The Friday Dose #129: Mindfulness

1013-fd-relax-and-succeed-resistance-is-futileStaying vigilant about our thinking can be a challenging thing. My accident gave me a huge advantage in that there was a distinct separation between me and my thinking, but I know when I jam the two together that they feel like one thing, so I suspect that’s what it feels like for everyone else most of the time. As ephemeral as it is, all I really do in my work is create some distance between souls and egos.

One way to create some distance and to slow down that process is to study it closely and break it down into its component parts. It’s like a drummer learning a new beat. You have to do it super slowly, super slowly and then build the wiring and build the wiring until you can go faster and faster and faster until it’s natural.

Since our mental health is tied to us accepting rather than resisting the universe as it is, a good candidate for study is complaining. Complaints are pure resistance. They’re either internal resistance thoughts, or spoken external ones, but they’re resistance either way. A man recently tried going only 21 days without complaining and he found it very difficult. That said, he also did notice a shift in himself in only those 21 days. I would suggest that this would be a beneficial process for everyone to undertake.

Here’s a link to an interview with the author, and here’s Michael J. Fox on how your circumstances can appear worse than average and yet your life is better than average. It’s really only a question of how much resistance you choose to produce.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone because, despite your genuine challenges, in many ways you’re still more fortunate than a lot of the world. Enjoy that.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

The Big Lie

What’s the big lie? It’s that nice car where the payment is killing you but it leads your friends to think you’re not in the struggling group. And your ego is happy to have it concealed. Maybe you have nice clothes and makeup and hair, but also a back-breaking credit card bill, or exotic holidays that are added to your line of credit. All of that looks great on social media but it’s also what keeps you running on that treadmill. Still, that’s probably better than the rest, who aren’t into cars or fashion or travel but they are running because of cancer, a divorce, a disease or a lawsuit.

Since the housing crisis almost a decade ago, around the world many people are struggling with the downturn. A lot of good people worked very hard for years and now they’re exhausted, broke, they’re losing everything and they can’t even figure out where to turn in their white flag to surrender. They literally wonder where their life went. Certainly having a positive, abundant attitude will help a great deal in finding solutions, but we must look for our solutions in spiritually sound ways.

I heard a guy who wrote a book on happiness on the radio yesterday and he stated that everyone has a dream inside them and that everyone can make their living doing something worthwhile and fulfilling if they just approach finding it the right way. This has become a very popular idea and the implication is this choice would carry you safely and happy into your later years. I’ll agree that we should lead inspired lives, but that’s where I depart from most other people on what’s real. In fact, I would argue that selling that idea is part of what’s causing the suffering we’re seeing today.

1012-relax-and-succeed-tibetan-proverbYes, you could write a book that sells a million, but there was a reason that novelist was listed as one of the most over-rated jobs by Forbes. That’s just one book. There’s very few writers who string several together. You might write a great app–that happens all the time. It also doesn’t happen the vast majority of the time and that’s okay because you’ll likely find more happy people at simple jobs than at impressive or powerful ones.

As Paul McCartney said about what he’d do if he wasn’t a musician; “I’d be a gardener or a carpenter.” That’s wise. Those people do their time, don’t think about it too much and then go home with a clear head and no one texting them from work at 11pm. They sleep well and they have the energy to put into dreams that have nothing to do with money.

My Dad just shingled roofs most of your life. It’s hard work but it’s honest and it keeps you in shape. He was happy to provide for his kids. He took actual active pride in that. He didn’t feel badly for what we didn’t have, he was pleased that he gave us a stable home with no violence–which is something he didn’t have.

1012-relax-and-succeed-the-real-giftIn this world there are bad stone-cutters, there’s true craftsmen and there’s Michelangelo. Dad was a craftsmen. The first two aren’t failed attempts at the third. The first is either inexperienced or in the wrong job, the second’s day is made up of their focus, which is why they can be admired by other stonecutters. It’s only Michelangelo’s fame that makes us feel like he’s a pinnacle, but we have to remember he was forced to build a church he didn’t want to build for a Pope he didn’t like. It’s not like that fame bought him more time with his stone angels, rather it took him away from them.

