“Stopping Self-Torture“ by: David Dillard-Wright, PhD

“Seek the unknown way, for the known way is an impasse.”
-Heraclitus, Ancient Greek Philosopher

If you cannot sit quietly and be contented within yourself, no amount of searching in the world will ever be any comfort. If you cannot delve into the space of a few minutes of silence and emerge with some new point of view on the world, you will be condemned to live in derivative belief systems borrowed from others. Silence restores our relationship with ourselves, and, in this way, it also becomes curative for our relationships with others. From this one still point, this center, all other interactions take their character. If I am impatient with myself, I will also be impatient with others. If I am angry with myself, I will also be angry with others, And yet, who is this “I”? It is a series of interactions that can be either harsh or peaceful, either frantic or calm. So we can choose the tenor of our lives from the quality of our mental states.

Practice being gentle with yourself this morning. Can you give yourself the same unconditional love that the great religions of the world recommend as a way to treat others? this may feel odd at first, but try it anyway. You should begin to feel a relaxing, a loosening inside like you have more room to breathe. As you go easier on yourself, you will also begin to have more patience for others.”

From: A Mindful Morning, by: David Dillard-Wright, PhD

I like sharing things that I read when I strikes me as significantly significant and I feel strongly that it could have that same significance for somebody else. As long as I cite my source, it’s ok to post someone else’s words, right? It’s not like I’m trying to claim them as my own. Most of the stuff I post is “self-help” type stuff, so the author would probably be happy that his/her words are being shared and potentially helping more than they would have had I not shared them….right? Of course they’re being robbed of what you, the reader, would have otherwise been forced to spend to read the material, but then I consider myself to be doing the author the favor of advertising. Hopefully, by sharing their words, you, the reader, will be encouraged to go on Amazon, or even better, to your local bookstore or bookstore’s website (given the times) and order the book for yourself. I HIGHLY recommend EVERY book that I “advertise” on my blog.

Now, my own words in regards to the words I borrowed from Dr. Dillard-Wright. It was really the first sentence that packed the biggest punch in my reading. “If you cannot sit quietly and be contented within yourself, no amount of searching in the world will ever be any comfort.And then the second sentence was thought-provoking: “If you cannot delve into the space of a few minutes of silence and emerge with some new point of view on the world, you will be condemned to live in derivative belief systems borrowed from others.”

ACIM: Lesson 7, Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I like how today’s lesson provides a “rationale” for all preceeding lessons. Brings them all together, like pieces of a puzzle and we’re now given a glimpse of the big pictures, rather than feeling the overwhelm of all the individual pieces.

I see only the past. Isn’t that the truth?!

In my concerted efforts to be mindful, to sit in meditation, to reflect and be in the moment, then of course this would not apply. But these lessons aren’t meant to apply to those times. These lessons are meant to apply to what is the majority of the time. In those other times, the minority of times, we are able to see more clearly and see the truth in these lessons. As I let those words sink in, “I see only the past,” and then look around the room and apply it to what I see, like the coffee cup example, it becomes more and more clear to me that it is the truth. It also becomes more and more clear to me how this lessons brings more clarity to the preceeding lessons.

The sentimentality I feel towards this house, this family home, is largely based on the past. Sure, I can see a future living here, but I am not as attached to the future of this home as I am to the past of this home. If I am able to ignore the past, then I can just as easily and happily see a future in another home.

ACIM: Lesson 6, Monday, April 6, 2020

I am upset because I see something that is not there.

Yesterday’s lesson said that “I am not (emotion) for the reason that I think.” Today’s lesson takes it a step further and says, “not only do you not know why you’re upset, but the reason you’re upset isn’t even real! You made it up!”

Wow! I wonder how much time I’ve spent upset for reasons that I made up on my own? As in, I didn’t have to be upset, but was choosing to be, basically.

  1. I am anxious about money because I see something that is not there.
  2. I am afraid of the Corona Virus because I see something that is not there.
  3. I feel resentment toward my siblings because I see something that is not there.

