Five-word Meditation

This morning I am sharing these with you. I wrote them at the beginning of June for myself and they became my Mantra over the weeks. In reading these over again today, I thought some of you may also appreciate them and perhaps make you reflect on your words.

Presence – by being the observer, the witness. I become present here and Now in everything that I say and do – walking, doing the dishes, making coffee, writing, breathing, talking, etc. I am also present in the sense that I am not projecting myself in the future, expecting, wishing, hoping, imagining. I am living here and Now. I am present.

Determination – by sticking with it. I follow my path, I continue moving forward, I move over and around obstacles that I face. I am determined to achieve my goal of being more happy, being Me and by not giving up. I have determination.

Courage – by keeping my eyes opened in the midst of the storm, by facing what I have come to see. I have courage to go through with my decisions, to face the conflict it may bring, leaving fears, guilt and the unknown aside. I have the courage to do what I know is necessary and I believe in myself. I have courage.

Patience – by not trying to force things to go faster than they should. In each situations, I have poise and balance and I am able to see the bigger picture. I do not jump to conclusions or make irrational, emotional decision based on fear or anger. I recognize the Ego in action, trying to hide the truth from me, trying to shield and protect itself. I have patience.

Faith – by believing that all is the way it should be. I know that Life has my back! I strongly believe that all happens for a reason : learning. I understand that to learn, I must be opened to change and not have fear to let go of the control I think I have over any situation. Instead, I simply go with the flow, letting it carry me as a stream carries a flower. I have faith.


External referencing and suffering

When we are born, we are pure and perfect, unconditioned by society, our reference points all found inwards. At a very young age, we learn that we own things and that we have to care for them, yet at the same time, we are told that we have to share our toys with others. You may agree with me there that this can get a bit confusing.

And so we grow up being told how to behave, learning to please others, making sure that what we are doing is acceptable for the rest of society. I think we can really see this conflict between the internal Self and the external references during the teenage years. While searching for who we are, we also want to distinguish ourselves from others. Is that so wrong?

I think there might be something here to explore, something here to learn. Let’s imagine this for example; you are at a party and someone asks who you are. What is the most common answer? I am so and so and I am a doctor, a school teacher, etc. But what if you were to lose your job the very next day, how would you identify yourself then?

We have become so accustomed to identifying ourselves by our titles, the things we own and the relationships we have, that we have lost touch with who we really are. My boyfriend, my house, my car, my job, these are not who you are, they do not define you, yet we let these define us. We hold on so tightly to these external references as if they were a part of us that when we lose them, we are ourselves lost.

Other than these things and relationship, and here is where it becomes more subtle, are our “wants” and our expectations. For example, if you are someone who’s received external gratification each time something was accomplished, later in life, when you find yourself in a situation where your accomplishments are not necessarily praised, you may start to blame others. The truth is, only you can truly be proud of your accomplishments, and you being proud should satisfy this “want”.

And so, by looking outside of us for encouragement, for gratification, for a “good job” pat on the back, we are only deceived and momentarily satisfied. By seeking others’ opinions and blessings about personal decisions we should make for ourselves, we are taking away our responsibility towards our own happiness, blaming others when things don’t work out.

Happiness is found inside us. There is great work, hard work to be done to face who we really are, but once we start doing so, there is no turning back. It may turn your world upside down, but it will have been worthwhile, because in the end, you will achieve such inner peace and you will make decision linking the heart to the mind and to the body, becoming whole again.

Take the time to recognize how you look to others to make you happy, how you expect certain things will be done or given to you. Notice how your material possessions seem to define you and start making steps towards releasing some of these external references. Redefine who you are by looking inside and be content, happy and satisfied by what you find for that is the only truth, the only reality. Beauty will shine from inside you and inspire others.


Perseverance and Recognizing the Ego

I’ve been reading this awesome book on rock climbing called the “Rock Warrior’s Way – Mental Training for Climbers” by Aarno Ilgner. For rock climbers, you know that climbing is a very challenging sport, not only physically but mentally as well. You are faced by your own fears, all of your physical weaknesses are exposed, you get hurt over and over again, you fall off climbs, you can’t make it up – many reasons some have given up the sport entirely, but we don’t, because of our love for climbing.

Perseverance is key, and whether you wish to apply it to rock climbing or situation in life, I think these first few pointers can definitely change the way you view the challenges ahead and will make you a happier person altogether. Why? Because when we feel like we’ve “failed” we are discouraged and disappointed and this mental state is reflected upon our entire life, affecting our relationships, our performance at work, our health even, making us feel like crap and like we should just give up.

It is important to recognize the work of the Ego. Taking climbing for example, many climbers get to a crag and look around comparing themselves to others even before starting climbing! (we do this unconsciously and in many other social situations as well). The Ego wants to know where it stands, so it drives us to compare ourselves to others, making us feel superior or inferior to those around us. Noticing this is a good first step. Only then we can become the Observer.