Rather than look for a lofty dream or something big or profound or impressive, try making everything you do profound with your presence. I watched my Dad often at work, and unlike a lot of workers you never saw him muttering to himself about anything; how he wished the past had gone, how he hoped the future would go, or how he felt the present moment was treating him personally. He just nailed shingles.

Maybe that doesn’t seem like much, but that quiet mind and focus added up to peaceful days, a happy man and a wonderful father, and those are extremely fulfilling things that will please you far more than fame or wealth on the day you die. So don’t feel lesser if your work isn’t shiny and impressive. What matters is that you’re fully focused on the doing of it, because when my Dad shingled he wasn’t excited or inspired, he was truly Zen. He simply chopped wood and carried water and he didn’t think too much about it. And as it turns out, that is actually what real success looks like.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

A Reasonable Relationship

1011-relax-and-succeed-the-happiest-people-i-knowWe must abandon our hopes and expectations and trade them for reality if we hope to flow better and with less resistance. Particularly now more than ever, everyone is on guard 24/7 with people jumping on them the moment they slip; use the wrong word, make a false statement, or even display an emotion that the other person chooses not to approve of.

It’s no wonder people feel on edge. There have never been more things in this world that are unacceptable. We are all judging each other quite harshly and we’ll always have a defence for how our judgment is actually valuable, even though it’s us in our personal reality that’s having that experience, not others. Two people can stand at a party listening to someone they just met and one can hate them and one can love them. Our judgments aren’t the world, they’re just ours personal thought-created reality.

As a perpetrator you know this as blame. As a victim you know this as a lack of acceptance. But that’s a cycle you’re participating in and you have total control over it. These feelings emerge directly from thinking about what you have and then comparing that to what you got. You not only judge and separate, you compare and value things, so you’ll say things like, “But that’s not as bad as the time you….” It’s like it’s a competition of who behaves better and there’s some scoreboard somewhere.

If your spouse comes home from work angry every single day then they either need to change their job or change their attitude. But if they come home from work and they’re occasionally upset, your job isn’t to explain to them what acceptable is, nor is to demand that behaviour immediately and yet that’s what most people do. “Don’t yell at me! I’m not your damned boss!”

You know what? In the fictitious made-up-of-our-thoughts world of social mores and good behaviour you’re right; they are acting out of sync with what most of us have defined as the healthiest behaviours or reactions, but the healthiest somehow became absolutes. They became expectations, then demands, and then eventually we go past behaviour being unacceptable to where actual people are deemed unacceptable. It’s why everyone works their entire life to just try to get one parent–even if they’re dead!–to respect them.

Everyone’s desperately trying to get back to acceptableness, to connection, to love. The sometimes angry spouse is made unacceptable at work, they come home to seek some solace and instead they are told they are unacceptable there too. And we wonder why marriages fail.

1011-relax-and-succeed-being-with-someone-doesnt-meanBut what if instead of judging everyone, we just stayed aware of what’s happening? And what if our aim wasn’t to be right, or to have expectations of being treated a certain way, or to get someone to see it your way, and what if our aim was peace? What if in every situation we only asked, what would make this situation better? Not the person, the situation. Depersonalise it.

Obviously this does not extend to someone allowing people to beat or regularly mistreat them. We don’t want a bunch of weaker people just being slaves to stronger ones. But in most relationships people aren’t getting physically beaten or even emotionally scarred by big problems about big issues. Most relationships die the death of a thousand small cuts.

If we have peace as our objective the scene plays out this way:

“If I have to work another day for that idiot I’m gonna kill myself! He gets me to spend 90% of my day on the thing he asked me to do and then later he bitches at me because some entirely different thing didn’t get done. There’s not three of me!! What the hell does he expect me to do?! And what, I’m supposed to read his mind?”

