Category Archives: AWARENESS
Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post titled On Your Best Day. As I was pondering and researching the idea of changing my daily routine, I came across something that seems to follow me. It’s basically a mix of quotes that have been sprinkled under my nose over the last decade. The general idea of the quotes are; that your life is based on the question you are currently asking. I’ve heard it said in many ways, and not all of the ways are related to each other, but in my mind it has coalesced into a uniform idea. I’ll take two authors and quote them, just to give you an example. Then I’ll make my summation of how it fits into my head and thinking.
“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” – Thomas Pynchon
“If you want a better quality of life, ask a better question.” – Tony Robbins
I prefer Robbins’ quote over Pynchon’s, simply because it points inward instead of outward. Both authors suggest that your reality and life is shaped by the questions you are asking.
This is an example, it’s a drastic one, but an example. There was a man in a Nazi concentration camp. He watched his family being murdered, most of them gassed, one of them shot. Being the only one from his family left, he was certain that if he stayed in the camp, he would follow suit and die. But unlike most of the people around him, he asked a different question. The question he asked was, “How do I get out of here today?” He continued to ask the question in his mind until the right answer was presented to him. All day he entertained the question, phrasing it in various ways. Half a day passed until he finally got the answer he was looking for. He looked up and saw a huge pile of naked corpses. They were all thrown on the back of a truck inside of the compound. Instead of asking the question “How could Nazis be so heartless?” or “How could God create such evil?”, he asked a different question. He asked, “How could I use this?” “How could I use this to escape?” He immediately got the answer. Without hesitation he ripped off his clothes, dove into the pile of corpses, and pretended that he was dead. He stayed absolutely still for hours as more bodies were being tossed onto the truck. Eventually the truck departed the camp, it was making its way to an open grave site. After the truck dumped the bodies, he remained in the pile until the night became completely dark. When he was certain that no one would see him escape, he ran naked to freedom.
On that day, the only difference between him and other people in his same situation was that he asked a more empowering question. His question presented opportunities and changed the course of his life. The questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis do the same for us.
In a nutshell; if you want to change your reality, change your focus. If you want to change your focus, change the question you are asking.
So what kind of questions should we be asking? According to Tony Robbins, he believes we should consider the following; Does our question create new possibilities? Does our question empower or disempower us? Is our question focusing on the solution instead of the problem? Does the question inspire us and move us to action? Does our question make us responsible and give us the power to make a change? Does the question teach us anything useful? Does our question empower those around us?
As I say in most of my blog posts, awareness is always the first step in transformation and lasting change. Starting today, just notice yourself. Notice what questions pop into your mind. Catch yourself asking “why me” questions (which are the most disempowering and worst type of questions one can ask). Catch questions based on Pynchon’s quote, where the media & government have cow herded you into asking useless questions. Notice if your questions are based on scarcity thinking or obsessing over money. Notice if your questions are body fixated, or preoccupied with the ideal home or car. Notice if your questions place a lot of blame, or are centered around what other people should or shouldn’t do. Don’t immediately change any of this, just notice it. Then slowly begin to shift these questions back to yourself, asking yourself to be empowered and to take responsibility. It’s a matter of noticing what you are focusing on and changing your focus.
Life is always a process, whether it’s redesigning your day or asking better questions. It’s all the same. It’s learning as you go along and making necessary changes as you get in touch with your personal power. This power is your intuitive self. The self that is unchanging and connected to the source that is Life itself. When people have ah-ha moments, or they do something unimaginable, or they witness something that leaves them in awe, or when super-strength seems to come from nowhere — they have tapped into something that is always there. It’s just a matter of awareness. In moments when there is a timeless stillness within us, something magical happens. We experience the phenomenon that is life. We are that phenomenon. But sometimes we forget. And it’s OK to be reminded. That’s why life is an ever-unfolding ever-expanding process. How powerful and amazing is that?! I’ll leave you with that question.
There are two approaches, or two views, you can even say two books, that sum up what I innately know; Tao Te Ching and I Am That, or you can say the views of Lao Tzu and Nisargadatta Maharaj. When I teach mediation, I reference them, or when I want to be reminded of what I know to be true, they both bring me to clarity and balance. They instantly answer any problem, any confusion, and any disharmony I could ever have. Even though one is from the 6th century BC, written by a sage — and the other is from the 1970s, written by a beedis (leaf-rolled cigarettes) shop keeper — they both speak similarly to the same unspeakable truth. They both communicated something beyond words in a way that is supreme.
Below I will list quotes by both Nisargadatta and Lao Tzu (also spelled Laozi and LaoTze). As you read the quotes, feel the finely balanced infinitesimal thread they dance upon. It’s the thread of complete surrender and unconditional love. To most of us, it’s the invisible thread that is rarely seen. The one we seem to trip over, in a clumsy manor on our worst days. Usually suffering, pain and death bring us the eyes to see what is always there. But anguish is not needed to be reminded of true wisdom. One only needs to see, and be reminded of what they already know, but have forgotten.
