Life isn't as serious as the mind makes it out to be...

What we choose to think, say, and do today, at this moment, creates our tomorrow. The power is in the present moment. This is the moment when we begin to make changes. We can start to let old beliefs and feelings go.

The smallest beginning will make a difference. Life

Think about what you were like as a tiny baby. You knew how important you were, you felt like you were the centre of the universe. You weren’t afraid to ask for what you wanted and you openly expressed your feelings. You loved yourself and that is the truth of your being. All the negativity you took on as you grew up was learned and can be unlearned.

How often have we said or thought, “That’s just the way I am.” What we are really saying is that it is what we believe to be true for us. And these beliefs are often passed down in families, from generation to generation.

Usually what we believe is just someone else’s opinion that we’ve accepted and incorporated into our own belief system.

If we are taught as a child that we are not worthy of money, we grow up thinking we are not worthy of receiving money, and everything we see and hear that reinforces that belief we will accept as true for us. If we are taught that it is dangerous to go in the woods alone, that we can’t trust people, or that we are no good at maths, all those things become part of our belief system. However, if we were taught that the world is a safe and happy place then we would believe that and we would see things that reinforce that belief. Life experiences mirror our beliefs. Whatever we send out mentally and verbally will come back to us in like form.

The way to control your life is to control your thoughts and to drop limiting beliefs.

Be willing to change your beliefs and thoughts and watch your life change.

No one thinks in your mind but you.

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Who are you really?

Many of us are so identified with the voice in our head (our ego) and the incessant stream of involuntary and compulsive thinking and emotions, that the voice of our Self is almost completely drowned out.

You think that you are the thinker, but the thinking is your ego which is conditioned by your past, your upbringing, your culture, and your family background. The ego gives you repetitive and persistent thSilenceoughts, emotions, and reactive patterns that you identify with as “me and my story”. It gives you habitual roles that you perform without knowing it, and collective identities such as nationality, religion, race, social class, job, or political allegiance. It also carries beliefs about appearance, concepts of success and failure, and what you are good or bad at.

When you live day-to-day through the mind-made ego comprised of thought and emotion, your identity base is precarious because thoughts and emotions are so fleeting. Every ego is continuously struggling for survival, trying to protect and enlarge itself. The ego “I”
survive without the conceptual “other”.

People who live in their ego-mind struggle to be alone.

One egoic pattern is the compulsive habit of fault-finding and complaining about others. The ego thinks that when it criticises another it will feel bigger and superior. It is one of the ego’s favourite strategies for strengthening itself. Every complaint is a little story your mind makes up that you completely believe in.  It is habitual and unconscious. This is not the sort of complaining, say, in a restaurant when your soup is cold. The ego, though, is the one who loves to feel personally offended by the cold soup and is going to make the most of it. The ego enjoys making someone wrong. The ego often doesn’t want change so that it can go on complaining.

So how do you become more conscious? See if you can notice the voice in your head, perhaps in the very moment, it complains about something or someone, and recognise it for what it is: the voice of the ego, a conditioned mind-pattern, a thought. And whenever you notice that voice, you will realise that you are not the voice, but the one who is aware of it: the Self.

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The High-Potential Human

We have created an inert, packaged, world that we think we can control and live in like a bubble. As I sit and read the news about humans herding to beaches, damaging the environment, and each other, I realise how a large proportion of the population doesn’t see Nature as a ‘living other’ but as a resource to be used. I call these humans ‘low potential’ because they are the ones that Nature wants to eliminate. The natural world is suffering and I believe the coronavirus is Nature’s way of bringing the earth back into balance.

Human NatureThe low-potential type of human lives in a world of entities devoid of life, consciousness, and interiority. Their relationship with Nature is that of resources to be used, of exploitation, of humans using entities that have the status of inanimate objects. Our whole culture is rooted in this self-evident truth, with humans acting on an inert environment that is essentially silent. There is no point asking Nature what it wants – Nature does not speak or have intelligence or interiority or consciousness when addressed by a self-willed human. This is reflected in our cultural practices and in the way we conduct our lives on a daily basis.