1011-relax-and-succeed-when-another-personThe person approaches with warm, open physical language and maybe embraces the person. Maybe they shrug you off, but you’re not judging their reaction, you’re seeking peace. You just shift their thinking away from their boss and onto something more peaceful and positive. And keep in mind, sometimes that’s just silent, genuine compassion. Trust me, they’ll see it in your eyes.

“Oh I’m sorry he put you through that. That’s a terrible feeling. I remember feeling like that when they transferred me to accounting.

This breeds connection and empathy. They feel you hear them; that you understand. You’re now sharing the pressure they’ve been feeling so it immediately feels better. Keep in mind, it might take four tries to get there. But you can’t see it as trying, these have to be very honest responses each time in that moment. Those responses will come naturally if you don’t think about what you want (better behaviour) and instead think about what they need (to feel cared for), because one will naturally lead to the other.

You can’t argue people into reasonableness and you can’t argue them into a good mood. You cannot conduct a relationship in the world of thought because we feel the world as an emotional experience. You have to help the world feel good. A good marriage is just two people who always want the other person to feel good. If you look at almost any marital problem, it’ll be because someone is placing their fears ahead of the other person’s joy. We can do that for a short time, but you can’t make a marriage of that.

1011-relax-and-succeed-patience-and-kindnessStop trying to be right. Start understanding that you give your spouse the same challenges they give you, just in different ways. Take your next lineup and use it to meditate on how you like being responded to when you’re upset. Then consider your partner and ask yourself what their version of that is; maybe you want to your feet massaged and they want to go out for dinner. It doesn’t matter which love language you use as long as it fits the person you’re dealing with.

Ask yourself what makes you feel better when you’re down or feeling victimised. Look at your past and how you’ve reacted to your partner in a similar situation and be honest enough to ask if there would have been a tactic that would have worked better. Because in many cases marriages don’t break up because the people changed, they end because they people developed too many judgments and they traded those for their compassion.

Relationships should be founded on compassion. Before anything else, you should just basically care that that person’s life experience is rewarding. There’s no better way to improve a relationship than to think about the other person instead of yourself. So ask yourself, the next time your partner is upset, will you contribute to them feeling better, or will you judge them and make that harder?

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

Stolen Happiness

Scott’s tied up in a burlap bag, bound and gagged. I know this because I did it to him. I’m Stella, Scott’s evil twin. All of his stupid positiveness drives me nuts. I’m taking over. Let’s face it; life is crap and we all know it. There’s no getting out of this alive, it’s just a matter of how long and how badly you suffer until then.

I had some crook bilk me out of $400 last year. $400! Scott figures I should forgive that guy by forgetting about him. Screw that. I think about that jerk every day all day. I imagine how I’d get my revenge, I think about who could have stopped him so I can be mad at them too, and I imagine my life if it never happened and the comparison is agony, so no one can tell me that thief didn’t ruin my life. Just look at all of that!

The whole thing just stresses me out. Scott says I should change my focus so that I’m not giving myself stress-chemicals. Well maybe that’s what they’re for! Yeah, I know I’m not being chased by a sabre-toothed tiger, but maybe this exam for work is today’s version of a tiger. Don’t tell me I’m not stressed. I can list every single reason why.

1010-relax-and-succeed-lifes-not-fairIt’s not like I can look forward to a brighter future either. If anything it’ll probably get worse. Someone in my family must have broken a lot mirrors or walked under a lot of ladders because I’ve been plagued by bad luck all my life. Or maybe I just have more people stabbing me in the back. It’s not like you can trust people.

Scott believes you’re better to bet on the goodness in people, that it’ll lead to a better life than the opposite. Yeah sure. I’ll just assume this guy walking down the street isn’t a rapist. What’s he doing on this street? Why’s he walking? I know he’s a neighbour but he’s a creepy one. Look at him. He’s smiling. See? Creep. He just comes home from work and watches TV. There’s probably bodies in the basement or in jars somewhere.