Again, I felt hesitation including the fear of the Corona Virus, but:

  1. “There are no small upsets. They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.”
  2. “I cannot keep this form of upset and let the others go. For the purposes of these exercises, then, I will regard them as all the same.”

What does it mean to see something that is not there? It means that I am imagining it. Creating it. I have heard it referred to as “rehearsing.” Like before a speech or a performance, you practice what you’re going to say, or how you’re going to act ahead of time. You imagine it and see yourself living it from the beginning through to the end. I think we do that in life too. We spend our time worrying about the future or the past, when neither the future or past are here NOW. Why be upset about something that isn’t here now?

Mindfulness. Living in the moment. We can’t change the past and we don’t know for sure what’s coming in the future. I also think, that if we spend our time worrying about the future, we’re actually LESS prepared for it when it arrives. There is a difference, of course, between worrying and planning. Let us plan, rather than worry. Let us live in the moment, here and now. If you are hungry, eat. If you are sleepy, sleep.

See only what is there.

  1. Nothing I see means anything.
  2. I have given everything I see all the meaning that it has for me.
  3. I do not understand anything I see.
  4. These thoughts do not mean anything.
  5. I am never upset for the reason that I think.
  6. I am upset because I see something that is not there.

ACIM: Lesson 5

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Is it, in fact, true that all forms of upset are the same?

Is it wise for me to question that which is taught in these lessons?

Perhaps if I had a more solidly educated grounds from which to pose my protest, other than simply being afraid to emerge from my “snow cave of the familiar.” For the purposes of following through with these lessons and the course as a whole, I will instead practice my ability to obediently absorb the information. Therefore, yes, all forms of upset are the same.

Upon reflection, I feel anxious about money. I feel afraid of the Corona Virus. I feel resentment toward my siblings.

  1. I am not anxious about money for the reason that I think.
  2. I am not afraid of the C.V. for the reason that I think.
  3. I am not resentful of my siblings for the reason that I think.

5.4.1 Yes!!! I definitely find it difficult to be indiscriminate in the application of this idea. I feel the fear of the C.V. is far too unique and extreme to be considered in the same way as the more trivial concerns of financial anxiety and family drama.

5.4.3 “There are no small upsets. They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.”

5.6.3 “I cannot keep this form of upset and let the others go. For the purposes of these exercises, then, I will regard them all as the same.”

And now this lesson makes a bit more sense. As I walked through the lesson again, more slowly, I was able to sort through the hesitations and confusion to achieve a clearer understanding of the lesson’s intent.

It is not for me to decide what I should and should not be seeing or feeling. I do not need to judge myself too harshly . All that I feel is okay. No single worry or emotion is any greater or lesser than another. They are all the same and all deserve the same level of respect.

Also, my problems are not for me to solve. At least not yet because I can’t understand them yet. I don’t feel these emotions for the reasons that I think. And for today, I will sit with that.

Renewal, By: Andrés R. Edwards

How Nature Awakens Our Creativity, Compassion, and Joy

“Begin by slowing down, by taking a moment to be still and ‘smell the roses.’ Encourage children and adult friends and colleagues to take a breath and reexamine the miracles that occur every day in our own neighborhoods: the intricate pattern of a robin’s nest, the daffodil sprouting in spring, the ladybug crawling on a native bunchgrass. And beyond the natural world, admire an act of kindness between a mother and son, a compassionate gesture between strangers or an awe-inspiring work of public art. These are the little moments that bring joy and gratitude into everyday experiences. They make us feel alive and enhance our health and well-being.”

Becoming the Eye

By: Jimmy Sinnott

This is my journal entry from Monday, August 5, 2019.

