|Listening: If God wanted you to talk twice as much as S/He wanted you to listen, S/He would have given you two mouths and one ear.|
|I, Alone, Complete: Looking outside yourself for the guidelines on how to live your life will lead you astray. Find that rock within on which you may sit and watch the world around you.|
|Relationships: A very small comment on being in a relationship.|
|Anger: When Anger seems to have you by the throat, look to see whose hand it really is.|
|On The Arc of The Pendulum: Learn to break up your thinking by expanding it to include the views of others.|
|My Mythical Journey: Ahhhh. Please indulge me a poem. This is actually a Shamanic Journey. It was very beautiful for me.|
Physical action is a very strong but subtle teacher. When someone is speaking, it is very hard not to jump in at the slightest pause. One way to practice listening with attention is to keep your eyes on the eyes of the speaker -- no matter what. One way to learn to wait for the speaker to finish is to keep a finger over your mouth. The effect on the speaker is interesting. When they realize that you will wait for them to say whatever they want, they begin to slow down their speech. The pauses between sentences get longer as they begin to spend more time thinking about what it is they want to say. As a result, the quality of the content of what they are saying begins to increase. I've found it very useful to tell people to take their time when speaking -- I will give them all the time they need to say whatever they want. I tell them that if I do interrupt them, it will only be to ask for clarification of what they mean. I will not express my thoughts or opinions until they are finished. Once you say this, it is very important to stick to it.
Ultimately, one benefit is that people become more willing to listen to you -- patiently. Another funny benefit is that people begin to think of you as a good conversationalist. You are really interesting to talk to. And all you did was listen.
One thing that showed up for me after a time was that I began to interpret less and experience more. I began to simply take what the other person was saying as they said it, without adding or taking away anything. I found I was able to let people express their opinions without having to make them right or wrong. Sometimes, I didn't agree or disagree, I just heard them.
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The task is to learn to be "I, Alone, Complete" and move through the day without being injured by, or reacting to, circumstances. That is, to live your life your way. The effort to become "I, Alone, Complete" is the purpose of existence. You are struggling to become clear in the oneness with yourself. You are who you are and nothing can change it.
The "I" is you as an individual, totally unique in the universe. Unique because of the millions and millions of moments that occurred in your life with all of the surrounding factors such as people, age, wants, fears, physical location, joys, pains, weather, and so on, into infinity. No creature, in the entire universe, has had the same experiences occur in it's life as you have had in yours. In addition, how you feel about the events that occur in your life is different than how someone else would feel in the exact same set of circumstances, even if that were possible.
"Alone" is not negative as in lonely. It is the point of reference from which you, as an individual, look out onto the surrounding world. Without this aloneness, it would not be possible to choose. Choosing can only take place when you are not governed by rules outside yourself. Choosing is looking inside yourself to see and feel which of the choices seems to you to best fit your "path" or "direction in life". Another way to say it is, "Which choice best expresses me as the person I want to be?".
"Completion" of self is the rearrangement of definitions, expectations, and views. Each time you are rigid (sure) about the way you think something is, or should be, you are in the middle of an opportunity to take a step toward completion. It's done by redefining the way you think it should be, or dropping an expectation and letting something simply be whatever it is, or shifting your view to include something else. Someone once said, "The sign of genius is questioning the obvious". When you are "sure" you know how it is because it is "obvious" to you, look out. Here comes the opportunity.
Speaking the truth moves you toward the "I, Alone, Complete". The more you speak the truth, the more you understand what truth is and what it isn't. Or, better to say, you begin to understand that there are more kinds of truth than you knew. You learn to distinguish between truth on it's own merits and what you want it to be. Practice it slowly and gently and your ability to do it will grow naturally. Another way to look at truth is to look at how you listen. When others speak, you do not hear what they are saying. Listening is a way of hearing another -- hear them the way they are speaking rather than in your interpretation of what you think they mean. Learn to speak in the other person's way. In order to do this, you must temporarily put aside your own views and accept the other person's.
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In one kind of relationship, it is two individuals working to become "I, Alone, Complete", and doing so within the context of a relationship. The two of you are together by choice. The relationship should be just the two of you, with nothing added and nothing taken away. All circumstances and considerations are outside the relationship. Each of you, because of some incompleteness within yourselves, brings patterns or attitudes from the past into the relationship, causing a disruption.
Each must work on completing the self. You must give up the things that cause you to be incomplete. You must struggle to become "I, Alone, Complete", together. The price you pay to be in a relationship is that you give up the things that are causing you to be incomplete -- those are external circumstances that are outside the relationship. You must choose the relationship. Wanting change in the partner is not the way. The choice you make is the direction of growth of the self, not change in the partner.
Being in relationship causes circumstances to show up as struggle between the partners. This is what helps you to move toward being complete. Once you give up the "right" to have control, you gain the freedom to enjoy your partner for who they are. You can't "give up" the need to have control over the environment around you (and the people in it) all at once. It must be done step by step, opportunity by opportunity, as they occur.
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Usually it starts with something making us angry. Or, maybe someone says something that angers us. We blast that person with all the energy from the anger. And if they resist or answer back, we attack with even more anger.
When they said what made us angry, it threatened something inside us that we want to keep covered up and hidden. All anger is directed at the self. We get angry at something we did or said.
In an argument, our anger is aimed at our own contribution to the problem. People and things outside ourselves are our mirrors. We project ourselves outward onto people and things. They simply reflect back to us. The things we don't like in them -- that make us angry -- are the things within ourselves that we don't like.
Taking responsibility for our anger and it's cause is what allows us to know that the anger is really directed inward. Once we do that, we can use the energy of the anger itself to look inside ourselves and ask why are we angry. Each time we get an answer for our question or understand a little more about ourselves, we can ask another question that penetrates deeper.
One very important kind of question that works well here is the "why" type. "Why am I angry?". "Why does that make me angry?".
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Consider for a moment the arc traced by a pendulum as it swings back and forth from one extreme to the other. Let's refer to the extreme at the left as "A" and the opposite pole as "B". Think of these two points as opposing views in a given set of circumstances. The reason that we use the analogy of the pendulum is that it has these two extremes and, at the same time, has an infinite number of points in between. Pick a subject about which you have a very strong and clear view. The more emotional you feel about the subject, the better. The more extreme your view, the better. We would commonly say that one extreme is "right" and the other is "wrong". You may choose either way you want; left is "wrong" and right is "right", or the reverse. Whether you are right-handed or left-handed should not be a factor in this choice.
Now, consider a situation where you are confronted by someone with the opposing view. On the face of it, they are "wrong" and you are "right", FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW. Of course, the reverse is true of the other person. In this sort of situation, because of the strong views involved, there is little or no room for the possibilities that may exist between the two extremes. The result is that everyone must have either viewpoint "A" or viewpoint "B". If you change your viewpoint, you may only go from "A" to "B", or the reverse. Nothing else is possible.
Now, instead of thinking as if there can only be "A" or "B" with nothing in between, think of your understanding and viewpoint as expanding to include both "A" and "B" AT THE SAME TIME. Hold both views within yourself. Doing this will cause an internal tension. You will feel a very, very strong pressure to reject one view or the other. You will feel that it is simply not possible for both views to exist at the same time in the same space (inside you). One MUST be eliminated. Stay in the tension. After all, if Man is created in God's image and God can hold both at the same time, why can't Man?
While in this tension, examine your personal principles and values. Determine where you should be "On The Arc of The Pendulum", within the current set of circumstances. Move to that point and operate from there, FOR THE MOMENT, allowing points "A" and "B" to continue to exist within you. Doing this will allow you to see that the opposite view is valid, even though you disagree. Or, it will at least allow you to see that the EXISTENCE of the opposite view is valid. It will also create an empty space between the two extremes where other possible points of view may exist.
If you allow the point where you are to become fixed, then you will be unable to move from it when your view changes. Or, looking at it from another perspective, you will be unable to understand another view and unable to move from where you are. This is one of the barriers that we must break down as human beings.
This is not an exercise in giving up your principles or values. Your principles and values are what guide you in any given set of circumstances to find the position on the arc that most represents how you choose to live your life. They will, however, change, move, and expand as you understand more about the world around you and especially the world within you.
This is an exercise in practicing open-mindedness, flexibility of view, and the willingness to explore alternative viewpoints and solutions. As you struggle to understand other views, you can't help but gain insight into your own and why you hold it.
Ultimately, the sole purpose for doing this is to lead you to a better understanding of yourself and why you hold the views that you do.
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He went to the cave of the waterfall,
Into the cool, clear waters he dove.
Down he plunged till he stood at the abyss within,
Where he himself lives.
He stepped into the darkness.
Down, down into the darkness he fell,
Down past the fear,
Nothing would stop him.
Down, down past the anger, past the pain,
Till the memories fell away.
And he went on.
Down into the darkness, the unknown, he went.
On and on, through the long dark tunnel,
Faster, faster he flew, ever deeper,
Till he saw a light.
Till the tunnel was gone and he stood in a meadow.
There he saw the black stones,
The tasks he must bend to.
There he saw the burdens that blackened his life,
The fear, the anger, the pain, the memories.
There he saw stretched before him his path,
The blackness he must bring to light to be free.
Then there shone forth the bright green stone,
That was his true self.
Then he saw the beauty that he was,
The him that lay beneath the blackness.
Now he knew where he was going,
Why he struggled, why he searched.
For he had seen the jewel that he is.
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