Know Thyself – Tools for Self-Knowledge – Richard’s Commentary

As I was writing my “morning pages” today I realized after a couple of paragraphs that I was writing today’s post and commentary on Rosemary’s Exploration article. I began my pages, as I often do, writing about the passage of time; here’s my entry:

We are running out of Leo fast; and then August. Everyone seems to be noting how fast time is now passing.

Of course it is all perception – as everything is. One effect on our perception is the amount of information we are bombarded with moment to moment. 24-hour news, FaceBook, email, the never ending stream of websites and blogs is literally overwhelming. When we are overwhelmed we can go into a spin, a dive that seems endless, frightening and high-speed. Time melts away in the dive – it almost feels like a death-defying dive!

And it is all perception! The only reality is of our own making, our own perceiving. To change our reality all we need to do is change our perspective. And this is a matter of intention and attention.

It begins with intention: what is going on inside. If we feel we are in free-fall, take a breath, maybe two, deep cleansing breaths, and then put the brakes on. Stop the fall. Sink into the dantien (the lower abdomen area) and breathe there. It is possible to float here. And as we float we can get a sense of flow, of going with the flow. The current doesn’t have to be a raging rapids; it can be a slow, lazy summer river taking its time in search of the sea. It can take on any speed we give it because this is our reality. We can imagine it to be any rate of flow we desire!

It’s good to take time out of a busy life to slow the pace. There really is no place to go. There’s nothing to do. Oh, OK, there are chores of life, tasks we set for ourselves, responsibilities we sign up for and lessons to learn. But we can be and breathe through all of these.

The “being part” is the witness who rides above all of the rapid pace, the wild passage of time, the endless stream of information. Rise up to that level and watch it all. How serious does it all appear to be – how real? How important?

From that vantage the passage of time seems almost irrelevant. Yes, we have our lessons to work out, our karmic Lesson Plan. Here’s where attention comes in. There are external influences that come to play in our lives. We have other people’s perceptions to take into account and to process. When we pay attention we can see and learn the lessons these interactions hold for us. This is a matter of shifting our perspective from “encounter” to “classroom.” We shift from “other” to “mirror” – how is this person mirroring me, my interactions and my behavior?

Inner perspective, intention, and outer perspective, attention, are always relative, which means they are adaptable, transmutable. The simple technique of using breath to do the adapting is all that’s needed. One breath can stop the fall, gain a fresh perspective and shift reality.

I have moved now well into my birthday month, working on my 70th year! To many, and sometimes me, this sounds old! And from this perspective that time is speeding up, I may not have much time left! So, I take a breath and try this on: “70 is the new 50”! Ah, that’s better and about how I feel! And soon enough 100 will be the new 70!

Rosemary asks: Have you explored tools to help you understand where you are coming from? What about where others are coming from? Do you value the differences in how people approach learning, or life, or do you expect everyone to see things as you see them? To listen and to hear exactly what you hear? To feel the way you feel?

My answer, as it is for many things these days, is “I practice Qigong.” Breathe deeply and gain a new perspective on your “reality.”

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MUSE-INGS: Clean the Lens or Change the Prescription!

Relationships. Always a challenge. Always an opportunity. Always a potential source of joy.

Sometimes we think immediately of an intimate or love relationship when we hear the word, but we are in relationships with others whether they be long term, intimate or just the person who is the cashier at the grocery store. Do you think of relationships in this way?

When a grocery cashier seems to be having a bad day or appears grumpy, what is your reaction? Do you get grumpy in response or do you get understanding and sympathetic? When your child is angry and upset and possibly screaming at you, do you react in kind or do you try to look at things from their perspective? When your partner has upset you, are you in reactive mode or thoughtful mode to see what you are really feeling and which lens you are looking through?

I was working with a client recently and received this guidance for her: Give yourself permission to have the reaction but choose the best response. You don’t have to follow through with the reaction. You have options to respond a different way. It can be easy to keep going with the initial knee-jerk reaction but when you are living a Conscious Life you hit the pause button, notice the reaction but choose the appropriate response.

For example, those of us who are helpers tend to jump to help another when we perceive the need. But is this the best response? Are we looking through our own lens and not allowing them to have theirs? Our reaction might be to jump in and help but perhaps the best response is to support them in finding their own solution.

