t deter me. I stand behind it, and hope one day you will too.

Ready? Make sure you’re sitting down for this one, because…

I don’t believe in negative energy.

There it is. Out there in the open, out there for God and all the neighbours to see, my dirty laundry on the front lawn. And how does it feel? Quite liberating, to be honest. Never has my life been such a beautiful mystery of love and grace as when I adopted this model of reality, and I honestly can’t ever see myself going back to a ‘fear-dependency’ lifestyle.

AND NEITHER SHOULD YOU.

You see… There’s no such thing as evil. There are no monsters and scary sprites hiding between the fabric of dimensions, waiting for that opening to swoop in and ruin your life. There are no dark wizards conspiring against all that is good and beautiful for their own ends, and there are no rituals you need to go through, or even CAN go through to eradicate any ‘negative energy’. It simply doesn’t exist. We are only fearing fear itself, and this fear goes against the actual assumption most of us think we’ve made about the universe being a realm of love.

Darkness is the absence of light

This is a popular concept I’m sure you’ve heard before, usually in relation to light and darkness. Much of this perceived ‘negative energy’ is merely an absence of a more healthy ‘positive’ energy, or aspect of love and enthusiasm.

When I say love, I’m not talking about sentimental love, or the hormonal love we most often experience. This love is not emotionality, nor is it a ‘journey’ in the sense that it is ‘there’ and you’re ‘here’. It is the conscious merging between life systems, and the inherent bliss and consciousness that makes the universe. It is the love upon which the entire universe operates and has its being. If you’ve ever had a near-death experience, or perhaps ingested some Psilocybin, and gone deep enough inward, you would know the love I am talking about.

Negative Energy is a perception of our ego

I’m sure you probably had an idea of where this ‘negative’ perception can come from if it isn’t real, and if you guessed our insidious Ego had something to do with it, you’d be on the right track. How often does our ego paint its own pictures onto the blank canvass of life, and try to sell the counterfeit as a genuine? I’m sure you know the answer this as well; all too often.

It is only from the vantage point of our ego that we label something ‘negative’, but there is inherently nothing negative in the universe, only different. I try to share this insight when I hear someone speak about someone, or a group of people as having ‘negative’ energy. You may find this person ‘negative’ but the fact of the matter is, this person has parents that birthed and loved them through their development, friends and family to support and love them through hardships, a spouse or significant other who adores them, and children that depend on them, never mind the multitude of other people that think this person is just swell. Are all those people being fooled into not seeing this person’s evil ways, or could it be that their energy is just different from yours(not negative), and therefore doesn’t mesh as well? Who’s to say you aren’t acting the ‘negative’ role(through absence of positivity)?

Personally, I love Pizza, and I also enjoy Pudding every now and again. But in no universe would I enjoy Pudding Pizza. Is that to say pudding is negative because it didn’t go well with my pizza? Well, that’s just silly….

Only ever from the place of our ego, only from the attachment to the illusion of who we think we are, obsessed with some vague notion of ‘survival’ could we call something different as ‘negative’. Only ever would our ego be so ridiculous as to decide something is ‘negative’. Who is to say we are ‘right’ or even have the authority to label ‘negative’? But when you remove yourself from that delusion of seperation, we see that nothing could be negative.

Trying to eradicate negativity perpetuates fear

So what exactly is it that tricks us into believing such a thing? It is the fear itself of what might happen if there were negativity. Much like was touched upon in the Law of Attraction series, when we are actively taking measures and actions based on an assumption of something, we are solidifying the interpretation we perceive, furthering the assumption.

If you have rituals or maneuvers to protect you from negativity, you are solidifying your belief in ‘negativity’ and helping to bring more of it into your life. This goes against the most inherent nature of the universe as a force of love, wellbeing, and growth. This attitude is saying, “I don’t trust the universe to be looking out for me, I’m not good enough, and I have to constantly be on guard.” You are doing something based on a design of a universe that doesn’t exist. If you are constantly finding ways to make yourself taller, that is merely solidifying the assumption that you are short. See how this works?

The universe is built on love and grace, and no matter what you do, you can’t escape the love and grace of the universe, because it is an inherent part of the system. Leave your ego at home on your bedroom floor today, and see how the world looks. There is only the infinite oneness and the perception of ‘negativity’ is one of separation. Do not separate yourself from life any longer, and embrace the void.

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The Pattern Interrupt

One of the best methods we have for overriding unwanted behaviour and habits is a Pattern Interrupt. A Pattern Interrupt is exactly what it sounds like, an interruption to a pattern of behaviour so we can adopt a new pattern. When in the middle of a task that happens mostly unconsciously(like tying our shoes, or feeling an emotional sting of an event from our past), interrupting the pattern can open up our mind to suggestion or influence, and instill a great  opportunity for change in our subconscious mind. The interruption itself then becomes part of the pattern, and helps to permanently break unwanted habits or patterns of behaviour.

