Wednesday, February 8, 2017

… we’re free when we are not afraid

When I see, the outside world is my idea of the outside world. My idea. And you have yours.
You can’t handle the Truth!”, says a character of an old movie.

Is that why not questioning too much can be the recipe for a normal, happily standard Life?

One of the most difficult things in being I would say is accepting the very little conscious of what we know. We don’t know that much do we? Where do we come from, where do we go after, why are we here, where/how did it all start?

And that's where Faith, Hope, can play an important part in our Life or not at all.

How can we have Faith that there’s real forgiveness, that there’s real Heaven, that there’s real OK, if most days we go through all Life’s wheel colours, from happy orange to sad grey.

We are always, always! measuring, comparing, fitting the pieces and trying to make sense, and we say that’s being open and free! we’re free when we can hold all the knowledge about something and choose! Really?

… we’re free when we are not afraid, when we’re in no rush or get stuck in self-exteriorized concepts.

We’re free when we give up trying to give things, actions, experiences, more meaning than what they have.

We are free when we stop asking Life for meaning and instead hear Life asking us what meaning do we want to give Life.

In sadness we might say:
I have nothing to expect from life any more.
Where’s an answer for that?

Viktor Frankl, the same person who wrote “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”  also writes:

What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.

(…) We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life — daily and hourly.

Life as expectations towards us, and we will be lead into them. We can choose to follow them or give up, be angry, but we will only be wasting time…


So pay attention towards what you focus your mind on. That's who you'll become.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Slow down...

On this time we’ve got left what can one do?
It’s and blunt question, but sometimes a necessary one to wake us up.

Life is short.

For many of us, the Ego steps in. “I’ve done this, and that, and so much”, but we’re lying to ourselves when we just list the things we’ve done, aren’t we? Do you feel satisfied with that answer… could it be that instead of thinking about what we’ve done, it would be more honest and valuable to state what we’ve learned?

Plato asked, "…why should we not calmly and patiently review our own thoughts, and thoroughly examine and see what these appearances in us really are?

How many of us feel that we are chasing a dream, a life goal that will give meaning to who we are? And despite the amount of “achievements”, that unrestful search can only provide some small temporary fixes.

We are what we do and say, we are what we choose, in sum, we are what we believe.
If you believe yourself to be broken, you will be broken.
If you believe you don’t have the courage, you will never have the courage.

What we believe we are…

So tell yourself, what do you believe in?

Yes we are conditioned by our experiences and lessons through life. At first its school (our parents words will resonate all through our life…), but then it’s up to us, to believe or not in what friends, neighbours, employers, books and travel agents say to us. We choose what we believe in.

But this concept of choice its far from being simple, isn’t it? When faced with a not so known crossroad, any certainty we thought we had can transform itself into the shape of a big question mark, and block our view.

Yeap, we were sure that we had the right path but then maybe we should think again, other people have chosen differently in the exact same situation, testimonies of the same choice have revealed to be unproductive, wrong even… yes, we were sure, but not anymore because we’ve lost the direction of where we wanted to go, we’ve lost the purpose of our travel… It’s not about which roads we choose to take, but the destination, right?
How many times do we need to remind ourselves of that?

It’s ok to be a bit lost, as long as you don’t give up of where you intended to go. Take different turns, explore, but don’t loose sight of that image that made/makes your heart smile.

So what do you believe with all your heart?

It’s a hard one. You can even argue that a lifetime is not enough to come up with an answer for this one, but if we just stopped for a bit and felt the sweet loving vibes we can feel when we think of our dreams and hopes, we could maybe get closer to understanding what we truly believe.

But we choose to be busy. We choose to be in a rush.

Busy is a decision… You don’t find the time to do things — you make the time to do things.
_
Jonathan Fields

Think about what it means to be busy, in such a delicate and temporary life.
Really? We have this amazing opportunity of being alive and we rush over life?

Do you choose rush? Do you believe in being busy?