Nope. You can’t risk dying just for some stab at a good life. Then it’s over. Then what? Then you have zero opportunity to actually get that good life you’ve been waiting all this time for. You don’t want to die bungee jumping or learning to fly or by asking someone to dance. Better to wait for the good luck others get. Once you have that you can start your life. For now it’s just too risky out there. You might lose some face.

1010-relax-and-succeed-12-symptoms-of-a-spiritual-awakeningScott claims our feelings of being hurt are some kind of interpretation we do with personal thinking. Interpretation? I don’t care if I was being treated badly, I still got dumped; I don’t care that I wasn’t home when it happened, someone robbed me; and I don’t care if I found out I’m cancer-free, I can’t believe they worried me so much with all of that unnecessary testing. People should show me more respect!

You can see why the world’s so crappy. The reasons are laying all over the place but you don’t see anyone doing anything about it. No one cares. The idiots. If they had half a brain they’d have some compassion. Well screw them. They’re in this sinking, stinking boat too. I can’t wait for it to sink. I just want to go to sleep. I find thinking about all this just so exhausting.

Here’s hoping your day isn’t as bad as mine’ll probably be.


Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

Weirdos in Love

1009-relax-and-succeed-were-all-a-little-weirdMaybe you both like wear costumes and go to Comicons. Maybe you’re both covered in piercings. Maybe you spend your Saturday nights together doing advanced mathematics. Maybe one of you is a 40 year old size 18 who genuinely loves Justin Bieber and maybe the other is an Elvis impersonator for retirement homes. Maybe what you do is kinky….

You can geek out on cars, computers, fish, books or games etc., or maybe you’re one of those weird guys who works in an office where you wear dead alligators on your feet and you tie one of those thin pieces of fabric around your neck in a weird elaborate pattern, and maybe you date someone who wears fake eyelashes and pays money to go somewhere so she can climb fake stairs in a room surrounded by mirrors. It all sounds crazy if you look at it from another perspective.

Look, there are no normal people. We’re all strange. But our personal thinking convinces us that we’re alone. Even the people that match the tall, thin white people in most movies and advertising in the Western world feel all feel alone. I know a lot of ethnic kids believed they were the ones that were teased in school because they were “different,” but they they thought people need bigger differences than they do.

1009-relax-and-succeed-in-a-society-that-profitsI have numerous Asian friends who dreaded taking out their lunches in school for fear of being teased for their “strange food,” but then I pointed out to them that English is one of Canada’s official languages, the English created the notion of Canada, and yet when I was in school I was teased by German kids for eating jam and cheese sandwiches–something entirely normal in England.  So even being English doesn’t insulate anyone even in Canada.

It’s not about you. It’s about people asserting differences as ways of distinguishing themselves in a group. And if they tease you then they’re just attempting to lower your standing in the group and thereby raise their own. It’s very human, you do it too. At this level it’s juvenile, but where else would you be juvenile except while you’re in school? It’s still all just words. You decide if they hurt you. And no one’s immune. The German kids that teased me ended up being teased for eating stinky cheese.

Everyone feels like they don’t belong and yes, I also mean the most “successful” people you can imagine. You either feel insecure and fail, or you succeed and you suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Either way, what an ego does is think it’s not worthy, but it only does that because of its constant narratives about differences. Those narratives separate us from the connected feeling that would otherwise be natural.

1009-relax-and-succeed-be-weirdThe reason us weirdos find other matching weirdos is because these are the few people we’ll let our guard down with–and yet when we do look what happens! Once differences are ignored and similarities are shared people naturally feel connected. It’s why we almost feel like we become one person with our best friend. The connection comes from each party acknowledging the underlying truth that, without the interference of thinking, our natural state is to see people’s beauty.

There are no losers in love. It’s a wonderful experience. Don’t let things as ephemeral as people’s opinions prevent you from experiencing it as much as possible in your life. Be yourself. Everyone’s opinions live only in their own consciousness or for as long as they say them out loud. After that you’re free to be the weirdo you are, and that is super important because there are a lot of other very compatible weirdos looking for you. If you watch for each other I’m sure you’ll find each other.

