Bending Time

I am told time feels slow when you are young and passes too fast when you are older. 

It is a matter of belief. 

If you believe your remaining time is getting shorter, this is a false belief. None of us know the day we will take our last breath. People who live to be 100 may have expected to pass at 70 – what a waste if they lived those 30 years believing time was getting shorter. 

When we are kids, we are more likely to live in the now. The now is infinite. It is when we live in the past or the future that we get messed up. Neither exist, so they are easy to project our beliefs and fears over top. 

My days are no shorter or longer than before. I experience my days in terms of energy – intense, loving, flowing. I surrender to the moment (at least that’s the intention). 

3 Things That Happen When You Stop Believing Your Own Thoughts

“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years”. – Byron Katie
image

What happens if you stop believing your thoughts?

1. You stop feeding drama with thoughts and words

One of the first things I noticed when I stopped believing my thoughts was that I was no longer replaying painful scenarios in my head over and over. I wasn’t anticipating conversations with people and deciding how they should play out.

I found it was much easier to let go of my day. It became easier to be curious about things that happened in my life. I could ask how an event brought me closer to awakening. I stopped believing my story, which was usually told with all my conclusions rather than the observable experience.

2. You stop blaming or judging.

When I stopped believing my thoughts, I realized that right or wrong were also thoughts and beliefs. I could stop beating myself up for not living up to standards (thoughts) I held for myself. I could stop trying to be perfect – defined as always being right and honorable and loving.

Then I could stop judging others. I could look at the belief triggered by another instead of blaming the other. I might still be unable to go to their world but I didn’t need to judge, be angry or afraid of what they could take from me – like showing me I wasn’t perfect according to my definition – and therefore not deserving of love.

“Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them.” – Byron Katie

3. You no longer suffer because you want something different than what is

The biggest source of suffering comes from resisting what is, and comparing it to what you wish. When you stop believing your thoughts, you stop creating an alternative to what is. You realize that what is happening is exactly as it should be, and it has always been this way.

“I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.” – Byron Katie

The best part? You can relax. You don’t have to control everything and everyone. The universe becomes a loving place instead of a human version of Whack a Mole, with unexpected impossible challenges.

Little by little, you release a bit more and become more aligned with what’s true.

Spiritual Awareness and Adele

image

Ok, the title is a stretch. I have been listening to Adele’s Hello, mostly because it’s played everywhere. I realized how great a lesson it is in egoic love, and in how beliefs shape everything. 

Hello, it’s me, I was wondering
If after all these years you’d like to meet to go over everything
They say that time’s supposed to heal, yeah
But I ain’t done much healing”

It initially sounds like the character voicing this is offering a chance for closure and maybe to make amends. With the line about not having healed, it’s clear that the  character voice is actually looking to have her/his own needs met. There is nothing wrong with that so far. But as the song progresses, it takes on a sense that the character voice is desperate: “It’s no secret, That the both of us are running out of time”.  Now we have moved into egoic love and a little bit of manipulation.  I am not sure I would take her/his calls either.

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I’ve tried 
To tell you I’m sorry, for breaking your heart
But it don’t matter, it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore”

Those lines blend wanting to make amends and support letting go with blame and resentment that the Other has been able to do what the character voice has not: heal, let go, move on.

image

At the spiritual level, we also see how the character voice has constructed reality. She/he has believed things on behalf of the Other and is suffering because those beliefs are not real. She/he believed the Other was suffering, possibly as stuck as she/he is, and that maybe if they talked something would change. That “something” could be healing on the part of the character voice, or possibly there is a hope of getting back together. There is a feeling of being rejected – even after the character voice suggests she/he did the original breaking up and broke the Other’s heart.

If we need help realizing how our beliefs seperate us from what is, this song touches on that well.  The song is filled with the longing and grief and sadness that being separate from what is causes. The words reinforce that happiness depends on circumstances,  depends on Others  being as we wish them to be, and that our experience is the responsibility of someone else. (I love Adele even though her song lyrics are a celebration of codependency. Even Adele admits she doesn’t listen to her own music.)

I am grateful for this song. It became a mirror for me this week. I became aware that I am happy as I am. Totally happily, contentedly loved as I am today in many, many forms. Because happiness comes from being with what is. There is no circumstance that defines my happiness. My happiness is with me.

Thanks Adele.

My Self Reclamation Project

When you have been hurt, it can be natural to avoid things that remind you of that hurt. My dog won’t go near a toy that startled him. My daughter avoids opening soda cans since she cut herself on one. And I stopped doing alot of my favorite things because I could relate them to past relationships. 

image

It was easy to justify. My spiritual path was about letting go of attachments so clearly it was ok to let go of these activities as part of my past. It was part of letting go of Self. Wasn’t it?

Probably not. It was spiritual hijacking by the ego to protect the ego. 

Over the last year, I have actively and deliberately done things that were associated with emotional pain. What I learned was what the false beliefs were that were attached to each of them.

image

I had avoided certain trips because I thought it would be lonely to travel without a partner. It’s not. I had avoided certain Christmas traditions because I thought they would trigger feelings of loss. When I experienced them NOW, not loaded with the past, they were beautiful not painful.

Freedom from the mind is so full of light. And since this is the Season of Light, I am drinking it in.