Sometimes humans are in between high and low-potential, perhaps in a period of metamorphosing to the higher level, often after a glimpse of true consciousness. During this in-between stage they might believe, personally and passionately that nature is alive, a living other etc. they might go camping, spend time in nature, or practice mindfulness, but when they go shopping for food that belief may play no part in their practices or conduct: animals now are conveniently packaged food items, trees are packaging and labels – all disassociated with the sense of a living ‘other’. Compare this modern-day food gathering behaviour with former times when food gathering was clustered around a core meaning of living Nature who made a claim on us and the way we lived. There were practices such as ritual preparations, addressing the animal with respect, and atonement rituals after killing the animal, in order to make sure a delicate balance between life and death was maintained. They grew their own crops, made their own food. They took from Nature only what they needed.

The predicament we are in today is that for many people their day-to-day lives only involve a connection to dead resources and there is nothing to remind them of the essential human beings they are at their core. Low-potential humans unconsciously live their lives on auto-pilot, identifying with their thought processes and emotions, reactions, desires, and emotions. This is most people’s normal state. They are run by the egoic mind, and not consciously aware. It’s not a state of acute pain or unhappiness, but of an underlying unease, discontent, boredom, or nervousness.

Low-potential humans are the product of the environment they live in – dead. It’s impossible to stick to positive habits in a negative environment. We constantly fill our lives with highly engineered versions of reality that are more attractive to unconscious minds than the natural world our ancestors lived in.  They are self-willed but they are only one kind of human being and the world appears as it does only to this kind of human. But, as long as they dominate our cultural practices, belief systems, and understanding of ourselves, then the world will correspondingly only appear how it does, i.e. as comprising entities that are ‘dead’, silent, and have no voice, unable to make any claim on our existence. When the low-potential human seeks, for example, to ‘save the world’, they can only conceive of right action in terms, once again, of imposing their will upon an unresponsive, disenchanted, object-filled world. Standing2

So, how do you become a high-potential human? To start with stop thinking about your environment as filled with objects – start thinking about it as filled with relationships. Think in terms of the way you interact with the spaces around you. Eat fresh food (grown locally or grown and/or harvested yourself, if possible), think about where things have come from, and feel gratitude for what you have. Only take what you need. If you look at, say, a houseplant, ask it what it needs and wait for the answer (this might sound silly but if you start to look at the houseplant in this way you will remember to water it and you will notice when it needs extra feed). Touch a tree and feel its life and energy. Practice mindfulness and gratitude. Open your eyes and your consciousness to the beauty around you. Who needs television when you have birds to watch?

The High-Potential Human is a new breed of human that is emerging in response to Nature’s need for balance. They are in a minority at the moment but as their influence grows and these spiritual and mindful humans, who respect Nature, culture, and creativity, will start to dominate our culture. The truth is we can all be high-potential humans if we learn to become more consciously aware, quieten our minds, and stop negative beliefs from holding us back.

We are moving toward a new way of living on an earth full of life and goodness.  And, as you continue your journey, remember, that beneath all those shadows and weight, you are a radiant, beautiful soul, and the earth awaits what you will bring.

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Seeing without words

 

Feel the world around you, sense it, with your whole body, without words. No talking. No thinking. Just see. Just feel and connect. What happens at Websuch times goes beyond words. When these good moments come to you they will fill you with a swelling tide of higher life as if it were a vessel. The object of your focus could be as simple as this spider's web covered in water droplets catching the rays of the early morning sun, a watering can, an animal basking in the sun, or an old building. Such simple things past which the eye ordinarily glides with natural indifference can at any moment suddenly take on a sublime and moving aura which words seem too weak to describe.

Mindfulness does not react to what it sees. It simply sees, and understands without words.

The Flower Sermon was held near a pond during Buddha’s later years. When he held up the freshly-picked lotus flower  the assembled crowd was silent, not understanding its significance. But after a moment or two, Buddha’s disciple Mahakasyapa smiled. He was the only attendee to receive the Buddha’s message that day.

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How to journal to your soul

 

If you are a seeker wanting to understand yourself better, improve your life, deepen your spiritual side, and listen to your soul to uncover your inner self, you can learn a lot from taking up your pen and journaling.

With your words, you can give life to what you see, what you hear, what you touch. You can transform what is on the outside to something inside.

As your daily life pulls you in a multitude of directions, journal writing centres you. It makes you slow down. It makes you look anew at the world around you. Art JournalImagine you are by a river and you spot an unusual rock at the water’s edge. From afar it looks just like all the other rocks on the river bed. But, if you pick it up, and hold it in your hand, feel its roughness, consider its age (1 million or billion years old?), how amazing that you can hold something so incredible in your hand. And in studying it… it becomes closer to you. You wonder about its age, what it has been through to get here. You sense its mystery.

When you write about it you can consider your own journey, the rough parts, and the good times, your own mystery. You bring the two worlds together, the visible (the rock), and the invisible (your inner world).

If you were to just stand by the riverside, in the sunshine, maybe pick the rock up and drop it back into the river, if you didn’t pay closer attention – to the rock and the sparkling water – you would allow them to retreat into forgetfulness. Anyone can see such details then forget them straight away. To journal is to look for meaning in your experiences and let them lead you to your soul.

So what is the best way to journal? There is only one way and that is your way. Maybe you’ll treat yourself to a quality book that feels good to touch, or maybe you’ll type on your phone. Only you know the best way to start. I like to use a softback red Moleskine book with plain pages, and a fountain or calligraphy pen. I also keep a smaller book in my bag when I go out walking. I write about what I see, what I feel, how the early morning sun sparkles on the river, a conversation, a dream, my hopes, and plans.

Each reflection deepens as I write it down. Each journal entry is a step closer to my soul, toward self-discovery. Sometimes I paint pictures and write, sometimes I just write. You don’t need to be an artist to draw simple sketches, Sometimes I might attach a flower or a leaf too.

When you write in a journal think of it as being like going for a walk without any purpose or direction. You might walk a while, then you stop, find a fragment, something that caught your awareness. Eventually, you will have many fragments, of your soul, of your awareness, of your place in this world. Writing in a journal gives you insights into who you are, who you were, and who you can become.

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Everything you need is within you...

 

The day you are born a seed is planted. The seed is your unique gift to the world. It wants to grow, transform itself, and reach its full potential. It has a natural energy that you can tap into. It is up to you to make the seed thrive, to express your uniqueness and share your gift with the world. 

You have a destiny to fulfil. And, the stronger your drive to achieve your full potential the more likely you are to succeed.

AcornFailure to thrive usually means you have succumbed to an opposing force - social pressures to conform, family misguidedly directing you to their choice of career path. You end up choosing a career path that isn’t what you truly want. Your heart won’t be in it and you become increasingly less engaged. You start to see pleasure as something that is obtained outside work.

You have a voice within that emanates from your individuality and it calls you to a particular form of work or career. If you learn to listen you will develop a sense of your vocation. You will see it as a journey with twists and turns rather than a straight line. Some side routes will pull you more than others and eventually you will find a particular field, niche, or opportunity that suits you perfectly. It will feel right. And, because you are doing what you love you will learn more quickly and more deeply. You will have a sense of purpose and direction. 

In order to truly thrive you must love the subject and feel a profound connection to it.

But what if you have someone in your life that constantly holds you back and stunts your growth? Don’t be with them, don’t make them the centre point of your life. If you stay with them you will be a cowering creature who is just a shadow of the person you really are.

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Becoming conscious and easing anxiety

 

“See, how cruel the whites look,” said Hopi elder, Mountain Lake. He was speaking to Carl Jung who visited the Pueblos of Taos, New Mexico in 1925. “Their lips are thin, their noses sharp, their faces furrowed and distorted by folds. Their eyes have a staring expression; they are always seeking something. What are they seeking? The whites always want something; they are always uneasy and restless. We do not know what they want. We do not understand them. We think Indian Artthat they are mad.”

Carl Jung asked the elder why he thought the whites were all mad.

“They say that they think with their heads,” he replied.

“Why of course. What do you think with?” Jung asked in surprise.

“We think here,” Mountain Lake said, indicating his heart.

This undercurrent of constant unease started long before Western industrial civilisation. It was there in the time of Jesus, and the time of Buddha, and long before that. “Why are you always anxious?” jesus asked his disciples. “Can anxious thought add a single day to your life?” Buddha, echoed this by teaching that the root of all suffering is to be found in our constant wanting and craving.

Resistance to consciousness is a collective dysfunction – a behaviour pattern developed over generations in our families – and it is intrinsically connected to our loss of awareness and forms the basis of our dehumanised, unconscious industrial civilisation. Freud also recognised the existence of this undercurrent of unease and he wrote about it in his book Civilisation and its discontents, but he did not recognise the true root of the unease and failed to notice that freedom from it is possible. This collective dysfunction has created a very unhappy civilisation that has become a threat not only to itself but also to all life on the planet.