I know why I’m afraid of stopping and look into my beliefs and life choices. Because I fear that I might not recognise myself in the clothes I’m wearing or the house I call home, but I also know that unless I decide to stop and ask for guidance I will always be believing in my fears and not in my heart.

Let’s not be afraid of admitting we took a wrong turn, instead, use that as a lesson learnt and useful in the future.

And instead of keeping ourselves busy, lets take the time to answer our doubts and fears. Let’s use our valuable time to answer these valuable questions, even greater ones like, are you only just body and mind?

More and more it’s repeated through out podcasts and articles that happiness, as we envision, is possible through a more focused state of mind. Not focused on our mind chatter and constant rumination, but focused on what we’re doing, be it at work or just when we’re telling that sweet bed time story to our kids. That “be here”, “be present” stuff. And you know how we can be focused and present? By slowing down…

Slowing down on our rush to do, go, buy, have, get, show. By stopping being busy and instead, being, enjoying, feeling.

Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act
_
Leonard Cohen













Saturday, December 24, 2016

That time of the year... Buying Love time.

And once again, here comes the emotional time of Christmas, and all the family, friends and gifts high expectations, plus the reviews and more expectations of a new start. Intense...

For me this was the worst year ever, but with an important side to it: questioning everything I knew without getting angry or frustrated, but instead, with an attitude of love. Simple, gratitude based Love.

Love is really the only right answer...

Love is brave (hate is cowardness)

Only Love can calm us down... we should spend more time in that space, Love space.
We should get used to feel/be in Love
Not being afraid of getting hurt, or losing false ideas of ourselves.
Seeing with an attitude of healing. Can I help healing you or me?

We could get used to the feeling of being in Love...
Forgiving through understanding and Love.

"Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet"
_
Bob Dylan

Christmas reminds us of being closer, of thinking more like a family, a big family. Of being one. Humanity as one.

Please Love... and not just yourself. Feel your surroundings, feel the birth of a word, a gesture. Everything matters. One simple word can do so much...

"Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?"
_
Bob Marley

Let's be brave and fall in Love...


Monday, December 5, 2016

The wound

... we are all part of a big plan, or chaos, or something, but we are all in this together. When we ignore someone we hurt them deeply, or we hurt ourselves for not paying attention.

To be present it's not only to be in your own little and superficial world, it means to be alive, to see, hear, feel... and be there, to be there (for a friend, to help, to hear, share, etc...)


The Wound from Anna Budanova on Vimeo.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

... In a slow paced, close and warm manners, Cohen speaks about his search in Life for that feeling of connection with world, with others. Music, writing, meditation allowed him to enter those states of belonging and a sense of purpose in Life, as did alcohol and drugs too.

Some parts of David remnick interview for The New Yorker:

"(...) At a certain point, if you still have your marbles and are not faced with serious financial challenges, you have a chance to put your house in order. It’s a cliché, but it’s underestimated as an analgesic on all levels. Putting your house in order, if you can do it, is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable.

I have a deep tribal sense,” he said. “I grew up in a synagogue that my ancestors built. I sat in the third row. My family was decent. They were good people, they were handshake people. So I never had a sense of rebellion.

He didn't like to be labelled jewish or religious, but his songs do have that prayer enchantment. His view on God goes like this: "... God, in creation the world, dispersed itself. The Creation is a catastrophe. There are pieces of him or her or it that are everywhere, in fact. The specific task of the Jew is to repair the face of God. The prayers are to remind God that it was once a harmonious unity."

In his search for his place in the world he mostly preferred simplicity, less...

"The minimum environment that would enable you to do your work with the least distraction and the most aesthetic deliverance came from a modest surrounding. A palace, a yacht would be an enormous distraction from the project. My fantasies went the other way. The way I lived on Mt. Baldy was perfect for me. I liked the communal life, I liked living in a little shack.”

