Deflecting from the Paradigm.

makeamericaloveagainIt seems much easier to say “yes” to holding on to anger and judgment versus observing our thoughts and feelings (where we’ll find understanding and love). Or how about how it’s much easier it is to choose pizza over a salad. Each time we make these decisions, it strengthens those neuropathways in our brain.

Why do we find ourselves choosing fear over love?

Probably because it’s the easy route. Our society has been strengthening and conditioning our egos with fear.

Fear keeps us from our kind mind. It keeps us from love.

How did we get here?

The external world caters to the ego. Our materialistic society has built a hamster wheel of consumerism that lures so many of us to keep up with the Kardashians.

I went to the mall recently to use some Christmas gift cards (just a tad overdue) and I almost couldn’t handle it. Everything was screaming at me. The colors, the videos, the crap! So much crap. What the hell. Who buys this shit?

The ego.

The ego mind goes something like this: Hey, you aren’t happy? That’s right, you are not enough. You need to buy this. Look at these ads. Those people are happy. MORE MORE MORE! Look at these Victoria’s Secret models. That could be you! And yea, your living room needs to look like a Crate and Barrel ad. Fill those shelves with little knick-knacks! Of course, you need another bird statue.

And when that buzz wears off, don’t worry we have MORE. You definitely need to slather these fake smelling chemicals on your body to be sexy. And you need, like, 51 different scents. Just in case. One day you may feel more like Sensual Amber and another day you’re more like Hello Beautiful. Seriously, Bath & Body Works? (They are certainly not the only company pouncing on our insecurities with silly fake fragrance names).

Eckhart Tolle discusses this phenomenon in his book, A New Earth:

“Paradoxically, what keeps the so-called consumer society going is the fact that trying to find yourself through things doesn’t work: The ego satisfaction is short-lived and so you keep looking for more, keep buying, keep consuming.

Of course, in this physical dimension that our surface selves inhabit, things are a necessary and inescapable part of our lives. We need housing, clothes, furniture, tools, transportation. There may also be things in our lives that we value because of their beauty or inherent quality. We need to honor the world of things, not despise it. Each thing has Beingness, is a temporary form that has its origin within the formless one Life, the source of all things, all bodies, all forms. In most ancient cultures, people believed that everything, even so-called inanimate objects, had an indwelling spirit, and in this respect they were closer to the truth than we are today. When you live in a world deadened by mental abstraction, you don’t sense the aliveness of the universe anymore. Most people don’t inhabit a living reality, but a conceptualized one.

But we cannot really honor things if we use them as a means to self-enhancement, that is to say, if we try to find ourselves through them. This is exactly what the ego does. Ego-identification with things creates attachment to things, obsession with things, which in turn creates our consumer society and economic structures where the only measure of progress is always more. The unchecked striving for more, for endless growth, is a dysfunction and a disease. It is the same dysfunction the cancerous cell manifests, whose only goal is to multiply itself, unaware that it is bringing about its own destruction by destroying the organism of which it is a part.”

Our suffering is caused by this desire. This disease.

How do we find the opposite of disease — ease?

Instead of being infected by the external world, we defect. And that begins with deconditioning our minds, shifting our awareness.

Duncan Trussel recently discussed this on his podcast. The fact that beneath all of the negativity in the news and what seems to be “real,” there are people who believe in making and living in a better world (cue The Age of Aquarius <some goooood stuff on this page).

These individuals have, according to Duncan, “Defected from the paradigm. They’ve defected from the reality tunnel that these corporatist lunatics are trying to suck us all into. There’s a lot of defectors out there right now friends. They are defecting from a world of pain…suffering…greed…and pessimism and cynicism. And that’s called being healed, really. Being healed. You’ve defected. That’s what it is. You’ve defected from the infection of fear.”

#micdrop

 

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I Love Tie-Dye.

tiedye

Recently I had an insight into why I love the beautiful blend of colors.

Tie-dye does not try to be perfect. When you look at it, you aren’t looking at any details. You see a wider view of the whole pattern. You see it for what it is.

At the deepest level, there is already that sense of completion. You don’t need to become anything. When you are connected with the depth of who You are…in that depth, you don’t need to become, you are already complete. – Eckhart Tolle

In our society that monetizes off our insecurities, we can either choose to let it distract us or use it as a tool to de-condition our minds.

Seeing every moment as it is can be challenging.  All sorts of science brain stuff happens and our emotions can take over and before you know it the crazy ass horse has knocked its passenger off the chariot. And then you come back and reflect, “What just happened?!” Hindsight anyone?

So, we practice. We begin to see ourselves by becoming the observer. We begin to recognize when we’re acting out of anger {insert your emotion of choice}. But first, we must become aware of it…without judgment. That’s the tricky part.

These practices will transform our personality from selfish to selfless, from uncaring to loving, and ultimately from human to divine.

Christians have the saying, “What Would Jesus Do?”. Jesus would choose love.