The goal of a pattern interrupt is to break the chain of causation that makes us feel trapped by the habit, and find ways we can apply new behaviours once we break a pattern. Try to immediately take advantage of the interrupt by beginning a more productive task, and you will slowly break all the associations to the old pattern, until the old pattern never reveals itself again.

The good news for our patterns is, our brains aren’t telling us time properly. Experiments demonstrated that there is approximately a 500 millisecond(half-second) delay before we perceive something once a stimulation has been introduced. Our minds, however, often makes it so you don’t even notice this gap, you just experience a seamless representation of reality. It appears to us as if no delay occurred at all.

This is good news because this lag time gives us a half second before we would have naturally interpreted an event, and interrupt the habitual pattern with new, more desired behaviour.

One Breath Pattern Interrupt

Dave Dobson, a world renowned hypnotherapist, often taught a very simple technique for interrupting a pattern, by sighing, which is really nothing more than the famous One Breath Meditation technique(this is also why breathing meditation is so beneficial for emotional issues). The purpose of a sigh is to pull ourselves out of being wrapped up in an emotion or event, and step back from what we habitually try to act on. Animals and humans are both seen to sigh on occasion, and sighing is nothing more than a method for releasing our pent up emotions and residual thought forms; we often see people sigh during arguments or confrontation and other high stress situations like sitting in traffic, or waiting in doctor’s offices. A sigh is a pattern interrupt for our current emotional state.

One of the key’s to Dobson’s method was how we played the role of the interruption once it happened; we have to be able to see the humor of our situation, and the wonderful drama of being wrapped up in our lives. According to Dobson, we give power to habitual energy by taking life, and ourselves, too seriously. To help see an old pattern in this humorous light, it helps to try to imagine if we wanted to fit into our favourite clothes from when we were 3 years old. The old pattern(clothes) ‘suited’ us at the time, but we’ve merely outgrown it.

This is a wonderful way to cultivate a more regular One Breath practice. Don’t underestimate the power of the technique; even with all these other fancy methods on this blog, don’t get distracted from the basics.

Work to find other ways you can interrupt patterns of behaviour and habitual thought forms. This can be done with anything and everything; maybe you interrupt the pattern of zonking out infront of the TV for a few hours with a jog, or you interrupt the pattern of having that second piece of cake when you know a glass of water and some carrot sticks will be more satisfying(it really will be, trust me).

Or maybe you just need to interrupt the pattern of going onto the internet when you have an important assignement to finish. Slow down, take a deep breath, and find the ridiculousness of that idea. Interrupt the pattern, consciously.

Finally, take it in stride, and be aware that a pattern performed 10,000 times might take a few pattern interrupts to break your association to it. Often times this process can be 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

When’s the last time you performed One Breath?

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Blogging Meditation

I’ve recently realized I have a new favourite form of meditation; Blogging. Not even just the act of blogging, but the ways it makes you organize your specialized knowledge, or even just writing a free-flow of what went on during the day. To be honest, I never thought I would love blogging so much or what it would do for my meditation practice.

I’ve been a very very part time writer in the past, but never took on any projects like a blog or book or even a short story really. It takes me days just to finish writing the lyrics of a song sometimes. But I’d always heard one of the reasons people love writing is because it causes you to develop your thought, and this really is true.

I’m a very abstract thinker, and often do not use words in my thinking process at all. I think in a lot of shapes and conceptual paradigms, which really works for me. When it’s matter of metaphysical orientation or even about deeper aspects of life, I can cover vast distances and make large leaps of consciousness in a very short time.

This style of thinking works wonderfully for me, but falls short when it comes time to explain something. I often find in order to explain one concept, I first have to delve into another concept to make a foundation for what I want to say. As you might imagine, this is often times futile unless I was to spend 15 to 20 minutes relating a life lesson to someone.

Writing helps mold your presentation style, and lets you focus on the important bits, while keeping it a coherent whole, as well as developing your thoughts along natural lines of their expression. Of course, you can do some free writing, or even flow of consciousness Kerouac style, which I think helps more of the imagery writing and building metaphors and analogies, which is also important, but a different aspect of writing.

I like Blogging because you’re forced(well not really, but I force myself) to try and organize these ideas into a tangible piece that someone else can then glean some benefit from. In this last month and a half, not only have I started meditating MORE than I was, I’m also looking deeper at my methods, and trying to understand what they are achieving. Not only this, I’m getting inspiration for new meditation methods everywhere, looking for fun new ways to introduce meditation into ordinary things people might be doing already.

