Reflection Archives

Every year I take the time to remember the Ones who passed away. I do it especially on the All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day, i.e. the 1st and 2nd November.

The Ones are family members, friends and interesting people whom I have met on my path.

I light the candles and recall who they were and what they strived for.

I recall their experiences, learning points and funny stories.

I remember our common joy, fun and laughter as well as seriousness and responsibility.

And I remember the understanding I achieved as a result of our meetings.

I remember love.

In all this I uncover patterns in their lives and I look for the lessons I can apply to mine.

I honor the People for the blessings they brought into my life.  I pray for their families to be blessed anew.

This little ritual is for me an appreciation of Gratitude, which is memory of the Heart. I do this to acknowledge that whom I have become is influenced, inspired or challenged by the People I have met in my life.

Give honor and become grateful for the People who crossed your life path.

It is special.

***

 

you_are_becoming

Photo credit Fe Langdon, available on Flickr under Creative Commons.

How we say

One of the major obstacles in your development is to perceive yourself as a static thing. Similarly, one of the most limiting ways for a solution-focus is to look at a situation or problem as an event frozen in time.  So you say:

“I am ill.”
“You are a poor manager.”
“He is stupid.”
“This is the way things are.”

These are facts and nothing can be done about it. It seems. While the statements above may look innocent, they are not. In fact, they act dangerously beneath the observable surface.

Are you one of the people who often heard as a child “You are a bad girl/boy” or “You are stupid”?

Did you believe that? I did.

It only takes a single authority (parent/grandma/older friend/teacher) to repeat such a statement a few times to make you accept it as a truth. Without questioning. Would it make any difference for you to have heard instead “You have behaved stupidly this time. What can we/you do next time so that you can improve?”

It would. For me.

Identity

The language construction “I am X” describes an equivalence between “I” and the very thing “X”. In such a statement an identification is taking place. If you keep repeating to yourself “I am stupid” you begin to identify with what you consider as “stupid behaviors” or “stupid people”. At some point you will start to model such a behavior more often, even unconsciously, simply because you have associated yourself with stupidity.

So, if you say “I am X” or “You are Y”, such statements act as naming on a deep, subconscious level. We make an equivalence and once we have taken it for granted, such an equivalence begin to hold forever. You stick the labels and they stay.

How to set yourself free

The first step is a shift in perception. Instead of looking at yourself as an Event, the key is to look at yourself as a Process.

You are not your thoughts.
You are NOT your emotions.
You are not your behaviors.
You are NOT your skills.
You are not  your actions.
You are NOT your achievements.
You are not your mood.
You are NOT your products.
You are not your failures.
You are NOT your problems.
You are not your parents.
You are NOT your wife/husband/kids.
You are not your car.
You are NOT your house.
You are not your job.
You are NOT your hobby.
….

While all the elements above may be very important to you and whom you have become, none of them is you. They are parts of who you are but you are much greater than their sum. If you choose to identify with any of them you may become vulnerable, fixated and stuck. And you may slow down any progress to a high degree.

For instance I used to identify with my work so I was hurt by people criticizing my research approach. I saw work as an extension of myself. As a result, it used to take me a substantial amount of time for an emotional processing before I could deal with criticism and work towards a further improvement of the ideas and applications. It was a waste of my emotional resources to suffer unnecessarily.

I am sure you know other people who are hurt or emotionally upset when somebody criticizes their approach or behavior, or when something happens with their car, or even when their children do not perform well to the expectations. It all comes from our deep identification with the Events. Be it results, attitude or children’s behavior.

Who you are

Your particular thoughts, emotions, behaviors, skills, actions, initiatives, possessions, responsibilities, failures and achievements are Events.

So, who are you?

You are simply a Process allowing, choosing, supporting and maintaining these Events. You are a Journey. Through Life.

You are not a static, frozen in time Joe. You are a Process of Joe.
You are a continuously learning and developing conscious being.
You have become and you are becoming.

Your goal is to take care of the Process to maintain it daily so that the habits you choose serve you through Time.