Be weird, be free. In the end the only calculation is, how much loving did you do?

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

The Friday Dose #128: Loving Relationships

1008-fd-relax-and-succeed-what-destroys-an-intimate-relationshipI’ve written about it many times. You can’t ask another person to create a great relationship for you. Those things come from the inside. If you’re always in a state of want, if you always have something you need from that person then who are you to them? You’re a burden. But you weren’t a burden when you were falling in love. You were practically willing to be a servant!

1008-fd-relax-and-succeed-to-come-upon-love-without-seeking-itWeird isn’t it? It’s counter-intuitive at first, but not after some meditation. If we’re always asking others to live for us then they are forced to defer their own life to lead the one we claim we need. But if I’m a servant I’m always helpful and worthwhile and valuable. If I’m so picky about how the house looks for company that I torture my family with anal-retentivity then is the beautiful home really valuable at all, or is it now just a source of abuse?

Some people have huge insecurities that lead to jealousy, leaving partners having to live their entire life in their partner’s fearful context when that’s not their own context. It is literally a form of being a prisoner. All actions are dictated by that identity. The same with people with tempers. If your spouse blows up the moment something goes wrong then you stop living your life and you just start trying to make sure nothing goes wrong, even though that’s inevitable. It’s a life on eggshells.

It is not other people’s jobs to live to your script. No one made you the screenwriter, director and producer of the film of all of our lives. We are not co-stars in your movie, our jobs are not to get things the way you want them. We are individuals and we have hopes and dreams just like you and they’re just as important as yours. Healthy partners don’t ask, they offer. We can all take turns at being unhealthy, but if someone lives their life in that state then that is not their partner’s problem to fix.

Have a great weekend everyone.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.


Here’s what I don’t get: why is there an it’s too good to be true? but not an, it’s too bad to be true? When the crime rate’s gone down steadily for 35 years, when tons of people volunteered to go into helping professions, when such a tiny percentage of the population ever gets in trouble, why are we so quick to assume the worst? And yet look how the people in this video assume good things are automatically suspicious:

People want the world to be better and yet they’ll actively engage in this kind of paranoia. There is no reason you couldn’t look a stranger in the eye as you walked past them on a street because your odds of getting a scowl would be very low and your odds of a smile would be very good (almost 100% if you go first), and if you do miss that positive experience it’ll probably be because the other person is still looking down, assuming that you’ll be a bad experience.

There are marginal excuses for these unhealthy, disconnecting behaviours. If you’ve been traumatised then it can be possible to find yourself unrealistically but validly hyper-concerned, but for the average person that jaundiced view of humanity is completely unjustified. 98% of people we’ll meet in a day treat us nicely, and we ourselves spend time in that other 2% so we’d best not throw stones.

If you’re watching closely you see evidence of this goodness every day. Giving money to the homeless means someone is volunteering to be poorer for no gain to themselves but the good feelings that come from that sort of compassion. Friends write supportive message, people make positive social media posts, within every bad news story there will be heroes. People are polite, they tell jokes, they go outside the bounds of their job to help you for no gain to themselves. It’s everywhere.

1007-relax-and-succeed-good-people-bring-out-the-goodPolice risk their lives to protect people. Firefighters run into burning buildings to save strangers. Doctors risk losing a patient to save them. People give blood. They run and walk and cycle countless miles for countless charities. They hold doors for you, they give you compliments, or maybe even just a smile. People are overwhelmingly good, even if they’re not always doing what you want them to.

How can you benefit by thinking the worst of others? You’re doing the thinking. That’s happening inside your head, and it’s your body that’s experiencing the negative reaction that comes from negative thinking. The person you’re thinking about probably doesn’t even care. They might be busy, happily smiling while you’re thinking your dark, suspicious thoughts.