So we have a person who above all followed is dedication to Art; Love; God and Unity

"Does artistic dedication begin to touch on religious devotion?” he said. “I start with artistic dedication. I know that if the spirit is on you it will touch on to the other human receptors. But I dare not begin from the other side. It’s like pronouncing the holy name—you don’t do it. But if you are lucky, and you are graced, and the audience is in a particular salutary condition, then these deeper responses will be produced.

"(...) I know there’s a spiritual aspect to everybody’s life, whether they want to cop to it or not,” Cohen said. “It’s there, you can feel it in people—there’s some recognition that there is a reality that they cannot penetrate but which influences their mood and activity."

Listen to the Interview:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"Time is like a river that will take you forward into encounters with reality that will require you to make decisions. You can’t stop the movement down this river, and you can’t avoid the encounters. You can only approach these encounters in the best way possible."
_
Ray Dalio

How many of us repeat the same mistake, over and over... what is it that stops us from learning???

Lying to ourselves about it, covering it up with excuses, or fear of actually facing the solution to change...

The desire to grow and be a cool, fond person, is probably everyones strongest driving force, and so, we actually can only enjoy a job, a sport, a relationship, if we feel that it suits our perspective of becoming the smoothest "cool" version we can be. We have an innate satisfaction for getting better. 

So, the opposite side is that if we don't do anything about it, we live unsatisfied. No matter what /who we "possess", if it doesn't feel right, if there's no connection, we'll keep on searching.

Finding the thing that drives us takes time, because we need to learn and experience. No one is born with the ability to make good decisions, we all have to learn it, and in order to learn we definitely need to push our limits, and that's a process that is sort of painfully satisfying...

"Successful people understand that bad things come at everyone and that it is their responsibility to make their lives what they want them to be by successfully dealing with whatever challenges they face. Successful people know that nature is testing them, and that it is not sympathetic. 

In summary, I believe that you can probably get what you want out of life if you can suspend your ego and take a no-excuses approach to achieving your goals with open-mindedness, determination, and courage, especially if you rely on the help of people who are strong in areas that you are weak
."
_
Ray Dalio

Unfortunately there's too many people who try to prove that they have all the answers, even when they really don’t, so, whatever you find about yourself, remember, it's about and for yourself. We're all very alike, but no one is the same. The one thing we need to have in common to strive is being smartly brave. No more of that childish wishing and hoping behaviour, but smartly challenging yourself, taking risks and facing yourself in the mirror as you would look at your favourite person: proud, with love and with that deviant smile on your lips.



Sunday, November 20, 2016

On this time we’ve got left what can one do?
It’s a blunt question, but sometimes a necessary one to wake us up.

For so many of us, the Ego steps in saying proudly, “I’ve done this, and that, and so much”, but for some reason, internally, we’re not usually completely satisfied with that answer… could it be that instead of thinking about what we’ve done, it would be more honest and valuable to state what we’ve learned?

Plato asked, "…why should we not calmly and patiently review our own thoughts, and thoroughly examine and see what these appearances in us really are?

What is your core strength?

…”Looked objectively, your self-worth is essentially static: you’re worth the same as anyone else, no more and no less”, writes author Arno Ilgner, but because there have been important things/actions in our life that we consider as wins, self-achievements, we can feel some self-worth increase, but on the negative side, when we feel we have chosen poorly we can feel a real self-worth decrease.

So are we really the things we do?
Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act
_
Leonard Cohen

Or are we the lessons we learn in Life?
I’m not better or worse than you, but my choices can be, so what are our choices based on?
Experience.

We’re no more or less than anybody in the world, but our choices and the opportunity of having good mentors can define who we become.

Unfortunately we give it all to the Ego: I’m respected, followed, I’m part of this and that… but the Ego is so easily undermined by ways of thinking. The Ego needs highlights and victories and when it’s loosing it can still blame something else for it, creating traps and fantasies, distancing us apart from the reality we actually want to know and get closer to. The Ego continues to search for external proofs of its worth, external motivations.

So instead of self-achievement why not keeping the focus on self-growth. Which of the two do you think it gives you the confidence and motivation to continue?

When it comes to understanding what we might be in this amazing Universe, as a scientist recently put it, we’re like ants on the back of an elephant trying to figure it out by crawling on its back, and we know very little about ourselves, so who are we to judge others? Well, we can judge actions, and we can be inspired by others choices and achievements.

Some of us search it through meditation, sports, readings, food, hugs,. We all want that great feeling of being tuned into something, of having an internal motivation to learn, search, adventure. And that’s the best way to live life: playing and learning from it. Think of children playing, they totally forget about time, weather, clothes, needs. Playing envolves concentration, trial and error, getting to know our strengths and weaknesses, which in turn leads us into knowing what are our skills and how we can apply them. That is the best solid core one can have. To know yourself not through a fantasy Ego, but through a reliable knowledgeable self.

… but we have fears, fears that have to be faced and conquer, and that’s when playing becomes scary and we realize that there’s still a lot to learn about ourselves. One thing is certain, giving up will not bring us peace. Everything needs practice, even playing, and so, let’s face our fears, lets train and practice them. Let’s gain a conscious idea of what we’re really certain to know about ourselves and things, and instead of living in the land of “I believe I can fly”, let’s say, “I know I can’t fly, but there are planes or helicopters for that”.

Let’s go back to school and teach ourselves about ourselves, and on the playground explore! 


When it’s just simple entertainment we are searching for, then Art can lead us to that fictional Ego that makes us feel like rock stars, even in our old pijamas and poor stereos, as long it’s the right tune ; )


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Breaking the habit...

... Habits protect themselves by staying hidden or unconscious, but then, someone points them out to you, or you're caught in some embarrassing situation, and they're out, mirrored, as you realize you've been foolish, comfortably foolish for some time.

It's important to feel conformable, but it's disappointing to find out that you didn't prepare yourself for something really important because you chose same old same, the usual way. And it's disappointing and sad when it's gone and over.

Our Ego loves habits. It feels normal, and to feel normal is what we all search for when we're growing up. We just want to be normal, and only if we're lucky, maybe we can have something else special about us. And society loves Egos! Oh yes, Egos buy, depend and support other Egos. We are all fundamentally trained to equate our self-worth with our achievements. The greater achievements the more valuable you feel, the bigger the Ego gets, but this kind of self-value is so limiting. To achieve a goal it's great, and goals are key to keep us motivated and happy, but do you really think you're better than everyone else just because you did this and that? .. drop that need to be better than others. Accept you're one of many, and as so, treat yourself with respect and empathy as you would treat any other.

Try, instead of using all your energy to feed an hungry Ego, to learn how to use your attention, your focus. First realize where your attention is. What thoughts keep showing up, on repeat, what's your position in the world, presence, attitude? Stand back, witness yourself. And prepare yourself to be astonished by how little you' are aware of yourself. This is a small step for humanity, but a huge one to yourself. It's the only way you have to know what you believe in, what you stand for and where you're heading.

Dare to question the habitual, and be brave to uncover, undress all the layers you've been putting on to cover your real aims and dreams.

When we focus on the external outcome of our efforts, we're left at the mercy of chance. If things go well we're super happy, when we mess things up, frustration kicks in... make it instead a habit of focusing your effort in learning, just learning and growing with  that. Shifting from external towards internal motivation gives you the power to determine value and worth, which builds self-esteem which creates a solid core to feel confident, and with self-confidence comes Power. Power to break habits, to start again, to catch that big but beautiful wave.



Saturday, October 22, 2016

Let it be...

... what you say afterwards, does it matter? Yes. No.

Ask any scientist and they'll say to you that everything matters, from the largest things that we don't even consider as things, to the smallest tiniest speck of matter. So yes.

Ask a 6 year old and of course it matters! They didn't do it, it wasn't on purpose, they were sleeping the whole time...

Ask an elder and they'll say, with a big hidden sigh written all over their million face expressions, oh yes it matters a lot....

So, it matters... whatever you say or not say, do or hear afterwards matters.