Watch your language

The second important point for becoming is to watch your language. The idea is to focus on describing the situation or event instead of making identity statements. Say to your child “You have not behaved kindly this time” instead of “You are a bad boy”. Say, “I’ve been searching for a new job” instead of “I am jobless”. Say, “I have not become wealthy yet, but I am taking my steps towards it” instead of “I am poor”. Say, “You have not organized your workplace in the best way last week” instead of “You are a muddler”. And so on.

Language is very important in describing and naming how you see yourself.  For a change to happen, you need to act differently and speak differently. Watch what you say and how you say it.  When you change how you describe yourself, your life, your problems and your challenges, you will begin to act accordingly. You will redirect your Process towards a better You.

Being a Process

Why does it make a difference to perceive yourself as a Process?

The key concept is that by being a Process you are already in motion. You are changing and evolving by the very nature of a process. Whatever happens, any failure, misjudgement or difficulty, any blessing, winning or achievement, change is just behind the door. You deeply know it and you accept it. You also know that change is the only stability you have. It makes you conscious to live in the moment and appreciate all the blessings that come to your life now. And it makes you aware that any difficulty, even the most horrendous, will eventually pass. Through the Process you can transform it.

By seeing yourself as a Process you begin to detach emotionally from the outcomes and the results while you are taking initiatives in the given moment. Action redirects the Process. And you know that even small steps repeated frequently enough can lead you far. In your Journey.

When you see yourself as a Process you begin to gain power, responsibility and control over your life. While you cannot control the majority of events, you can take care that the Process you are will equip you well to handle whatever comes. You begin to live by Gratitude and Love. To others and God.

You are becoming

You may not have made the best progress in your life yet but you can choose to start doing it now. In every moment you can abandon old patterns and choose the ones which serve you. By being a Process – a developing human being – you can grow into a greatness.

Spin.
Stir it up.
Move.

You are experiencing. You are becoming. Your best conscious Self.

***

 

sense_of_wonder

This is a beautiful poem by my friend Salil Deena.

Read it. Contemplate it. Enjoy.

 

 

A sense of wonder

 

Sometimes, the amazement of the universe makes one ponder 
Rational thought just retires into the corner 
And the magic wand of intuition becomes the main actor 
Leading one into magical worlds of deeply bewildering wonder

 

To achieve this sense of mystical innocence 
Deep humility, a loving heart and the curiosity of a child 
Are what it takes, as well as some patience and perseverance 
For it takes some cultivation of character to stop the mind from going wild

 

All of our experience is coloured by the mind 
The greatest luxuries of the world have no value 
If the mind is imbued with negativity and the heart is not kind 
It is like having no appetite whilst sitting in from of an exuberant menu

 

The mind trained to appreciate simplicity 
Sees beauty everywhere, from the chirping birds, soothing breeze or dazzling sunset 
All speaking for a formless spirit that expresses itself through multiplicity 
The same voice can be heard within when the mind is quiet

 

When the mind is tranquil and the heart overflowing with joy 
The inner spirit is expressing itself through its chosen channels 
Being infinite, it creates a universe to play as a toy 
Knowing no bounds, through time and space it travels

 

When one looks at the world through the innocence of a child 
A deep sense of wonder is felt as one marvels at the majesty of nature 
That seems to be infinitely composed but at the same time wild 
Yet the flourishing of conscious life is what it seeks to nurture

 

A silent force seems to be at work in the organisation of natural phenomena 
From the decentralised organisation of aunt colonies  
To the flocking of birds in v‐shape for aerodynamic optima 
Nature does everything silently and without worries

 

The beauty of this seamless and effortless interdependence 
Cannot but leave one baffled at such synchronisation 
It reveals the majesty of an unbounded omniscience 
That has infinite powers of organisation

 

Wonder is all around us only if we have the eyes to see 
For by getting caught in our worries and anxieties 
We fail to perceive the beauty of totality 
Whereas to the mind of innocence, nature reveals its mysteries

 

Salil Prashant Deena
19/03/2011

 

***

Photo credit NASA Goddard Space Flight Center available on Flickr undrer Creative Commons.