May I suggest that your life would improve the moment you adopted a new paradigm? Pronoia the opposite of paranoia. Rather than thinking that the world is conspiring against you, you think that it’s conspiring in your favour. Instead of mistrusting someone because you think they’re going to do something behind your back, trust them and stay open to the idea that they reward you unexpectedly. Or you have some big project fall through, instead of feeling like a failure, you happily assume it’s because you’ll need the time and resources for something even better!

1007-relax-and-succeed-you-must-not-lose-faithPeople who scowl a lot will tell you that pronoics are silly and unrealistic but those scowling people also live inside their beliefs–beliefs which suggest that optimistic, trusting, positive views are less likely than pessimistic, untrustworthy and negative ones. But they’re scowling, and for every one of them I could introduce you to some extremely successful person and they will talk about how they can’t believe how lucky they’ve been.

You can go through life watching for bad things and I assure you you will find them just as day turns to night. At the same time, if you go through life watching for good things then I assure you, you will not only see them during the daytime; they’ll glow like stars at night.

You’re a good person. The people walking toward you have every reason to assume that. And they’re just like you. So let’s all try offering more help, accept more help and just in general get off our phones and get back to each other. Because when it comes to improving society and connecting with people in the moment you’re in, there’s simply no app for that. So go practice some pronoia. And trust me, if you’re paying attention you’ll quickly notice that you’re not alone.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

The Freedom of Possibility

1006-relax-and-succeed-this-is-just-not-going-to-work-outProvided they haven’t experienced powerful trauma, kids are naturally very skillful at enjoying life. In the healthiest situations they are excited by their fears; they want to stay up and hear the scary campfire story that will keep them up all night terrified. They believe they can do anything. And every experience is met with wonder. And they grow and grow and grow.

You don’t limit yourself to the expected when you’re a kid. You see more possibility. And we could argue that those odds are long, and yet it is also true that even long odds are ultimately true sometimes. So you can live in a boring world where houses get boarded up because people die, or you can live where kids live; where houses are boarded up because they’re haunted. Waves are sea serpents, basements contain boogeymen, and all meteor’s are spaceships. When we’re young we go into every situation anticipating adventure.

As we age repetitive experiences limit our imagination. If we’re abused long enough we’ll start to actually seek out abuse because that’s all we can fit into our highly limited imagination. And yet our child-mind is still alive within us. We still maintain the ability to see things another way.

1006-relax-and-succeed-the-idea-is-to-die-youngThink of the people you know. The freest ones are the ones who are willing to offer the craziest solutions. They just never say die. There’s always good news somewhere and they’re just as pleased to search for it as find it. Other friends see gloom and doom at every corner. They see the worst in others. They see lots of limits, lots of reasons that things can’t happen.

If you don’t believe something’s possible you won’t take the steps to see that thing happen in your life. If you think you’ll never have friends because everyone hates you, then you’ll never have friends because you never met anyone–because you guessed they’d all hate you when only some of them would. But even they would only hate you out of confusion.

Your friends wouldn’t love you more than your enemies, they would just see you more clearly. So even friendship is a childlike thing that we do less of as we age. When we’re young we’re more prepared to assume someone might be the source of good experiences but by the time we’re older we just sit in judgment all the time and then wonder why we don’t have more fun.

1006-relax-and-succeed-the-soul-is-healed-by-being-with-childrenYour life is a set of beliefs about things you think can’t happen or have to happen, but those beliefs are not the actual world they’re just your idea of it. People’s lives change every day, but in most cases it was because they actually began doing something different. The different thing you can do is truly monitor your judgments about things and find your own limits within those judgments. Again: those limitations are not the world, those are ideas you have and they prevent you from experiencing all that life has to offer. Be more childlike.

Study your own limits. Ask yourself how you’ve actually changed since you were a child. What things did you think were possible that you talked yourself out of? Open yourself up to more possibility. Imagine a life bigger than the current you could ever deserve. You can have something bigger than that. People certainly call Elon Musk’s dreams crazy but does he care? He doesn’t have the time/thought-space to think about their judgments: he’s too busy building a spaceship!

