Self Questioning

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“To have the courage to

Question one’s certainties, is

True courage.”

~ The Lost Writings of Wu Hsin translated by Roy Melvyn

Sit with this a while and see what comes up for you…

Bringing our awareness to the beliefs that we hold, and usually take for granted, is the first step in our personal growth and spiritual self inquiry. When we look inwards and question our thinking and assumptions, it opens up new perspectives and gives us the opportunity to learn about what has been unknown…. or what may never be discoverable in this life.

This venture into the unknown is a courageous path because the ego-mind will be alert for any conflicting views or threats to its long held position. The ego holds on to those beliefs that have become our certainties about life. It can keep us rigid, stubborn, critical and damning, or simply safe and stuck.

The choice is ours. To embrace the new or hold on to our certainties.

To those on the path of Yoga teacher training, take courage as you embrace what is beyond belief.

Namaste

 

Inspiration – Resisting

person wearing orange hoodie

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“It may look as if the situation is creating the suffering, but ultimately this is not so – your resistance is.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

Have you ever  had a reaction of “What do you mean I’m resisting? … They are the problem!”

We are all human beings with egos that are ready to duck and weave… push back and dismiss… defend or withdraw, in order to avoid feeling the pain of being wrong, not being accepted or not being good enough.

This is one of those seemingly simple statements from Eckhart Tolle that has a greater depth of meaning.

When we get frustrated and unhappy, instead of resenting what is happening to us, wishing things to be different and attacking the nearest bystander or ourselves for being stupid, we can step back with awareness.

We can ask ourselves questions such as “What is it that I am not accepting?” “What am I resisting?” Then “What can I do to change the situation?” (Bear in mind that you cannot change an other person, only yourself.) “What can I do differently here?” “Can I bring about change or accept the way things are”.

An other way to look at this is to recognize that the resistance is already within us. It’s usually in the beliefs that we hold about ourselves and life in general. When we come across something which threatens how we see the world, our ego will react to protect itself. We get triggered.

Every time we are triggered, it’s an opportunity to learn and to educate ourselves on what we hold dear to ourselves and our values. It’s also an opportunity to explore those beliefs and see if they are meaningful, or are based on early conditioning. Perhaps the other perspective is actually worth considering!

It really is all about us and our inner world.

When our ego defends and attacks the outer world; when we blame the other and create enemies in our mind; when we become judge and jury for everything that doesn’t comply with our thinking, then it is time to stop, take a few deep breaths and begin to search inside ourselves.

Self inquiry is the work of our lives.

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