Does this mean you'll get a second chance to change anything? Nop...

Ask the scientist, the kid or the elder, they'll all tell you, you do not get a second chance. Once it's done or said, that's it.

So why does that word even exist? After what?
We keep dwelling in the Past to change the Future.
There's no after, there's only now. Well, you've got the consequences and consequences do change things, but there's nothing you can to "un"change something. So as Lennon sang, "Let it Be ... Whisper words of wisdom, let it be. Let it be." One day we might get to understand the many "why's" in Life, but while we don't, let it be.

The same person that sang this also wrote a letter about meditation/prayer. Lennon writes...

"Transcendental meditation is not opposed to any religion — it is based on the basic truths of all religions — the common denominator. Jesus said: “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” — and he meant just that — “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” — not in some far distant time — or after death — but now.

Meditation takes the mind down to that level of consciousness which is Absolute Bliss (Heaven) and through constant contact with that state — “the peace that surpasses all understanding” — one gradually becomes established in that state even when one is not meditating. All this gives one actual experience of God — not by detachment or renunciation — when Jesus was fasting etc in the desert 40 days & nights he would have been doing some form of meditation — not just sitting in the sand and praying — although me it will be a true Christian — which I try to be with all sincerity — it does not prevent me from acknowledging Buddha — Mohammed — and all the great men of God. God bless you — jai guru dev.

With love,
John Lennon
"

Forget afterwards. You're here now. Afterwards is a continuum questioning, it keeps us on the verge of happening. We're all searching for the right path, direction, choice because ultimately we "just" want to be happy, to be ok, but... to be happy we need to drop afterwards behind and embrace optimism.. afterwards who knows??

"Most people measure their happiness in terms of physical pleasure and material possession. Could they win some visible goal which they have set on the horizon, how happy they could be! Lacking this gift or that circumstance, they would be miserable. If happiness is to be so measured, I who cannot hear or see have every reason to sit in a corner with folded hands and weep. If I am happy in spite of my deprivations, if my happiness is so deep that it is a faith, so thoughtful that it becomes a philosophy of life, — if, in short, I am an optimist, my testimony to the creed of optimism is worth hearing."
_
Hellen Keller

So let afterwards be and focus on what matters, you being here & now, with optimism.
There's good in the world.

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope."
_
Hellen Keller

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What if I am wrong...?

To lament that we shall not be alive a hundred years hence, is the same folly as to be sorry we were not alive a hundred years ago
_
Montaigne

When you ask yourself "what if I'm wrong..." any confidence you felt in yourself vanishes away. You could be climbing up a wall, you could be trying to comfort a friend or you could just be acting really bravely and questioning your Life choices, when suddenly you ask: what if I'm doing it wrong...

When you have nothing to loose it's alright be be humble and admit that you made a mistake, that you didn't know enough to make a good call on something, but when there's a strong possibility that you might get hurt from your misjudgment... glup... Because, hey, we are all wrong sometime/many times in Life. Wrong in the sense that you stood up for the wrong beliefs, the wrong feelings and dreams, wrong while judging how much your body or mind could handle.

When we take a look on things through the softening lenses of time, when we look back towards the past, it can hurt but it won't frighten us as it does when we're in the situation, when we realize, right there and then, that we miscalculated, you made the wrong choice

Well, so we start panicking! There are different levels to it, but what each of them has in common is the feeling of lostness, the "where's the escape button???" feeling...

How can we surpass this feeling?
How can we react with more calm and assertiveness to Life?

... Stop lying to yourself... if you believe in fairytales, be assertive on that, stand up for that. Have integrity on your words and show it in your actions. Get to know the risks, get to know what you're setting up yourself for, but then go and damn, give all you've got. Most of the times we've got more to give than we imagine.

If you're wrong you'll lose the grip, you'll fall and it will be a scary moment, but that's it, a moment. It will pass... Life is afterall a collection of moments, ups and downs, wins and losses... appreciate all of it, appreciate each opportunity you get to try again or change direction, "Our minds will create doubts–escape thoughts–when we are stressed. If we listen to these doubts we’ll tend to react and escape the stress by saying “take” or going down. In some cases like yes-fall zones we need to develop the ability to push through these doubts.", Arno Ilgner.