“To understand the limitation of things, desire them.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked. If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. If you want to be reborn, let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“When there is no desire, all things are at peace.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“The Tao is called the Great Mother: empty yet inexhaustible, it gives birth to infinite worlds. It is always present within you. You can use it any way you want.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“In order to let go of something, you must first know what it is.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj
“All you want is to be happy. All your desires, whatever they may be, are longing for happiness. Basically, you wish yourself well …desire by itself is not wrong. It is life itself, the urge to grow in knowledge and experience. It is choices you make that are wrong. To imagine that some little thing; food, sex, power, fame — will make you happy is to deceive oneself. Only something as vast and deep as your real Self can make you truly and lastingly happy.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj
“The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj
“It has nothing to do with effort. Just turn away, look between the thoughts, rather than at the thoughts. When you happen to walk in a crowd, you do not fight every man you meet, you just find your way between. When you fight, you invite a fight. But when you do not resist, you meet no resistance. When you refuse to play the game, you are out of it.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj
“You will receive everything you need when you stop asking for what you do not need.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj
“You have put so much energy into building a prison for yourself. Now spend as much on demolishing it. In fact, demolition is easy, for the false dissolves when it is discovered.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Love says ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says ‘I am nothing.’ Between the two, my life flows.” ― Nisargadatta Maharaj
I stopped watching the news years ago. I began avoiding it in the late 90s, and then more stringently (including magazines, newspapers, etc.) when I started to live a more bubble-like existence starting in 2002. So at this point, it’s probably been almost 25 years since I’ve followed the news. But recently, that has changed. About 5 months ago I stumbled across Russell Brand‘s, The Trews. It’s his take on the current news. After all these years, I finally found a news outlet that resonates with me. An outlet that isn’t puppet-like, manipulative, fear mongering or ruthlessly depressing. But one with a blunt sense of humor, that takes a closer look at what is happening in the world. I’ve been a subscriber to Russell Brand’s Youtube channel, and have enjoyed many of the episodes of The Trews.
The Trews Introduction:
End The Monarchy:
Naked Celebrity Photo Leak:
The Apple Watch:
Robin Williams Suicide:
David Cameron & ISIS:
Link to subscribe to Russell Brand’s The Trews: http://tinyurl.com/opragcg
It’s a good question: “Would you date yourself?” Last week I stumbled across a video (by Matthew Hussey) with that title. I was so intrigued, I decided to watch it. I thought the video was good and its content insightful. But I also think that we can broaden the question to encompass more, and raise our overall level of awareness. Below is a list of questions we can try on for size. Ask yourself each one of them. Listen to your answers and your overall feelings. See if a greater awareness is needed in any area of your life. If so, bring your full attention to it (or them, if several). I would imagine that your life would be so much fuller & richer, much more at ease, if you brought your awareness, compassion & attention to every aspect of your life possible. Just the thought of it is inspiring to me. Practice makes perfect! :) Or at least, makes for an interesting, exciting and very insightful life.
Would you follow yourself?
Would you consider yourself thoughtful?
Would you marry, and be happily married, to yourself?
Would you look to yourself as an example of courage?
Would you want yourself as a neighbor?
Would you work for yourself?
Would you look to yourself for peace & ease?
Would you look to yourself for answers?
Would you believe in yourself?
Would you choose yourself to be your guardian or parent?
Would you enjoy your company?
Would you look to yourself as an example of compassion?
Would you choose yourself as your sibling?
Would you want to put yourself in charge of important matters?
Would you consider yourself as kind?
Would you choose yourself as your best friend?
Would you trust yourself?
Would you want yourself as your creator?
Would you be inspired by yourself?
Would you consider yourself a leader?
Would you call yourself to chat about your day?
Would you want to argue with yourself?
Would you love yourself and express it to yourself?
Would you think you were making a difference in the world?
Would you look to yourself for clarity?
Would you say that you were loving and self-expressed?
Would you hire yourself?
Would you consider yourself helpful?
Would you say that you were generous?
Would you think you were living a creative life?
Would you be proud of yourself?
Would you want to make love to yourself?
Would you think you were using your talents wisely?
Would you forgive yourself?
Would you want to put yourself in charge of global issues?
Would you say that you were inspiring?
Would you write letters or emails to yourself?
Would you entrust yourself with your life’s destiny?
Add any questions you come up with to this list. You can do it simply in your mind, or you can share them in the comment section below. If you share them in the comment section, it would be helpful to others. Thank you!
And please know, all of these questions are not there to make anyone feel bad or boastful. They are there to raise awareness and inspire action. To bring more courage, love and healing to our lives. The only way to do this, is to take personal responsibility for what we see in our world. That includes the outside world, but it also includes in the inside world. The private world in each one of us; the one we think we keep all to ourselves, but forget that it’s reflected wherever we go.
An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree, and told the kids that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run. They all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that, as one could have had all the fruits for himself, they said, “UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”
UBUNTU in the Xhosa culture means: I am because we are.