I was sitting on the deck this morning in my chair facing East. This my morning routine with which you are by now familiar. But today was different. I had been sitting at the kitchen table reading yesterday’s New York Times while my mom was making breakfast for Niece and Nephew. Brother had gone to work and his kids stayed home rather than going to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club. A bagel for Nephew and a bowl of cereal for Niece. But, Niece’s cereal “tasted funny” and she wanted a new bowl. That was the last of the cereal so another bowl wasn’t an option. Niece now wanted a bagel instead, but Nephew’s bagel was the last one, so a bagel wasn’t an option either, and my mom is suddenly carrying the weight of that stress.

I’m sitting at the kitchen table on the other side of the room from my mom telling myself to breathe. As an empath, I feel everything my mom feels. I’m trying to use my breath as a defense mechanism against the quickly ensuing feelings of frustration, anger, blame, and all the other stressful emotions I’ve become so familiar with. It’s not working. Monkey mind times ten like Monkey had too much coffee this morning. It continues

Now I’m starting to make things up in my mind. Things that haven’t happened yet, and probably won’t, but I’m stressing about them anyway. My mind is even stressing backwards. “Is this the kind of thing that cause such and such bad thing to happen however many years ago?” My poor deep breathing efforts don’t stand a chance.

So, I fold the newspaper, get up from the table and walk across the kitchen to refill my coffee. Cause that’s exactly what I need, right? More caffeine to help me calm down. I decide to pour just half a cup for the flavor and top it off with hot water. A small victory and a brief distraction from the surrounding chaos.

I take my hot cup of coffee-water, my newspaper, my phone and my headphones out to my chair on the deck. I brought my phone and headphones because I wanted to listen to a guided meditation on YouTube to try and calm down.

The meditation started. I heard the soft music start. The soft sound of distant wind. And then the woman’s soft voice. I followed her directions and relaxed quickly into the chair. I connected with my breath as I looked around slowly before closing my eyes. I noticed the small birds flitting around the deck from one feeder to another, to a tree branch, to a Cecil Bruener branch, to the railing, to the pergola, chasing one another, happy as can be in the cool and fresh morning air. Then I noticed the green of the plants and the bright colorful flowers. I saw the sun, directly in front of me rising in the East; shining brightly from behind the redwoods, oaks, and furs. The perfect amount of warm light filtering through to where I sat.

I closed my eyes about halfway. The sunlight, the trees, the birds, and the flowers blurred to look like a beautifully perfect watercolor painting. The soft music and the soft voice continued in my ears. The sound of my breath indistinguishable from the sound of the winds playing on my headphones.

Suddenly, that was it. It came to me. An idea bubbling in my mind like water boiling in a pot on the stove. I couldn’t sit there any longer. I had to get up, go to my desk in my room, and write. I had to let the idea bubble out onto paper before it cooled down and left me. So I walked to my room with music and voice still pouring slowly into my ears like rich maple syrup straight from a majestic maple tree. I took my journal from its shelf, sat down at my desk, and sharpened my pencil. I wrote it down:

“I am the eye.”

It had occurred to me, while sitting in that state of bliss in my chair on the deck, chaos continuing around me, that I had become the eye of the storm. I pictured the scene from Twister, one of my all-time favorite movies, when they are in the eye of the tornado. Houses, semi-trucks, and cows being flung through the air by the storm around them, but for them, in that moment, it is calm.

That’s where I want to live my life. That’s HOW I want to live my life. As if I am always in the eye of the storm. As if I AM THE EYE of the storm. No matter what’s going on around me, I can choose to be the eye of that storm.

I don’t need to make the storm go away. The storm is life. The storm was created by God. By the universe. Extinguishing and calming the rage around me is not within my power. I can’t control the world around me. I can’t control the universe. But I can control me, And I can BE THE EYE!

I can separate myself from the chaos whirling and swirling around me and simply observe it as what it is. I don’t need to judge it. I don’t need to solve it. And I most definitely don’t need to jump into it or let it overwhelm me. It’s up to me to keep myself here in the eye. Especially when the storm is at its strongest, most dangerous, and most destructive.