Raising Your Vibe

In Colourful Tools To Uplift Your Spirits, I shared suggestions on how to design and use visual cues in a way that can quickly and easily help elevate one’s mood.  This is another offering to add to that collection.

You can use this image as a screensaver, wallpaper or poster.  You may get specific insights that you can then action.  In all likelihood, after repeating these queries a few times, you will begin to feel lighter, more enthusiastic, loving, joyous and peaceful, for no specific reason.

The questions can also be used with EFT, or the Access Consciousness Clearing statement if you so prefer.

Would be happy to hear of your experience in the comments below.  (If you enjoy the results, you are most welcome to share it with others.)

May the Force be with you :)

Yoda speaks

 

 

(Image made using Notegraphy)

Are You Resisting The Situation Or A Personal Transformation?

pearl

Our suffering is directly proportional to our resistance to the way things currently stand. The troubling conclusion that no breakthrough is possible is often erroneous.  The truth is that the available options may not be palatable to us.  For the way forward may require us to change ourselves, our point of view and our habitual choices. And sometimes we are simply unwilling to do so.

Denial, avoidance, and or procrastination not only display our ongoing argument with whatever is present, but also clearly indicate our refusal to see, be and act differently. 

The common, costly self-deception is the labeling of our resignation as ‘acceptance’, and our abdication of responsibility as ‘surrender’. (Please see What Does Surrender Mean To You” for a more detailed discussion on this.)

Instead of this, acknowledging our annoyance, and taking a different approach may transform us as well as the outcome. After all, it is a persistent irritation that results in the pearl.

As Pema Chodron summarizes,

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”

So, how best can we use a ‘stuck situation’ as an opportunity to learn and transform?

If you find yourself struggling with what seems to be a ‘stuck’ situation, find a quiet time and place and then try contemplating on each of the questions below. For at least this short while, set aside all your conclusions about the situation and consider:

  • What if this is life inviting you to grow and evolve in a way and at a pace that you have never experienced before? What would it take for me to be willing to accept such an invitation?
  • What role are you refusing to play that if you accepted would change everything?
  • How are you refusing to be that if you were willing to be would change everything?
  • What quality are you refusing to embody that if you choose to embody would change everything?
  • What are you resisting feeling or experiencing that if you allowed yourself to feel or experience would change everything?
  • Which of your thoughts are you refusing to want to be true?
    • If these are observable facts, what belief of yours do they challenge?
    • What would it take for you to let go of this belief and forgive yourself for holding on to it until now?
    • If it is an opinion or judgment, is it absolutely true?
    • What is it that compels you to insist, defend and perpetuate it?
    • What would it take for you to release all that and start from a neutral space now?

You may find specific answers to the above, or intuitively feel a softening and opening of your energy field as you park these questions in your awareness.  If this be the case, record them in your own voice and loop them for a couple of days. They can be used with the Access Consciousness Clearing Statement or with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).   Even used as rhetorical questions, they can lead to a fresh seeing of the situation and open up new possibilities for you.

A deep, attentive listening to your innermost answers to these can lead to a fresh seeing of the situation and open up new possibilities for you.

Would be happy to hear of your experience with this exercise.  Good wishes!
(If you find this useful, please share it with anyone you feel may benefit.)

 

 

Related Articles:

What Values Do You Live By?

9 Tips To Reinventing Yourself

 

What Does Surrender Mean To You?

animanshandsholdingwater-vi

When faced with a trying situation, ‘surrender’ is a common enough piece of spiritual advise that we give to ourselves or others. However, unless we have clarity on what this means to us, there is a danger of it being reduced to a meaningless cliche or a means of running from that which is inviting our growth.  It can become a means to escape responsibility, embracing victimhood instead. 

While we may subscribe to a theory, the true test of it is to see how it plays out in our experience.  My current understanding of surrender (as described below) has arisen from an iterative process. I routinely go back to my concepts and factor in what life has taught me and allow  newer clarity to emerge for myself.