We all need big storms and rainy days to appreciate things we forget to do on those easy & sunny happy summer days.

As we accept these responsibilities, we grow to accept a great truth: life is difficult. Once we fully accept difficulty as natural and normal, we cease to be offended or daunted when we encounter a struggle or a test. We can embrace these tests as opportunities. Difficult experiences are the way we learn, and they also are the way we can appreciate ease. We understand brightness by its contrast to dimness, happiness by its relationship to sadness. By embracing this duality of experience, we allow ourselves to find peace within our difficulties rather than wasting our power on trying to escape them. We
_
Arno Ilgner, The Rock Warrior's Way: Mental Training For Climbers 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

On Silence...

Hey, what are you in?
What makes you thizz?

Uppers, Snow, Yayo, Dexies, Meth, X, Smack... Silence?

Yeah, this last one, believe or not, it can be a trip.

We hold on to life till our very last minute, even through a self inflicted death, I believe that the deepest intention behind such choice must be driven by an intense desire to live, to really live and no longer fear and hurt. When we get inebriated, anesthetized by some drug, we get to experience a divine connection with the world, one that drives us into a non-frontier existence, a non-me, a non-you, just being in pleasure, plenitude, which then drives us, and that's the dangerous part of it, into a state of no fear, of no survival instinct. That is why so many of us need to be on something, to drink or smoke.

Jacques Cousteau in his first dives experienced what he later called the "l'ivresse des profondeurs" (Nitrogen narcosis), a relief of anxiety, a feeling of tranquility and mastery of the environment. High altitude climbers have also described states of strange peace and dreamy psychosis caused by the lack of oxygen in the brain.

Through silence, solitude, you can and will experience this kind of deep emotional connection with the world. As if in a state of being drunk, you lose your identity and just are, with no real sense of location or time, heavy or light, no distinction between inside and outside. And it's only when one gets back to his personality, ego, that these states cease and things come back to normal. But a certain feeling of loss is felt...

We all search, some more intensively than others, for what the french call as "jouissance", from jouir which means to play with pleasure, enjoyment. It's not the same as entertainment, to be entertained while your attention is absorbed by something else, but exactly the opposite, to feel intensely our own existence, the grace of existing, to feel and almost grasp the grandiosity of the divine.

Whether you believe in God or not, we have all experienced something in life that goes beyond explanation, and it's impossible not to think that there's something greater than us when we simply watch a hawk hovering so quietly in the sky. Whatever catches your attention and leads you into drifting to nowhere's land, that's silence, that's prayer, the closest to the divine.

Try Silence...

Monday, September 26, 2016

On the feeling of guilt on living or not living enough

... we Live, we learn, that's what we are told as we grow up and it seems to make sense, to be true, but later, as we experience more than imagined, one does come to realize he learns to Live.

We need resources to Live and those are not only the basic ones: health through food and smartness/luck, but also to Live through the risk of believing and pursuing intimate ideas, also known as dreams.

All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our deep sadness, it's energy to exist.

To exist...
To have actual being; to be real.
To have life
To continue to be; to persist...

When sadness wins you over, one can feel guilty to exist, but also guilty for not fighting for living. Choosing to accept that to feel guilty is also to appreciate Life's immense value, helps turning sadness into a platonic love for all the experiences that happen to us, good or bad.

But here's the word, the concept, the thing we need and search our entire lives to feel we exist... be it platonic, dreamt, imagined, we need to feel Loved and Love.

"The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved"
_
Victor Hugo

In modern times...




Thursday, September 22, 2016

Learning more on how to Live...

The way to live is through Love.
"If a person you love comes in the same door 5 times, jump in happiness everytime, don't hold back..."


Denali from FELT  SOUL  MEDIA on Vimeo.