Freedom from this unease is possible by becoming more conscious - or individuated - which I will cover in future posts.

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There is nothing with which we are not linked

We are all rooted in deep, invisible ground…somehow connected with animals, trees, mountains, meadows, and running water. We should draw from this a sense of security and the conviction that here is solid ground on which we stand.

LinkedGradually, we can learn to welcome moments that both move and stimulate us. And welcome too, all the different feelings and moods, happy or painful, which arise from them and follow in their wake.Once the bustle of life dies down we are left just with the thoughts and feelings inside us. If we pause, listen, watch, and feel, we can really enjoy those moments. We can start to understand that our feelings and moods and intuition are the beating heart of our link with the world. We can breathe more deeply and know that our mind has really begun to exist.

These tiny, almost insignificant, moments can change us. They are a silent metamorphosis, fragments of existence, like feathers of life drifting down from the sky. They are moments that can thrill and transform us.

Jung understood the importance of our connection with the earth. He said: “At times I feel as if I am spread out over the landscape and inside things, and am myself living in every tree, in the splashing of the waves, in the clouds and the animals that come and go, in the procession of the seasons. There is nothing with which I am not linked.” MDR P225.

In nature, nothing is isolated. If we have lost our connection with Nature, we have lost our connection with ourselves.

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Change yourself, change the world

Carl Jung loved to tell the story of the Rain Maker, which he was told by Richard Wilhelm, the first man to translate the I-Ching and bring it into the western world.

Richard Wilhelm was in a remote Chinese village that was suffering from a most unusually prolonged drought. Everything had been done to put an end to it, and every kind of prayer and charm had been used, but all to no avail. So the elders of the village told Wilhelm that the only thing to do now was to send for a rainmaker from a distance. This interested him enormously and he was careful to be present when the rainmaker arrived. He came in a covered car, a small wizened old man. He got out of the car, sniffed the air in distaste, then asked for a cottage on the outskirts of the village. He made the condition that no one should disturb him and that his food should be put down outside the door. Nothing was heard of him for Fish Yin and Yang three days, then everyone woke up to a downpour of rain. It even snowed, which was unknown at that time of year. Wilhelm was greatly impressed and sought out the rainmaker, who had now come out of his seclusion. Wilhelm asked him in wonder: "So you can make rain?" The old man scoffed at the very idea and said: "of course he could not”. "But there was the most persistent drought until you came," Wilhelm retorted, "and then -- within three days… it rains?" "Oh," replied the old man, "that was something quite different. You see, I come from a region where everything is in order, it rains when it should and is fine when that is needed, and the people also are in order and in themselves. But that was not the case with the people here, they were all out of Tao and out of themselves. I was at once infected when I arrived, so I had to be quite alone until I was once more in Tao, and then naturally it rained!"

The idea that if one is in the “Tao” then one’s path in the external world is unencumbered, and, inversely, when one encounters a disturbance in the world, it is usually indicative of an inner disturbance. 

If we think psychologically, we are absolutely convinced that things quite naturally happen this way (such as the rainmaker’s ability to create rain). If we have the right attitude then the right things happen. We don’t make it right, it is just right, and we feel it has to happen in this way. It is just as if we were inside of things. If we feel right, that things must turn up, it fits in. It is only when we have a wrong attitude that we feel that things do not fit in, that they are strange. If someone says that in his surroundings the wrong things always happen, it is him who is wrong, he is not in Tao; if he was in Tao, he would feel that things are as they have to be. Sometimes we find ourselves in a valley of darkness, dark things happen, but dark things belong there, they are what must happen then; they are nonetheless in Tao.

Taoist ethics are concerned less with doing good acts than becoming a good person who lives in harmony with all things and people.

If we want to live well we should take all our decisions in the context of the Tao, trying to see what will fit best with the natural order of things.

Taoists thus always do what is required by events and their context, but they only do what is required, no more.

But what is required may be a lot less than modern Westerners think. From the perspective of classical Taoism, Western humanism makes the mistake of assuming that the ability to intervene in life's events translates into a moral duty to do so.

Humans are indeed capable of intervening in life's events, but the evidence of life, which humans constantly ignore, is that such intervention is destructive to all involved and that we therefore have a moral duty to refrain from taking such actions.