You Think Too Much

image

A man I was close to used to tease me when I asked what he was thinking by replying “You think too much!” As a person responsible for strategic planning and long term impacts of things, it seemed like an inevitable occupational hazard.

In time, I have learned that we do not control whether thoughts arise or not – they just do, and we decide to attend to them or not.  We decide to give them energy and go along with them, or not. We decide to believe them, or not.

Thoughts arise against the backdrop of our consciousness all the time.  They arise without prompting by us.  In fact, I dare you to cause a thought right now.  I challenge you to stop thoughts arise for more than a few seconds.

“The human condition is characterized by a compulsive and obsessive personal relationship to thought. At its best, thought is a symbolic representation of reality; at its worst, thought takes the place of reality. Our thoughts describe and interpret both the external world and our internal experiences. To conceive of a life lived any other way is incomprehensible to most people. Thought tells us who we are; what we believe; what is right and wrong; what we should feel; what is true and what is false; and how we fit into this event called “life.” We literally create ourselves and our lives out of thought. Further, we associate the end of thought with sleep, unconsciousness, or death. It is this very personal relationship with thought that is the cause of all the fear, ignorance, and suffering which characterizes the human condition, and which destroys the manifestation of true Love in this life.”  – Adyashanti

I have learned that when I believe my thoughts I suffer, but when I question them, I don’t suffer. It’s not reality that makes us suffer; it’s our thoughts about reality.  Normally, it is thoughts that suggest that things should be different from what I am experiencing that causes suffering.  As Byron Katie says “When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100% of the time.”

There is no doubt that I am in silence much more than ever before in my life.  It is not an external silence.  It is not even a quiet mind. I am in the silence behind all of that.  I use thoughts as a way of noticing they occur within the “ever-present, silent-still-source that not only precedes thought but surrounds it”. – Adyashanti

Do I think too much? No, not really.  It is all part of the pathway to something greater: ” What I am talking about is a condition where the mind never fixates; where it never closes; where it has no compulsive need to understand in terms of ideas, concepts, and beliefs. A condition where you are no longer referencing the mind, feelings, or emotions for security in any way. What I am talking about is the complete surrender of all separateness until liberation becomes a permanent condition, and you are forever lost in the freedom of the Absolute.” – Adyashanti

Don’t Poke My Ego!

Have you ever been talking to someone – friend, loved one or new acquaintance – and when you hit a particular topic they go from present and kind to being a defensive maniac? We sometimes call this hitting their triggers.

For me, my triggers are deeply held values, as well as unconsciously held false beliefs. Some false beliefs are “I do it all myself” or “I should always meet others expectations”. Those are easy to trigger and possibly easier to identify. They even sound silly. But when it comes to values – well, we value them!
image

A few of my deep values are responsibility and integrity.  When I unpack them, there are subtle ego issues there. Responsibility implies control – we can only  be responsible for what we control.  If we are in control wouldn’t we always chose to be loving and present? So can we really be responsible?

Integrity is about being in alignment. It means that our actions are consistent with our intentions and our words. But this also suggests that we are always aware and always in control enough for integrity to occur. As someone who values integrity, practices awareness and aims for alignment,  I can think of nearly daily instances where I was not in integrity.

For example, I have a friend whose views on sexual relationships are different from mine. He has a roving eye. In the past I have teasingly called him a slut.  Recently when we were discussing being able to be open with each other,  I smugly pointed out that I was one of the most loving people out there! I was shocked (ego break) when he was dubious. Immediately all the ways I did not embody love with him flooded into my awareness. I was sorrowful for what I co-created with him.

All of a sudden, I am aware that even my values are ego patterns. They allow me to justify how I see the world. They cause me to suffer.  More importantly, they keep me separate from reality. 

I can honestly say I am excited by triggers. Now they just point me to where I am holding myself apart from truth. Pretty cool.

To Love or Not to Love: When Fear Clouds Your Eyes

image

I had the opportunity to hear about the break up of a man I love and his long term partner.  I know that two people often describe their relationship and it’s ending very differently.  We feel the need to assign meaning to what was and to its ending.

I became aware of my fear and anger towards him. A day ago, I saw a strong and awake man. Now, I saw a man who left his partner in the same way the Magus moved away from me. I started to pull in and away. I did not, and currently still do not want to deepen with this man.

“The psyche is built upon avoiding this pain, and as a result, it has fear of pain as its foundation. That is what caused the psyche to be. To understand this, notice that if the feeling of rejection is a major problem for you, you will fear experiences that cause rejection. That fear will become part of your psyche. Even though the actual events causing rejection are infrequent, you will have to deal with the fear of rejection all the time. That is how we create a pain that is always there. If you are doing something to avoid pain, then pain is running your life. All of your thoughts and feelings will be affected by your fears.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

My practice this week, coincidentally, is on working with fear. This week has presented many fears. Financial challenges, romantic challenges,  feelings of failure.  I am at peace with all of them. All but one: my fear that I am not capable of love.

Often, I know I am loving.  And often I pull inside with fear and old patterns. Am I  as afraid to love as I am not to?

I don’t know. I am grateful to be with this experience and to know I am ready to take it on. And I am afraid, too.

“If you truly love someone, your love sees past their humanness.” –
Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Do I love myself enough to see past my humanness?  Can I love others this way too? What great defense stories I will have to release to be this love…