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

The Shining

No one has a perfect life but there are ways to experience suffering where you’re still able to access feelings that include happiness and contentment. Life is that grand. It’s worth it even when it feels terrible, which explains why soldiers in a war will fight for their life, against all odds,  just for the right to stay alive even though it’s in the middle of a war.

Why is it spiritually or psychologically beneficial to be okay with your suffering? The idea that you are a story rather than an entity can seem very abstract and hard to grasp and yet that little layer of narrative is the only thing that separates you from that wonderful sense of connection and oneness you’ve felt at times in your life.

Living that way is profoundly healthy. As I’ve noted before, it’s why during the European invasion of North America no Natives wanted to go live in European “culture” and yet tens of thousands of Europeans abandoned their civilisation to join peaceful equanimity of the Natives. More like cells in a larger organism the Natives didn’t have individualised perspectives or problems, they saw themselves as part of a complete whole that was simply being. They had no personal stories there was only the story of All and how can you not belong in a story of All?

1005-relax-and-succeed-the-game-is-not-about-becoming-somebodyYour only problem is that you see experiences as being yours. They are happening to you. But look at it this way: Imagine there is a central light source covered by a sphere filled with little holes. As your hole opens the light shines out and you are born. The light itself cannot hope to comprehend the fuel behind the source, the design of the creation that formed them, nor even the nature of light itself. The beam has a source but it cannot know that source.

The light must travel through the first few feet to get to further distances and yet as the light moves “forward” it is still the entire beam of light, not just its farthest reaches. During its travel the light will go through very dark areas, very light areas, it will bounce off reflective surfaces and be impeded by fog or rain or smoke. Our tendency as ego-stories is to talk about our lives as though they are the fog or rain or smoke rather than understanding that those are experiences your life is travelling through. The experience and experiencer get confused.

Is it on one level harder for the light to move forward through a fog? Yes. Does the light know this by thinking about it? No. Does it slow the parts of the light down that are unimpeded? No. So does the fog exist? Yes, on one level, but not as a limiting fog; just as an experience. The light doesn’t know fog or smoke or mirrors. It just shines. So yes the fog is “harder” than the mirrors, but to who?

1005-relax-and-succeed-in-order-to-love-who-you-areIf there’s no you–if you stay aware that you’re the entire beam and that the fog is the fog and not the light failing–then there are experiences being experienced but no one is using words to attach themselves to those. You’re simply not making those part of a personal story. They aren’t seen as being your experiences, they’re seen as where your light is shining.

This is a very simple thing but when we look at it from the wrong angle it can seem like it’s ridiculously complex. If you showed the average person the details behind how a battery chemically worked, how a bulb technically works and how the light travels in physics terms, the whole thing can seem overwhelming and yet everyone knows that a flashlight will illuminate whatever you point it at.

To shine is to live. It’s a wonderful thing. Yes your light will be impeded. Yes some experiences will leave parts of it in shadow forever, and yes our beam eventually meets enough that it fades out of being altogether, but these are also all the very same experiences that allow each beam to feel like an individual when in the end we are all merely portals emerging from one common source.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

The Origins of Happiness – Redux

It’s a holiday for Canadian Thanksgiving today so here’s a post about how gratitude is more helpful than success:

Relax and Succeed

You don’t know your life as well as you think you do because you’ve never stopped to truly figure out how you came to experience the things you enjoy. Mothers forget the pains of childbirth when they look into the eyes of the children they love. People experiencing a triumph at work may forget that they only got there by being fired from their previous job, or because they quit one they didn’t like. You forget that many of your closest friends were met in classes you claim were awful. Even teams that lose championships bring about friendships that last a lifetime.

Your life isn’t good sometimes and bad sometimes. Your life is your life. You’re either being in the moment or you’re fighting the existence of the moment but that is your only real struggle. Your value judgments only have value in the particular moment you make them because…

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