So, in theory at least, Taoists tend not to initiate action - but wait for events to make action necessary - and avoid letting their own desires and compulsions push them into doing things. Good behaviour is an essential part not only of self-improvement but of improving the world as a whole.

The Taoist ideal is for a person to take action by changing themselves, and thus becoming an example of the good life to others.

They should develop themselves so that they live their life in complete harmony with the universe. So the philosophy is not to do good things, but to become a good person.

Changing oneself in that way will make the world a better place because as a person behaves well towards other people and the world, the community will respond by becoming better itself.

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How well do you know yourself?

I’ve collected some rocks ready to paint. It would be easy to determine the average weight of these stones and get an average weight of, let’s say 200 grams. But this tells me very little about the real nature of each individual rock and it’s unlikely any one rock actually weighs 200 grams. With stones, as with people, it is not the universal and regular that characterise the individual, but rather the unique. As I listen to the news about the coronavirus I realise that we too can be regarded as a comparative unit, as an abstract picture of “a man” from which all individual features have been removed. But to understand an individual human being we much lay aside all scientific knowledge of the “average man” and discard all Memoriestheories in order to adopt a completely new and unprejudiced attitude.

We must approach the task of understanding with a free and open mind. Whereas knowledge of mankind or insight into human character or behaviour, pre-supposes all sorts of knowledge about humans in general, understanding ourselves as an individual, with all our flaws and unique qualities requires us to turn a blind eye to scientific knowledge. If the psychologist wants to classify his patient scientifically but also to understand him as a human being he has an internal conflict of duty between knowledge and understanding. He cannot take an either/or stance but needs a kind of two-way thinking doing one thing while not losing sight of the other.

Do you ‘follow the crowd’ behaving in a certain way so as to ‘fit in’ and so losing sight of the “I” or individual that you truly are? (You might not realise you are doing it). In school we are taught conformity: “This is how you do it”. We were trained to do repetitive work in factories, in a system designed for the industrial age, a system designed to produce a lot of people who act the same, think the same, and look the same.

What most of us call “self-knowledge” is actually very limited knowledge. Most of it is dependent on social factors, of what goes on in the human psyche. We often come up with the prejudice that such and such a thing “never happens in our family” or “with us” or with our friends and acquaintances. And we also have equally illusory assumptions about alleged qualities we believe we have which merely serve to cover up the true facts of the case.

Your ego is the centre of your field of consciousness, Think of it as your manager, organising your thoughts, feelings, senses, and intuition, and regulating access to your memory. It is the part that links your inner and outer worlds together, forming how you relate to that which is external to you.

People often think they know themselves well, but, in truth, they are confusing “self-knowledge” with knowledge of their conscious ego personalities. Our ego knows only its own contents, not the unconscious (which is huge) and its contents. People tend to measure their self-knowledge by what the average person in their social circle knows of himself, not by the real psychic facts which are for the most part hidden from them deep in their unconscious. As with his body, although he lives in it and with it constantly, the average person knows very little about it.

Our unconscious mind is far bigger than our conscious mind and is immune to conscious criticism and control. We are defenceless and open to all kinds of influences and psychic infections. As with all dangers, we can guard against the risk of psychic infection only when we know what is attacking us, and how, and from where and when the attack will come.

Self-knowledge is a matter of knowing individual facts. Theories are not much use, they are often statistical, or an ideal average, so ignoring all the exceptions at either end of the scale and just providing an abstract mean. The mean can be quite valid though it doesn’t necessarily exist in reality.

It’s like when we look at a tree and say, “That is an oak tree”, or “That is a pine tree”. The naming of the tree, which is botanical knowledge, has so conditioned your mind that the word comes between you and you actually seeing the tree.

It is all but impossible to describe the new awareness that comes when words, and our desire to understand and control, are abandoned and we have the courage to open our minds. We are so much more than we think we are. It might be a good idea, if, like the White Queen, we practiced believing six impossible things every morning before breakfast, for we are called on to believe what to many people is impossible. But, instead of rejoicing in this glorious "impossible" which gives meaning and dignity to our lives, we try to domesticate our lives/Nature/the Universe, to make everything comprehensible to our finite minds.

Please support my work by visiting my shop at Jane Redfern Art or by making a donation through Paypal With much love and appreciation. Thank you ❤️