To begin with, I am clear that surrender is not the same as resignation. It does not carry tones of helplessness, victimhood, exhaustion or dead-ends.  Nor does it assume that life is against me, ‘unfair’, or that in summary, I simply have to be miserable with an unhappy lot dealt out to me. 

Instead, surrender acknowledges:

  • I do not know everything. This mind-body operates as best as it can from the narrow cognizance, experience and perception it has.
  • I cannot know what I don’t know. 
  • Even what I think I know, I cannot be certain of: Most of what I think ‘I know’ is based on unquestioned thoughts, assumptions and limited experience.  We take so many things for granted that we do not even realise that they are only our points of view and not unshakeable guarantees of truth.  Scrutinising our beliefs provide eye-openers on a regular basis.  Consequently, what I think of as the best possible outcome is not necessarily correct.
  • There is a way to make the old adage of ‘Whatever happens is for the best’, true for ourselves. Things take on the meaning we give them. So while we may not have control over the ‘ten thousand things’ that appear in our world, we are always free to decide our response.  Consciously choose a narrative that is empowering and liberating.  (And make no mistake about this – it is a story that we build to string together happenings in a way that make some sense to us.  The same set of happenings may tell an entirely different story to someone else.)
  • This too shall pass:  Nothing is permanent and whatever it is now, whether I see it as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it will eventually change. It is my own resistance to things that deepens my suffering.

It is also helpful to remember:

  • Who we truly are, remains untouched through this all.  As ACIM reminds, “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.
  • The mind-body(mine or any ‘other’ that I am concerned for) has its limitations.  Therefore, it will experience pleasure and pain. That is the nature of things and to argue with that is futile.  But if we are able to see ourselves as the screen, rather than identifying with the movie characters, their adventures become just that – temporary adventures.
  • In the world of duality, there will always be pros and cons to everything. Its okay to make mistakes, face painful consequences or not find the ‘perfect’ solution. Who we become through the process is usually far more important than what we get. By insisting we ‘must be happy all the time‘, we prolong our unhappiness.
  • Indecision is itself is a choice. You cannot avoid taking a stance.  Even when we choose to procrastinate – avoid decisions or implementing action  – in all cases, we are making a choice. There is no real way to avoid the inconvenient responsibility of it’s consequences.

Given the above, it becomes easier to see that Surrender does not imply disowning personal responsibility or avoiding choice.  Practically speaking, the best way to go about it seems:

    1. To go as quiet as one can, so that you are able to access your true nature and innate wisdom more clearly.  (Our habitual, unconscious, noisy mind-chatter normally drowns out this ever present, serene guidance.)
    2. To allow your self to receive clarity from this space, no matter how inconvenient or unappealing this insight be.
    3. Actioning this insight, with full willingness and openness to its consequences, without any blame, or guilt. (Please note that now, even if it is not doing anything at all, the choice no longer comes from fear and hence has a different effect.)
    4. Gracefully meeting whatever arises then, in flow and in sync with life and its unfolding.
    5. Using the learnings from this experience to inform and deepen your conscious dance with life.

Sunny-calm and turbulent weather are both a part of this life. The point is not to pretend or run away from the storms, but to sail through them. The less rigid we are, the smoother the journey becomes. It has taken a great deal of practice and mindfulness to arrive at this place for me.  But I have found that regular inner work, self-inquiry, clearings and meditation have helped create more balance and calm. It has helped me grow less and less attached to specific outcomes and brought in an increasing ease with whatever shows up. 

Perhaps some of this will help you articulate your own understanding of surrender and to move forward with ease. If you find this interesting food for thought, please share it on.  Many of us are struggling with navigating difficult situations right now and I would be happy if it were to be useful to someone.

(Google Image)

Poems: Don’t Argue With The Pain

Light pillar badami
Don’t argue with the pain.
Don’t pretend away the discomfort.
It is okay to be broken, conflicted,
Today – in need of comfort.
You are not obligated and bound
To be upbeat and strong all the time.
All that life asks of you
Is that you take it as it comes
Just one step at a time.
Welcome the sun and the shadows
They both appear and fade
You have nature’s assurance:
None of this is permanent.
This too shall change.But who you truly are
Unfazed remains.

 

Photo Credit:  Anita Modak

Poems: Break Out

Bronze Sculpture by M.C. Escher

A long, long time ago
There arrived the thought
That love was something dangerous
Mysterious and unreliable:
It led to all kinds of grief, tears,and loss

That there was no way to tame it
Contain what it brought:
The confusion, foolishness
Futility of unending fears
Inconvenient changes
It sometimes wrought

And that day it was decided
By the previously innocent mind
Be careful! Guard yourself.
Impose restrictions
Safety measures, gates and limits,
Not everyone or everything is kind.

There came into place a cage
Of all these imagined fears and plots
Counter-strategies to play safe
Keep out what the heart sought

Confined by these boundaries
Fluid nature became ice
Hard and cold as stone
Brittle and fragile…
That was the heavy price.

So an identity took form
Gradually fleshing out stories
Fixating upon other characters
Making them out to be solid and real too
This is how the idea
Of a separate, vulnerable self grew.

Here, the idea of safety and territory took root.
Before this, in a seamless, flowing world
There was no question of a me or you….
Simply different possible locations
From which to experience life
As a temporary point of view.

But now we have forgotten all that
Forgotten what was felt and known true
That nothing real can be threatened
And all the angels and demons
We run obsessively from or to
They are all but a dream,
An illusion we have bought into.

All because a prison was imposed,
Love was titrated fine:
“Just enough to keep one alive
Too much and one goes blind”.

What would change
If that were not the case?
If love and foolishness
Were no longer confused?
If the pointlessness of damming flow,
Of defending and attacking
Was realized and understood?

What kind of a paradigm
Would this one transform into?

 
 

(Bronze Sculpture by M.C.Escher)

Poems: Light And Shadows

Afterlight by Jan Kriwol

We blink in and out of existence
Ephemeral and unreal.
How one shows up can change
Every moment, fresh and malleable.

 

Like the dance of shadows
Cast by playful fingers 
Filtering clear sight
Becoming a rabbit, or eagle
Just as easily.
With each breath
We decide.

 

Whether to be trapped
As a singular heavy shade
Or be a conduit of light.

 
 

Image: Afterlight by Jan Kriwol

What Values Do You Live By?

Woman cycling - Tanushree Vaidya Photography

Values are not what we talk about. They are how we live. They determine why we make and live the choices we eventually do.

Quite often, we don’t live what we advocate. We may express certain preferences and ethics in our self-talk and external debates. But when it comes to walking the talk, these may be less present and more absent than we would like.

Any such split within us causes us stress, discontent and keeps us disturbed. Without knowing it, we are living by one set of principles and measuring ourselves by another. Whereas acknowledging any such dichotomy helps address the gap and us move to a more integrous, hence more peaceful, fulfilling and enjoyable way of life.

This gap within us may be something we see clearly, or it may be something we have not realized. When subtle or unconscious, it may display itself in the form of dissatisfaction, angst or apathy. Procrastination or indecisiveness may be keeping us in a long state of ‘stuckness’. Also, look out for an emotionally charged reaction towards others displaying behavior contradictory to your stated values. Any such triggering is a good hint of us being unable to notice, and or forgive that in our self. (Click here for a more detailed write-up on this.)

In order to address this split, we need to clarify our values. The truth is that understanding our personal values is a tricky business. What we want and what we think we want can be two radically different things.

 Everything has its pros and cons. In theoretical discussion, we tend to discount the discomforts accompanying ‘nobler’ choices, as also our non-adherence to the same. In practice, it may be more challenging to live with the price one has to pay or the changes these aspirations demand of us.

Illustratively, one may believe in minimalism but rationalize the need to hold on to dozens of books; one may advocate fitness or environmental issues, but take the car for even short distances; one may value fairness, charity or generosity, but pay cost or less at the ‘pay-what-you-want’ cafe; one may aspire to forgiveness and yet be unable to let go of an old disagreement with family.

