Growth and Happiness

We all want to grow and become something ….. it seems to be a part of being human. Yet, what is that all about?

Some of us want to be successful in the eyes of others.
Others keep looking for the perfect partner, house, career, experience etc.

Some of us have a need to assert who we are and let go of the constraints of the past.
Others are drawn to acknowledge and appreciate all that has been, and the people who have supported them to where they are today.

Most of us want to be happy, but are bemused and confused at how elusive happiness can be.

I don’t have the answers, but what I do know is this. When we shift from looking for happiness outside of ourselves and start to question who we are, and what we have taken for granted, we are actually opening up a part of ourselves that has been hidden.

This part within us is yearning to be noticed. To be heard.
It may not be ready to be heard by our parents, siblings, partners or colleagues, but we must listen to it.

Honor and love this part of you.
This is who you truly are.
Let it flourish and grow.

What Makes Someone “Difficult”?

highly sensitive person

source: Pinterest

“What makes someone difficult?   Essentially, it’s their energy. We don’t have to be students of quantum field theory or Buddhist metaphysics to sense how much the energies around us affect our moods and feelings.  What makes someone tough for you to take? Basically, it has to do with how your energies interact with theirs.

Every one of us is at our core an energetic bundle. What we call our personality is actually made up of many layers of energy — soft, tender, vulnerable energies as well as powerful, controlling or prickly energies. We have our wild and gnarly energies, our kindly energies, our free energies and our constricted, contracted ones.

These energies, expressing themselves through our bodies, thoughts, and emotions, and minds, manifest as our specific personality signature at any given moment. What we see on the surface, in someone’s body language and facial expressions, is the sum of the energies that are operating in them. As we speak, its the energy behind our words that most deeply impacts others.

The beginning of change, then, is learning how to recognize and modulate our own energy patterns. The more awareness we have — that is, the more we are able to stand aside and witness our personal energies of thought and feeling and (rather than identifying with them) the easier it is to work with our own energies. This takes practice. Most people don’t start out with a highly developed awareness of their own energy or the way it impacts others — and even fewer of us know how to change the way our energies work together.”

~ Sally Kempton

This except from an article by Sally Kempton at Awkin.org caught my attention. There is wisdom here, and an opportunity to expand our insight into our energies and how they impact us and those around us.

Its easy to sense a “difficult” person, but do you have insight into how we may be “difficult” too? 

And when you realize your energy is impacting others negatively, are you able to modulate your own energy patterns?

I pondered these questions for myself, and came up with a resounding “I’m not sure”.

There is an old saying “It takes one to know one”. We see in others what we like and what we don’t like in ourselves. That difficult person’s energy is connecting with the same energy within ourselves.

Negative interactions become an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, and also to modify our own energy patterns.

Modifying our energy patterns is something that most of us have already experienced as we go through life.

Think of when you are feeling stressed out. What is the best way for you to let it go and feel better? It can be going for a run or a walk in nature, rolling out your yoga mat, reading a book, painting, playing an instrument, journaling, blogging or simply opening the Reader on WordPress.

These practices help the negative energy transform into something positive, so that it moves through you.

Awareness is the first step. Noticing how we are reacting to someone else’s energy, and how it is sparking the same energy within us.
Rather than reacting to what’s “wrong” with them, step back and consider what they may have touched within you. This can give you valuable insight into how you may be also be difficult to others.

 

 

Authentic Being

 

find your middle ground

“When you don’t play roles, it means that there is no self (ego) in what you do. There is no secondary agenda: protection or strengthening of your self. As a result your actions have far greater power. You are totally focused on the situation. You become one with it. You don’t try to be anybody in particular. You are most powerful, most effective, when you are completely yourself.”

~ Eckhart Tolle taken from A New Earth

It sounds straightforward enough, but it isn’t easy to become completely ourselves. It requires self inquiry and awareness of our thoughts, beliefs and how we interact with others.

So often, we let others define who we are in life. In our relationships, we take on roles all the time…. the good mother, the caring friend, the perfect daughter, the hard working employee, the life and soul of the party, the trend setter …

We then become attached to this image of how we think we should be, and lose our authentic self along the way.

To reveal our authentic being, we must learn to let go of how we define ourselves in this world. We must learn to pause and really focus on what is happening in that moment, without judgment.

In being present we find our Presence.

 

Inspiration – the Middle Way

Middle way

I am delighted to share this story from a very special mindfulness teacher, Jonathan Foust. His website has many resources and free podcasts and audio meditations. This story shows us what the Middle Way is.

I love his practical approach and the two questions for self inquiry in our practice of mindfulness.

“I quit,” a young man announces to his meditation teacher.
“You’re nothing but contradictions,” he continues. “You tell one person to work harder, sit up straighter and sit longer. Then the next person you encourage to sit in the sun and drink tea. What the heck are you teaching?”
The teacher smiles and responds:
“I teach ‘the middle way’ — cultivating that place that is not too tight and not too loose.
If someone is unfocused and scattered, paying close attention to the here and now brings them back into balance. If someone is too clenched and dour, they may benefit from relaxing and letting go.”
A big element of mindfulness practice is a form of self-diagnosis. You can ask variations of these two questions:
  1. What is happening right now?
  2. How does this moment want me to be with it right now?
Are you experiencing the profound dissatisfaction of feeling scattered or over-emotional or you have lots of ideas but can’t get started on any one of them? Concentration practices may help you gather your attention and bring about a sense of calm and centeredness.
Too wound up? Feeling grim, tight or judgmental? You may find investigating relaxation practices and meditations that cultivate spacious and compassionate awareness help reset your system.
The more you practice and study the more you become, as my friend Pat Coffey says, a “contemplative artist.”
In any moment you can self-diagnose and respond to the moment with greater wisdom and compassion.
I wish you well into the new season.
Jonathan

May you have a not too tight, and not too loose day.

Namaste

Inspiration – One Step

“Your inner journey only has one step: the step you are taking right now.

As you become more deeply aware of this one step, you realize that it already contains within itself all the other steps as well as the destination.

This one step then becomes transformed into an expression of perfection, an act of great beauty and quality. It will have taken you into Being, and the light of Being will shine through it. This is both the purpose and the fulfillment of your inner journey, the journey into yourself.”

– Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

I needed this reminder today.

May we all step into the beauty that is in each moment of awareness.

Namaste

Living your Dharma

“It is better to strive in one’s own dharma than to succeed in the dharma of another. Nothing is ever lost in following one’s own dharma. But competition in another’s dharma breeds fear and insecurity.”

~ Lord Krishna in The Bhagavad Gita

The content of the Bhagavad Gita consists of a conversation between Krishna, the  manifestation of the Lord, and the warrior prince Arjuna before the start of the Kurukshetra war. Krishna is advising Arjuna as he hesitates and is full of doubt about going to war against his cousins. Krishna reveals to Arjuna that his dharma is being a Warrior. The Gita points the way to following the yogic path of living in harmony with universal laws as we strive to live our highest truths.

Middle ground

Photo by Joshua Earle

Dharma comes from the Sanskrit dhri, which means “to support, hold up or bear.”

The word means many things, but according to Eknath Easwaran, dharma “implies support from within: the essence of a thing, its virtue, that which makes it what it is.”

On a larger scale, dharma means “the essential order of things, an integrity and harmony in the universe and the affairs of life that cannot be disturbed without courting chaos. Thus it means rightness, justice, goodness, purpose rather than chance.”

In essence, we all have our own “dharma” or purpose and reason for being alive. As Krishna states in the Gita, following someone else’s dharma brings insecurity. If you live your life trying to impress others and not fulfilling what you’re here to do, you will suffer.

In yoga teacher training, we were asked to contemplate what our personal dharma was. For me, it took some time for the wisdom to be come to the light of day.  I journalled and asked myself what was it that I have always lived by. What was beyond the roles I played in life and the jobs I had had. What gave my life meaning and purpose….

I discovered that my dharma was to “learn, grow and share”. This is what I have always done, and will always do. Yep – if I was on the TV series Survivor I would be doing it. It fills me with joy and gives my life meaning. It is my authentic path.

Have you considered what your dharma is in this life? Take time to let this question settle in to the deepest part of your being.

Then consider – Are you living your dharma? Or struggling to fulfill someone else’s ideas about who you should be and what you should do?

Namaste

Pondering – Wake Up

wake up

“To awaken means to awaken out of the self-talk in the head because the self-talk is a form of hypnosis – self hypnosis.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

With awareness of  self talk, comes inquiry. What is your self talk telling you these days? Where is it guiding you?

Is it massaging fears… helping you cope with life’s challenges … or creating more stories and fantasies to get hooked on?

Be aware … and wary … of the stories you tell yourself.

Don’t be a somnambulist in your own life.

Wake up from the self talk in the head.