Not to mention the fantastic blogosphere that exists now for support, communication and integration, I’m finding positive reinforcement around every corner, inspiring me to continue blogging, which is actually pushing me to delve deeper into meditation practices and learn more about how we can find this serene mindset in the midst of life.

Blogging literally makes you better at whatever you blog about, by virtue of completing the task. It’s like writing a paper for a subject in school, only you really have no limitations and are graded by peers and merit.

I remember having a love hate relationship with essay writing. I love delving into the topic, learning more and formulating a thesis, a direction to point the reader into a strong conclusion. It’s really like telling a story, and the reader can go through a lot of the same transformative processes an epic tale leads us through; have you ever read a nice hefty article about a topic, and felt so changed afterwards? It’s inexplicable really.

The parts I often hated about essays however, was the restricted nature of it, and the limitations that had to be adhered to. This takes almost all the fun out of it for a lot of people. Well that, and writing about a boring, dry subject you have no interest in.

I love Blogging for this reason. It’s all the best parts of essay writing with none of the limitations or stress of a bad grade WITH the added benefit of more than just a teacher(who might not even really care) reading your work and really giving you feedback outside of an academic mindset. This is an incredible aspect of support that cannot be found almost anywhere else with such honesty, conviction, and real, honest interest. If someone doesn’t want to read your blog, they won’t, and you don’t get graded down on it. They just move on to someone else’s blog, while people who ARE interested are happy to read your insights and contributions to the subject.

One of my favourite ways of learning about subjects now is through reading blogs. You can get some really great information from someone who’s ACTUALLY in the thick of it, and not writing for conflicting interests or a paycheck, but writing about it because they feel passionately about it, and have something to share!

This in itself is an incredible aspect of the modern blogosphere, but don’t let it stop there. JOIN IN! Be a part of this world wide revolution and GIVE THE WORLD YOUR KNOWLEDGE! Not only is it an incredibly satisfying feeling when your wonderful readers respond and tell you how much it helped them, it just makes you more knowledgeable and well-rounded about your subject, allowing you to connect with more people, which furthers your knowledge more, allowing even MORE connection.

There’s almost no reason to NOT start a blog, honestly. Everyone is an expert in some subject, that’s the truth. I might know plenty about meditation, but I wouldn’t know where to even start if I wanted to restore and have running a classic car. But I’m willing to bet there are thousands of wonderful blogs about the subject that I could find with a simple google search.

What are you really good at? What kinds of things do your friends and family already approach you about? Maybe you’re an amazing chef and you didn’t even really know it until just now? Start a blog, you’ll only become an even more incredible chef, it’s a fact. You can’t NOT get better.

Maybe you don’t think you have any other real skills except for writing? This is actually a fantastic skill to have, and might even put you a leg up on the Meditators and Chefs trying to get into blogging; Being able to weave words elegantly will make anyone want to read your work. You could start blogging for others with just a bit of study to get a grasp on the topic, or even just blog about writing or blogging in general.

Whatever your field, you can be sure there is a readership out there, and like-minded individuals that can benefit, and will graciously thank you for your hard work. So what are you waiting for? Take a deep breath… and register a blog already!

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Versatile Blogger Award

I’m happy to finally get to post this, as I had been nominated TWICE for this award, but hadn’t gotten the chance to put it up. I am very grateful to receive 2 VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARDS, presented to me by zen and the art of borderline maintenance, and Resting In Awareness, both wonderful blogs and two of my favourites. It really feels good to be recognized for my efforts blogging, and I can’t say how much I appreciate this! So, without further ado, here are the rules, my random things, and my nominations

1. Thank the nominating blogger and post a link to their blog in the acceptance post.

2. Cite 7 random things about hirself.

3. Nominate 7 other wonderfully versatile bloggers.

7 Random things about me

1: I drink a LOT of water

2: I’m a comic book nerd(Batman all the way).

3: I’m also something of a music nerd.

4: Once a few summers ago, I taught myself about 85% of the morse code alphabet over the span of a week. I’ve since forgotten most of it, but I was able to decipher a lot of messages for a while.

5: I’m NLP certified and plan on having some guided meditation/hypnosis mp3’s available here soon(suggestions are very welcome)!

6: I’m a huge fan of the show and books Dexter…. It’s my shadow side

7: I was born in Saudi Arabia

7 Nominations

Being-Bliss

My Zen City

Creative Ideas for Starving Artists

Nynia Chance @ Nexus of Now Media

400 Days ’til 40

Zen Being

indiemusicpower

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