***

 

hope

I am nostalgic at times and it is happening right now.

I observe how fast our world changes. Daily.
I observe how stability is an illusion. Daily.
I observe how fickle our economy is. Daily.

Time of transformation

This all reminds me about the transformation years back in Poland, when Poland was to become free. These were the times of illusion of stability, brotherhood and equality. Life seemed peaceful at a surface but it was boiling and steaming underneath. There was a huge desperation for the freedom of expression, freedom of choice and freedom of being.

Even as a child and a teenager I could sense tension, unease and delusion. The parody of various layers in life was ever present. I felt uneasy. I had a strong impression of more important things beneath the surface yet I could not grasp them.

In the late 80′ the change was in the air. The raise of consciousness was in your breath. You could nearly touch it. It was to come.

In the times like this, music helps you to express what seems inexpressible: fears, hopes and expectations. Music helps because it touches you in simple words, tunes or metaphors. Music can be like a sword piercing you fast and deep, straight to your essence of being. It is shocking sometimes but overall, if in effect, you go through a catharsis. You are purified. The emotions are acknowledged and released. There is a flow.

In the times of fears, you only whisper what you believe. Or you keep silent. You are afraid to speak too loud about transformations, as if somebody will overhear it and push things away. You want to touch these intensive feelings in yourself, but you are afraid to face them as if they may not become the reality. Music makes it happen.

One of the songs that kept me hopeful as a teenager was “Don’t give up” by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. It is written at time of a high unemployment in Britain and the unstable economy in the country. It is about fears and hopes, lack of work, being a looser and rejections. But the message is universal and it is strong:

There is a place where we belong.

There is a place for us to evolve and become who we really are.
There is a place for us to live and work, to develop, to cherish, to contribute and to grow.
And this place is a place of friends. Of deep connections.

We can create this place.

And I have played this song back for the last few days. Kate’s vocal is fantastic. Listen to it.

 

Don’t Give Up

in this proud land we grew up strong
we were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail

 

no fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I’ve changed my face, I’ve changed my name
but no one wants you when you lose

 

don’t give up
‘cos you have friends
don’t give up
you’re not beaten yet
don’t give up
I know you can make it good

 

though I saw it all around
never thought I could be affected
thought that we’d be the last to go
it is so strange the way things turn

 

drove the night toward my home
the place that I was born, on the lakeside
as daylight broke, I saw the earth
the trees had burned down to the ground

 

don’t give up
you still have us
don’t give up
we don’t need much of anything
don’t give up
’cause somewhere there’s a place
where we belong

 

rest your head
you worry too much
it’s going to be alright
when times get rough
you can fall back on us
don’t give up
please don’t give up

 

‘got to walk out of here
I can’t take anymore
going to stand on that bridge
keep my eyes down below
whatever may come
and whatever may go
that river’s flowing
that river’s flowing

 

moved on to another town
tried hard to settle down
for every job, so many men
so many men no-one needs

 

don’t give up
’cause you have friends
don’t give up
you’re not the only one
don’t give up
no reason to be ashamed
don’t give up
you still have us
don’t give up now
we’re proud of who you are
don’t give up
you know it’s never been easy
don’t give up
’cause I believe there’s the a place
there’s a place where we belong

 

The double message

What is really curious about this song is the title, “Don’t give up”, which becomes the repeated phrase or the motto. Interestingly, we know that our subconsciousness has difficulty to process the don’ts. (Check out a great explanation by Paul on why negativity turns your subconscious mind against you.) Basically, in order to imagine the lack of something (the don’t) we have to first imagine the exact thing we should avoid. This comes back to the famous “Don’t think about pink elephants!”. Of course you need to think of pink elephants before you can start thinking about everything else. This is the basic knowledge of NLP, i.e. neurolinguistic programming in which values, beliefs and the use of language determine the quality of our lives. Learn more if this is new for you.

So, actually when we keep repeating this very message “don’t give up” in the song, our subconsciousness reads like “give up” , “give up”, “give up”. This means “stop or  “cease making an effort”.

Despite that the song had a very positive effect on me. I felt energized, accepted and powerful. I was a believer in the transformations to happen.

How is this possible despite the negativity statement (don’t)? There are two important observations.

1. Being non-native

If you are a non-native English speaker like me, “giving up” with the added word “up” is not naturally perceived as a phrasal verb with the meaning it conveys. “Giving up” sounds cheerful and positive thanks to the little word “up”. This combination of words suggests progress or improvement. And at first the meaning that one reads in it is of “submissing” [your problem/challenge] “up” [i.e. high to God or a higher authority] [with the faith that it is going to be solved]. So, even though my subconsciousness gets imprinted with “giving up”, I perceive it as a positive message.

2. The hope of letting go

On the other hand, another effect comes into a play. When you keep fighting for freedom or you work very hard to solve an important problem, you get tense, overdo it and become fixated on a single path to the solution. The problem becomes then like a hunted nightmare.

At such times, the right way is to stop actively participating in the problem; the smartest choice is to give up. What happens is that you relax and stop forcing things to happen in a limited view you have. You need to leave some freedom and handle uncertainty to allow more space for things to sort themselves out. This is especially important when you did the initial work and the time is ready. Giving up is then about honoring your own feelings, accepting what is and letting go (and letting God take care of events).

And there was indeed the time in Poland when the ground was fertile, the season was right and there was raining. We stopped to fight for a moment. We let things happen and a miracle has occurred. It was a prepared miracle, of course, nevertheless it comes back to the basic principle:

“Focus intensively (prepare the ground) and let go.”

I find it pretty cool. Despite the message my subconsciousness “should” have perceived about giving up and loosing hope, the message has become double powerful. All thanks to my non-nativeness.

On the emotional level, the words sounded positive and energized me, while on the logical level I saw it was OK to stop the fight and let things go. I was reassured that there was a place for me. A place where I am accepted, appreciated and where I belong.

There is a place to live in a freedom of choice.

Yes, I’ve created it!

What about you?

***

Photo courtesy Cobalt123, available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

***

 

I really like poems.

I am attracted to poems and art in which more is left out than expressed directly. I’m delighted when presented with an interesting line, a sketch or an idea. I love the empty spaces between the things.

I simply love and appreciate ideas. And I love when my imagination is at work.

The poem below, by Edward Estlin Cummings, is an example of this:

***
love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skilfully curled)
all worlds

***

While I read this poem, I imagine a huge leafy forest, a forest of old trees. It is a morning on a warm, summer day, just a few hours after sunrise. The air is dense. Warm but not yet hot. Dew is no longer here, although you may still find some remaining of it.

There is peace and calmness, and yet there is some music in the air. The vibrations are strong. You sense them more than you hear them. The air feels almost palpable, saturated with a message.

And there is sun shining brightly. The sun rays penetrate the forest softly. They begin with strolling slowly between the trees. There is all the time available so that they can look for the nicest clumps of grass. They want to rest there.

Grass is long and gently vibrates to the music. She hears music so strongly indeed. Balls of light slide on the waves of vibration, penetrate each other and enjoy playing hide and seek. They dance elegantly to the rhythm.

Wind behaves impeccably elegantly, as a perfect musician would do. He knows his trade. There you can feel a gentle breeze, perhaps a slight acceleration of wind now and then, but everything with great solemnity. The leaves and the grass gently flutter.

And you stand there in the middle of everything in awe and respect. In the silence you recognize the perfect creation.

The silence is holy. Everything has its own place. Sun, trees, leaves, tree trunks, plants, grass and moss, insects, worms and small animals. Nobody seems to orchestrate this all but everything has its own place and own meaning. You are a witness to a mysterious performance of light, color and movement.

Place and purpose.

You know that love permeates this place. Even more, love creates this space and fills this space.

You breathe love. You belong. You feel accepted and appreciated.

While being in this place, you feel centered and calm. Love is your companion. You are created and you are a creator.

You are an observer and you are an actor.

You commit to Yes.

Love is a place but all other places exist from this place.
Yes is a world but it contains a seed of all worlds.

Is Yes greater than Love???

***

 

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