Jack Kornfield says, “The point of spiritual practice isn’t to perfect yourself, but to perfect your love.”

Tie-dye. It’s bold, beautiful, and fearless.  It’s an expression of love.

Learning to Surf.

waves

Who is the master, me or my mind?

I tend to think of my thoughts like waves. They come and go. My yoga practice is much like surfing. I am not so focused on stopping the waves, rather riding them.

So how do we learn to surf?

We become aware of the identification we have with our minds that cause our thoughts to become compulsive. We turn our attention inwards.

You know those days where it feels like the waves just keep crashing in. The voice inside speculates, judges, and compares. It rehearses and imagines possible future situations.

After one particularly challenging day, I realized my ego was casting a shadow of fear and suffering by creating this false mind-made self. I listened to my intuition and immediately rolled out my yoga mat for a yin yoga practice when I got home. It seemed like every 3 seconds the voices crept back into my awareness. Each time I would say hello to them and then take my attention back to my breath and the sensations in my body. When my mind is particularly busy playing pretend, I use mantra to focus my mind inwardness. Recently my mantra has been, “Love.”

So I ask myself, “How do I find this presence amidst the chaos?”

I surrender. I surrender to my divine nature of unconditional love, grace, peace, clarity, and freedom. When I do this, my kind minds beings to shine as my true nature pierces through the illusions of my ego.

So, I practice. I’ve discovered that Yoga is a way to change our lives, change how we see the world and change how we react to the world.

“The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity — the thinker. Knowing this enables you to observe the entity. The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all the things that truly matter —  beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace — arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken.” – Eckhart Tolle

 

 

Looking into the Darkness.

lookintothedarkness.jpg

What I’ve learned through my yoga practice is that I am not my ego mind. It still tricks me, but I’m beginning to see it coming. There are still many times I allow my mind to be my master.

So I ask myself, “What do we do when we are faced with pain?”

The answer: We recognize it as a teacher and look into the darkness.

One of my biggest teachers is my husband. Together we share a yoga practice and a life philosophy that creates a safe and loving environment for growth. He makes it a little bit easier to look into the darkness.

But it’s uncomfortable at times.

Seeing yourself.

It’s heavy.

I remember one time my husband said some real truth to me about my behavior and all I could do was breathe and watch my crazy little ego mind go to work. I was on the floor doing yoga at the time so I was able to focus on the practice and not let my ego take the front seat.

One mantra I kept repeating was, “Thank you to all of my teachers.”

But oh man, it was hitting me hard. Some of the initial thoughts hitting my mind were defending my behavior and simply denying.

…inhale…exhale…focus…

At one point my mind had tried to turn this on my husband. Oh man, I had to laugh! I knew that was not my kind mind. It was my ego, doing what it does best. Devoted to only caring about itself and having an excessive amount of pride.

My yoga practice continuously transforms my mind and it has made me a better person. I am more kind and focus less on being right.

Would you rather be right or kind?

 

 

 

 

Getting Off the Carousel.

There is a carousel that lures us all.

carousel

It’s the circus of our minds.

You see it coming. You say to yourself, “I don’t want that to happen.” And then what?

And then it f-ing happens. But you knew better. Goodness, when will you learn?

You know those times.

Those times you eat an extra slice of pizza or too many scoops of ice cream…and then find yourself sick and you wish you wouldn’t have done what you did.

Or when you react in anger, only later to realize you were the one being an asshole.

How about when you try something new and come into the experience with a cracker jack’s box full of expectations? Oh boy,  you sure don’t get the prize you were looking for!

Even with the faintest slice of awareness, we know. We know what decisions we are making. We know if we’re being emotional. But we choose to allow our ego-mind to take control.

We allow our ego ringmaster to guide our experience, directing our attention wherever it pleases. It beats us into submission, using electrical shock prods until we turn into robots doing what it wants.

I wonder how so many of us hate the circus because they treat animals like this, yet when we are manipulated by our own minds we don’t do something about it?

Because ignorance is easier. There’s a reason they say, “Ignorance is bliss.”

So, how does the voice of our heart, our kind mind, get heard?

We just have to pay attention and listen.

And that takes practice.

There’s no chance in hell we can listen if we’re stuck in our mental mind patterns, going round and round on the carousel of our conditioned behaviors and attachments.

You know what I’m talking about.

Someone cuts you off in traffic, you get angry.

Your accountant leaves you a voicemail to call them back, you get anxious.

A difficult conversation arises, you withdrawal.

Do you see a pattern? Our mind has learned to react to the outside world.

We spend so much time making up the future in our minds and/or replaying the past over and over again, like this Black Mirrors episode. We miss what’s right in front of us.

Our kind mind.

When we don’t get off the carousel, we lose touch with reality and let go of our kind minds and our view of the world is a blurred illusion of what is actually real.

How do we get off the merry-go-round?

I’m learning just that. And that’s what I plan to share here.

Stay tuned for more stories from my circus…