Next, we climb. As we take a fall or can’t make it up a climb, we kick the wall, screaming that “this route sucks!”, blaming the belayer, the holds that are too crimpy, our stupid fingers or our weak forearms for not sticking it, etc. Other times we come down the wall in silence but angry and disappointed at our poor performance, pouting and discouraged, telling ourselves that the route is too hard and that we’ll never make it up. The thing is, whatever level you are climbing at, whether a beginner or a 5.12d climber, this happens to all of us. In fact, many of us will choose to stay on easier climbs in order to always succeed and avoid being discouraged… but in doing so, we are also avoiding progress.

So yesterday, I decided to lead up a hard climb (Sausages 5.10b) which I had only ever tried on top rope before. Although I have climbed it at least four times this season already, and many other times in the last years, it has always been a difficult climb for me and I have fallen off many times during each ascent, leaving the crag feeling frustrated. The difference now is not that I am stronger or more experience, it is that my mental state has started to shift. And so, as I fell off the climb the last few times, instead of being discouraged, I asked myself “What did I learn?”.

I lead and fell off the climb over the fourth bolt this time. But instead of being discouraged of not having made it up to the top on lead, I asked myself again “What did I learn?”. Well it turns out that I have learned how to do the first part pretty well because I use to fall over the 3rd bolt before! Now that’s rewarding :) I made it up higher than before and I did all that while on lead. And although I fell, as I came down I was happy and was already thinking about what I had learn that I could apply to my training and my climbing for next time. Not only about the holds and which sequence to work out, but also about which part was challenging for me, what was going on in my mind and in my body while going through these.

So get out there and try again! Don’t think in terms of accomplishments because there are only two possible answers to this : succeeding or failing, and that is not helpful. Instead see what you can learn about yourself, about your abilities, how can you use those holds to your advantage, and finally, what the possibilities are. Remember that there are always possibilities and opportunities waiting for you and that there is only failing if you let your Ego compare yourself to others. Trust in your abilities and believe in yourself, because no one else can do this for you.

Encounter of the fourth kind

I would like to begin this post by acknowledging where I am now. I am doing so because only by knowing where I stand now can I know that I am making progress. For those who know me personally and for those who don’t, before I go forward, I want to reiterate that this blog reflects my thought process and ideas on how we, myself included, could potentially live a happier life. I do not pretend to know everything or anything. Writing is my outlet.

This is my battle against my Ego.

“The ego is an activity, not an entity. The ego is the activity of avoidance, the avoidance of relationship. The root of all suffering is called the ‘ego’, as if it were a ‘thing’, an entity. But the same ego is actually the activity of self-contraction—in countless forms, endured unconsciously” (Adi Da Samraj). It is also interesting to note that, ‘ego’ forms part of the word ‘egoism’.

I’ve entitled this post “Encounter of the fourth kind” for exactly what it means in ufology: “cases when witnesses experienced a transformation of their sense of reality”, as described per Jacques Vallée’s 1998 publication in the Journal of Scientific Exploration (link). Of course his refers to UFOs and flying saucers, which is not where I am going with this idea! Rather, I have decided to give this classification a twist, applying it to myself, in the battle against my Ego.

And so, in this sense, encounter of the fourth kind refers to my behavior when interacting with others. While each of these individual interactions make me more aware, I sometimes feel the transformation is ever so slow to take place. For the last year or so, I have been increasingly confronting my Ego-self in a willingness to pursue my path. Needless to say, it has been a rough ride. I open myself here because I think it is the right place and time to do so.

At least three people here, other than my parents, will recognize this behavior: when I think that I am right about something, I won’t even hear what others have to say. I become so emotionally attached to my position, that I do not think rationally anymore, closing all channels of communication with my interlocutor. The Ego having taken over, the other person’s response is then seen as a personal attack rather than what it really is, someone else’s opinion or thoughts. In the midst of the moment, I do not see what is happening, blinded by my Ego-self, but when the bell rings I am ashamed of my behavior.

I am working hard at recognizing the Ego’s work, its activity of refraining my ability to have my notions challenged, a necessary fight if I want to grow. This is my Great wall of China: I can neither jump over it nor go around it, I need to take it down brick by brick in order to rebuild the foundation of my emotional behavior. This is more than letting go, this is bringing awareness to my life in order to give way to my True Self.

This is an ongoing battle that has left some wounded. Whilst I know that I am the only one who holds the key, awareness comes in all shapes and sizes. To those of you who have had the strength and willingness to (continue) help me open my eyes, I am forever grateful. Your friendship and love means a lot to me.

Relations amoureuses

Nous nous posons beaucoup de questions face à nos “échecs” dans nos relations amoureuses : “pourquoi ça marche jamais? quand est-ce que je vais trouver la bonne personne? comment ça se fait que tous le monde est en couple et pas moi? pourquoi est-ce que je pogne toujours le même genre de personne?” etc. Dans ce texte je vous propose une compréhension différente de la nature de ces relations, que je m’efforce également à adopter dans ma vie, axée sur la recherche du bonheur. J’incorpore plusieurs citations du livre A Return to Love de Marianne Williamson parce qu’elles me semblent à point et inspirantes. Merci Joanna.

La finalité que nous accordons aux relations amoureuses nous pousse à leurs donner plus d’importance dans nos vies qu’elles ne le devraient. En élevant les relations amoureuses à un rang distinct de toutes autres relations interpersonnelles, nous nous obligeons à aimer et à percevoir cette personne différemment des autres. Bien sûr cette personne EST différente et spéciale pour nous, je ne dis pas le contraire. Par contre, ce besoin que nous avons de mettre une personne sur un piédestal peut être tellement nocive. Lorsque l’espoir remplace l’amour, nos attentes empoisonnent notre relation et n’amènent que de la déception. Marianne Williamson écrit : “I was always trying to make something happen in my life, but nothing much happened except all the drama I created around things not happening.

Nous avons une idée très étroite de ce que nous concevons être une relation amoureuse et lorsque nous sommes confrontés à la réalité et à nous-même, nous avons de la difficulté à aller plus loin. “With the concept of relationship come expectations, memories of past relationships, and further personally and culturally conditioned mental concepts of what a relationship should be like. Then I would try to make reality conform to these concepts. And it never does. And again I suffer”  (Viktor Egelund).

Les personnes que nous aimons et qui font parties de nos vies sont celles à qui nous avons décidé d’ouvrir les portes de notre cœur. Cela dit, la chose principale que nous devrions rechercher chez une autre personne dans une relation amoureuse, tout comme dans une relation d’amitié, est un apprentissage qui nous poussera à grandir. Cependant, pour que cet apprentissage ait lieu, nous devons accepter de ne pas avoir raison, de ne pas connaître la réponse et d’être littéralement projeté hors de notre zone de confort. “Growth is never about focusing on someone’s else lessons, but only on our own” (MW). Nous craignons de trouver ce qui se trouve à l’intérieur de nous et encore plus de le partager parce que nous avons peur d’être rejeté, peur de ne pas être à la hauteur de leurs attentes. Notre Égo nous force à résister et à être fort parce qu’une personne vulnérable et faible n’est pas attrayante à ses yeux. Pourtant, à bien y penser, les moments les plus difficiles de notre vie sont ceux qui provoquent les changements les plus profonds.

Lorsque tout est fini, nous avons mal et nous avons le sentiment d’avoir été trahit parce que notre Égo refuse de nous voir affaibli donc il nous fait prendre la décision de ne plus aimer. Mais de ne pas aimer alors que notre nature même est d’aimer fait extrêmement mal. “Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we have learned here. […] to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. […]  To the extent that we abandon love, to that extent we will feel it has abandoned us” (MW). Et cet abandon, nous en avons une peur bleue parce que nous croyons fermement que la source de notre bonheur est externe et incontrôlable…

Éventuellement, nous rencontrons quelqu’un d’autre et nous avons confiance de nouveau que les choses ont changés, que cette personne est différente. Au départ, tout semble parfait, nous sommes heureux mais peu à peu, nos craintes resurgissent et nous montons aux barricades parce que nous avons soudain un doute que cette personne n’est peut être pas la bonne. En fait, c’est nous qui n’avons pas changé. Notre Égo soutien qu’il veut nous protéger, lorsqu’en vérité, ce qu’il veut protéger à tout prix protéger est son statu quo – provenant de la locution latine statu quo ante et qui signifie littéralement “en l’état où (cela était) auparavant” impliquant la résistance au changement.

Donc, au lieu de vivre cette relation avec une attitude d’ouverture, de compréhension et d’amour inconditionnel, notre Égo nous force à nous souvenir du passé et à faire attention : “By bringing the past into the present, we create a future just like the past” (MW). Il arrive de rencontrer une personne avec laquelle nous évoluerons à long terme, parce que nous avons des connaissances à nous partager et parce que nous acceptons d’apprendre continuellement l’un de l’autre. Les relations qui perdurent nous enseignent beaucoup sur qui nous sommes, si nous sommes prêt à l’accepter, et les moments les plus difficiles peuvent parfois nous rapprocher davantage si nous en faisons le choix.

Permettons nous d’accepter de grandir et d’avoir tort. Obligeons nous à sortir de notre zone de confort. Ayons confiance que les gens que nous aimons et qui nous entourent ne veulent que notre bonheur. Choisissons d’avoir une attitude différente face aux obstacles que la vie présente et demeurons ouvert à l’apprentissage peu importe la forme qu’il puisse prendre.

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