Or someone might be angry and our immediate reaction is to feel that they are angry at us. They might not even be noticing us at the time but we react to their anger without pausing to see if that is the best response for us to choose at the time. Maybe our Dad hit us when he was angry and the little child in us is afraid that will happen again whenever we are around anger. Or we had a lover once who shouted angrily just before they stormed out of the door, never to be seen again, and we are reacting with our fear of being abandoned again.

There is always so much more going on in any relationship than meets the eye at the surface of things. Allow yourself the freedom to take time to notice where you are in your own feelings as you relate to others. Are YOU having a bad day and the grocery cashier being slow allows you to vent your feelings on them? Is your partner really upsetting you or are you already upset about something and they are merely triggering your reaction?

Be conscious of your feelings. If you need to, then practice going inside to assess what is true for you in this present moment. Your lens has been created by all of your life experiences and it exists at an unconscious level within you. It’s not something that you can access through analysis or your mind. You must learn to feel your feelings and to express them appropriately. But this can only happen if you take time to do the inner work, uncover what exists at the unconscious level and bring it into your awareness.

The most important relationship you have is the one with yourself. Are you looking at yourself through a harsh, judgmental lens, created from your past experiences? Or is your lens foggy with misconceptions or blurry images that you haven’t taken the time to examine and clear up? Maybe the place to start is to work on this internal relationship first. Then you can change the prescription on your lens and see all your other relationships in a new light!

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from The Divine Feminine: Relationship Rx — Time for a New Prescription?

Dear Ones,

The heart of a person is never operating in a way that is fully visible to others. Remember this in all your personal interactions.

Each person has a series of experiences in their past that influence their feelings in any given moment. From birth onward they have had feelings, emotions, experiences that have shaped them into the person they are today. As you have been shaped by your life, you must understand that every person around you has also been shaped by theirs. Can you find an understanding place within you so that you accept every other person just as they are without judgment or analysis or condemnation?

Think of a recent interaction with someone that you wish had gone differently. This doesn’t necessarily mean an angry confrontation or anything you would deem negative, just something that you wish had taken a different path. Now think of that person as a little child in that situation, where they were probably operating from a position where they didn’t have the same information that you had about that situation. Might you see that their choices were based on only the information that they had at the time, not on what you knew or had experience with, but only on their limited experience? Perhaps it triggered a remembrance of something they had already experienced and so they responded as they had before. Or perhaps they chose a different response to seek a different result.

When you try on the perspective of another person, you are working from a place where you have all the insights of your perspective but can see that they might have been looking at things differently. We hope that this gives you a feeling of understanding and comprehension of what is going on in any interaction.

Other people are not you. They have a different way of seeing life and themselves. They are the product of all their experiences to date and they can only look through the lens of those experiences. You have not had the same experiences. Your lens is not the same as theirs. You must understand this if your interpersonal relationships are to be successful.

Some people teach that you must learn to forgive, but the definition of forgiveness does not come from this place of understanding. You have no obligation to become a doormat to others, or to forgive something that has injured or harmed you. Forgiveness is not saying, ‘It’s all right,’ although that is how many interpret forgiveness.

True forgiveness is the understanding that there is nothing to forgive, in this old sense of the word. Everybody is doing the best they can with the resources they have at any given moment. You might wish they had more or different resources, but they are doing the best they can. Forgiveness from this perspective means ‘I understand that you are looking through your personal lens and I choose not to take into myself the energy of owning your choices and your perspective.’ When you make a decision about how you will react, how you respond to something, you are choosing whether to take that trigger into yourself or let it pass through.

At the same time you must decide whether or not you are going to place yourself in this situation again in the future. Too many times it is easier to let something go that has disturbed you, allow feelings of anger or resentment or worse fester within you, and yet you do not make the choice to distance yourself from the other person. Or you do not express appropriately the feelings that you are having to inform that person [and, thus, to give them more resources/information] so that they can make the choice to change their behavior if they wish.

Relationships are not about two people always seeing eye to eye because no two people have had the same experiences to bring to their connection with each other. Relationships that thrive do so because each individual has found a way to remain their own person while allowing the other person to also remain an individual, different but agreeing on seeing things through different, very personal lenses.

Remember this in all your interactions with others!

And so it is.

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Please feel free to re-post this article and share it with your readers and followers. All I ask is that you include the following information when you do: