Tag Archives: 3principles

Leave It Alone

There is something far deeper in all of us than our thoughts, emotions, or sensations. Even the word ‘deeper’ doesn’t quite capture it – it is not only deeper but bigger, wider, clearer, wiser, calmer. This ‘something’ is the foundation of everything else that can be experienced and the ‘space’ in which it all takes shape and passes away. It comes before everything else that can be experienced and it stays during and remains after whatever is experienced. The ‘something deeper’ is our Sanity, our Wisdom, our Innate Intelligence.

I use capital letters because I want to distinguish what I’m pointing towards from the typical way we usually conceptualize the words ‘sanity’, ‘wisdom’, and ‘intelligence’. Usually, we define those words in personal ways, as if they say something about us or our personal, little brain. What I’m pointing towards is so much bigger than that. It is available to anyone and everyone who has ever taken form as a human being regardless of ability or disability.

If you’re like me, you’re probably asking ‘so, how do I get to it? What do I have to do to access this Sanity, Wisdom, Innate Intelligence?’ The answer is good news: nothing. We don’t need to do anything to access or ‘live from’ this something because it is what we are. All we need to do is leave our thinking, our emotions, our sensations alone. Do nothing with them. Nothing.

This can be tricky for us because we are taught to ‘manage’ or ‘change’ or ‘replace’ or ‘avoid’ much of our thinking, feelings, and sensations. We learn that there are ‘good’ thoughts/feelings/sensations and ‘bad’ thoughts/feelings/sensations and we attempt to keep the good ones and get rid of the bad ones. It is rare to find a person who learned that it is OK to just let everything be as it is without doing anything to it, for it, from it, or about it. The great secret to living a life of greater peace, compassion, and ease is to leave all of our thinking, feelings, and sensations alone.

What might this look like in daily life?

Just last night, I visited my 91 year-old mother as I do every day. As you can imagine, she takes a lot of medication and needs help managing it. I typically put all of her medications for the week – morning and night – in a pill caddy. This past week, I got off schedule and forgot to do it. Last night, I happened to look at the caddy and realized it was empty. I said, “Mom! I can’t believe I forgot to fill your meds. Why didn’t you tell me!?” She responded in a way that sounded (to me) helpless and needy – she is neither (beyond some physical limitations). My thinking really started racing with ‘why didn’t she tell me?’ and ‘how could I have forgotten?’ and ‘why does she have to act so helpless when she isn’t?’ (and many more thoughts critical of her and myself) and along with it came lots of uncomfortable emotions/sensations that I would describe as mainly irritation, frustration, sadness, and worry. As soon as I felt the discomfort, I did my best to just relax my body and mind and left all of the thinking and sensations alone. I just let them be and rested back in this openness that is completely present even in the midst of the storm of thought and emotion, just as the open, spacious, sky is always present even in the midst of black clouds, driving rain, lightning and thunder. I did NOTHING to, for, from, or about any of the thoughts or feelings. Just like clouds, in time, all of my thoughts and feelings about what had happened – which seemed so solid and real and ‘called for action’ – just dissolved like a fog burns off in the morning sun. All of this happened naturally and effortlessly by doing nothing!

There are only four basic actions we can take with any thought/sensation/emotion:
* grab hold of it and jump into the middle of it – making it seem real
* avoid it (oddly enough, this makes it seem real, too)
* try to change it
* leave it alone and just rest

See that your uncomfortable feelings or racing thoughts are really friendly reminders to leave everything alone for a moment. Do nothing. No matter how intense the feeling or convincing the thinking, leave them alone. I promise you that they will dissolve on their own – dissipate like a puff of smoke in a gentle wind – and you don’t need to do a thing for that to happen. What you will discover is this clear, open space from which you will be able to see clearly the next step that is most compassionate for all involved. Practice leaving your thoughts, emotions, and sensations alone and let me know what you notice.