Often, what we think we value is more indicative of what we expect from others and the world than of ourselves.

A thorough, methodical examination of how we use our limited resources of time, energy and attention can be quite revealing. Such a deeply honest inquiry can help us discern the values we live (find comfortable or doable) at this point, as against those we aspire towards. There are several online questionnaires that can help you with this task.

Below is a list of some useful questions that I had noted a while back (sorry, I can’t recollect the source). Initial, reflexive answers may come from habit and conditioning. So make sure you spend a little time reflecting and revisiting these before you list at least 3-5 answers to each one:

  • How do you fill your space?
  • How do you spend your time?
  • How do you spend your energy?
  • How do you spend your money?
  • What do you think about most?
  • What do you envision or visualize most?
  • What do you internally dialogue about most?
  • What do you externally dialogue about most?
  • Where are you most organized?
  • Where are you most disciplined?
  • What do you react to most?
  • What do you set goals towards most?

 This should have helped you gain a fairly good idea about what you currently find comfortable or doable and live by.

Now compare this to who you thought you were or would like to be and how you would like to live. Some areas will already converge while the contrasts in other places may surprise you.

A more complete alignment can be attained in one of the following two ways:

I.  By updating our list of values to reflect reality as it stands.

A deeper understanding of who we are, where we are and how things currently stand helps us find truer, more peaceful self-acceptance. Broadly speaking, there are two possible explanations for the places our values turned out to be different from what we thought prior to the exercise:

  • There may be another set of priorities that we understand the merits of but are not yet ready to shift towards. For example, valuing generosity or co-operation, but displaying stinginess and competitive traits. In such case, discovering and releasing the underlying fears, unhealed wounds and insecurities is necessary before there can be any change in priorities.
  • We actually judge what we thought we valued. For example, we think we value ‘gentleness’, but demonstrate ‘aggressiveness’ because the former is judged as being ‘weak’; or we thought we value ‘freedom’ in work and relationships, but find this to be ‘impractical’ or ‘shallow’, and consequently ‘commit’ to unhappy jobs or marriages. 
In such a case, it is useful to check if the judgments are truly our own, or our way of ‘fitting in’. There may have been instances of being say ‘gentle’, or announcing your ‘need for freedom’, that led to disastrous consequences. Or that one has now come to respect the ‘power’ that ‘aggression’ brings, or the ‘comfort’ and ‘reliability’ that ‘commitment’ brings. ‘Rights’ and ‘wrongs’ are a matter of opinion but where we stand today needs to be admitted.

By being honest with ourselves, we cease wasting energy in the denial of our hurts, and rejection of our current experience and opinion. We are then able to re-examine how we would like to live the rest of our life. This further guides us in our inner work of releasing filters, limiting beliefs and emotional baggage.

OR

II. By implementing choices and actions that incorporate our true values.

Even if they be baby steps, one must start actioning the shift.Radical changes in lifestyle, career, home, health, finances, etc. may seem like a daunting task. Such changes can be challenging, time-consuming and disruptive to the comfort of familiarity we have chosen thus far. But a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, as they say. Well begun is half done.

How you choose to be is a choice you make from moment to moment. Whether one is being mindful or running on auto-pilot makes all the difference.

As long as every step takes you closer to your idea of who you believe yourself to be at heart – regardless of what ensues and how long it takes – you begin to experience greater happiness and contentment.

Lastly, a side-benefit of clarifying our values is healthier relationships: Like it or not, we gauge others using yardsticks determined by our values. Being aware of our values gives us a better understanding of our reactions and thus helps make things less personal. For example, someone who values hard work will likely find a Taoist lazy or irresponsible. Or someone valuing extroversion is likely to see an introvert as boring, shy and so forth. Recognizing that we are referring to a completely different framework enables us to be less rigid and demanding of others, thereby bringing greater harmony into our relationships.

I hope this article helps you discover a greater clarity and ease. If you find it useful, please share it with others.

Photo: Tanushree Vaidya Photography