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Reconnecting with Sanity

In the last post, I talked about the Principles and attempted to define them based on my current understanding. In this post, I want to talk a little about what seeing the Principles at work in our lives can mean for us and how it can help us reconnect with our own sanity and wisdom in real situations in our lives. Along the way, I want to point out some of the stumbling blocks that I’ve experienced in learning this understanding.

First, knowing about the principles doesn’t mean that we will always feel happy. At least, I can say that has not been my experience. We still experience lots of ups and downs. Sometimes our state of mind is up and sometimes it isn’t – we all experience those ups and downs virtually every day. There are some days that are more up than down and some days that are more down than up. We still sometimes feel irritated, bummed, angry, sad, worried, overwhelmed – the full catastrophe.

What it does mean is that we know that life is full of highs and lows and that those experiences are coming to us via our own thinking. We know that events in life aren’t inherently good or bad, happy or sad. We can see that our thinking about the event is what is creating our experience of the event in the moment – moment-to-moment – EVERY moment!

Second, knowing about the principles and seeing them at work doesn’t mean that everything always works out in our favor. Far from it. My bank account is not bursting at the seams, our house lacks curb-appeal, I could stand to lose 15 pounds, I am still bald, and I still drive a 13 year old Eurovan that needs new tires.

What it does mean is that we understand that these external events and things are not creating our experience of life. Our state of mind is creating our experience of life – and as our state of mind varies, so does our experience. When I’m in a good state of mind, I’m grateful for what I have, that my body is still working relatively well, and that my Eurovan still runs and I don’t have a car payment! When I’m in a low state of mind, well…suffice to say I am far less gracious and grateful and I see those events and things very differently.

Third, knowing about the principles and beginning to see them at work in life helps us understand that ALL of our experience is originating in our own thinking. Strong emotion and upset still comes, and sometimes it lasts longer than we prefer. Uncomfortable feelings do not immediately disappear when we experience them just because we know they are being created via Consciousness and Thought.

What it does mean is that we are no longer freaked out by strong emotion. We know where it is coming from and we know there is NOTHING WE NEED TO DO ABOUT IT! That is a very big deal. We don’t need to believe our thinking; and, we don’t need to believe that the strong, uncomfortable feelings are telling us something about our lives! They are telling us something about our state of mind and that’s it! What a relief that has been!

Knowing that all feelings are just feedback about our thinking and that they will settle on their own if we do nothing about them helps us not make (as many) really stupid moves in life attempting to correct/change something or someone ‘out there’ in order to manage the upset we feel ‘in here’. We know that if we just wait the internal, self-correcting mechanism that is standard equipment with every human being will activate and gently guide us back to neutral where we will be able to more clearly see the next sane, healthy step to take.

One of my clients – I’ll call her ‘Jane’ – showed up very agitated about a friendship. She was upset that her friend didn’t really attend to her in the way she attempted to attend to her friend. Her friend had done something that she interpreted as betrayal and she was loaded-for-bear and anxious to let her friend have it! She felt slighted, angry, betrayed, and sad all at the same time. Her thinking was running fast and furious and it was obvious to me that she was in a very low state of mind. I did nothing other than let her talk, and I did my best to not add any fuel to the blaze. Very near the end of the session, I could hear the momentum of her thinking slowing down and her state of mind began to rise bit by bit. She knows about the principles but really didn’t see how they had anything to do with what she was experiencing at that moment.

Suddenly, Jane’s eyes brightened, she looked at me and said, “Wait. This is all my own thinking. I’m feeling upset because of all of this yucky thinking right now! I don’t have any idea what my friend was really thinking when she did that – she may not have been thinking of me at all!” In that instant, she really saw the principles at work creating her own upset. She knew she needed to do nothing to get back to a more balanced state of mind – she was already reconnecting with her own sanity – in fact, she had never lost connection, it had just been covered up by her thinking.

We talked more and Jane understands that she will still want to have a talk with her friend about the situation. But, what a different talk it will be! As a result of understanding the principles at work, she’ll be able to have a heart-to-heart with her friend in a way that will allow both of them to feel heard and understood rather than attacked and defended.

Try it out for yourself. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy and natural it is to reconnect with your own sanity and wisdom. And, if you want help (shameless plug on the way…), please call or email me for an appointment.

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Connection, Intimacy, and Thought

Have you ever been with someone while they were talking with you and realized somewhere in the midst of them speaking that you haven’t heard anything that they said? If so, you’re not alone. I’ve done that more than I care to admit. Whether with a client, a friend, a coworker, or my wife Ami, I’ve had plenty of those “huh? whadja’ say?” moments.

What I’ve begun to see is that those moments destroy intimacy. They eradicate a feeling of connection. We all want a feeling of connection and intimacy in our lives, especially with those we love. I know I do. It’s a big part of what makes my life feel rich and worth living.

What has helped me most in my own life is seeing the connection between my thinking and the feeling of intimacy and connection with people in my life. When I began to see how my own speeded-up, noisy thinking was what covered up the natural connection and good feeling available to me all the time, my thinking began to slow down and ‘thin out’. The contents of my own thinking became far less important. As that has happened, I am naturally more present to the people in my life.

The good news is that feeling connected to and intimate with the people in our life is natural. That feeling is our Natural State. As we become more aware of the fact of our thinking in the moment, we are able to not give it as much attention. It’s like the rumble strips on the side of the road: when we run over them we know we are steering off course. When our thinking gets hurried, frenetic, effortful – we feel the effects of that because we are always feeling our own thinking.

Those uncomfortable, hectic feelings let us know we are steering away from the present moment. The yucky feelings aren’t there to hurt us; they are there to warn us that we are moving away from the moment where intimacy and connection reside. It is that thinking that drops a veil ‘over’ this moment.

As I’ve become more aware of the link between my thinking and the feelings it brings with it, I’ve found that I naturally steer back to the present and my life is so much sweeter ‘here’ than ‘there’!

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The Magic Card for Couples

I usually provide this on a pocket-sized card format to couples I’m seeing. They use it to stay pointed in the right direction between our meetings. I hope you find it useful. 

The Magic Card for Couples

-You are always feeling your thinking in the moment; you aren’t feeling ‘the relationship’.
-Your feelings are feedback about your state of mind in the moment; they are not feedback about the state of your relationship or about your partner.
-If you are in a low mood, that is exactly the WRONG time to have a ‘heart to heart’ talk or ‘make a point’ – have important talks when you are in a good mood/good state of mind
-When you are in a low mood, don’t trust your thinking about the relationship or your partner; don’t make decisions about anything from a low state of mind.
-When your partner is in a low mood keep what they say in perspective – remember it is coming from their low mood and is not the ‘truth’ about what they ‘really’ think and feel.
-You don’t need to do anything about a low mood; leave it alone and it will pass like storm clouds blow through the sky.
-Thinking changes on its own and it changes a lot all day, every day; just understanding that can make a huge difference in your relationship.
-If you think your partner is the problem, you are completely missing the point; if you look inside to your own thinking, you are on the right track.
-When you see problems in the relationship as coming from ‘out there’ you will tend to stay stuck longer; when you see your experience as coming from ‘in here’ you’ll tend to see solutions sooner.
-Low morale in the relationship isn’t caused by problems – problems are caused by low morale; and morale is 100% caused by our moment to moment thinking/state of mind.
-The way you see the relationship is ‘made up’ inside of you – it isn’t The Truth – and your thinking about the relationship and, therefore, how you see it will change on its own
-We all live in a world of thinking and it changes on its own – leave your thinking alone (especially your low-mood thinking) and it will change.
-In a low mood, ‘relationship problems’ appear; in a better mood we simply look at ‘portraits of circumstance’.
-You are the common denominator in all problems that you perceive – puzzling, huh?
-Quit trying to change your partner in any way at all.
-All human beings have their ups and downs in relationships – having trouble doesn’t have to ‘mean’ anything about your partner or your relationship.
-Appreciation and trust are possibilities just as real as problems
-Despite what it may look like, your partner wants to be a good mate just as much as you do.

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