Category Archives: goals

One Elementary Truth

Begin it now quote

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

― William H. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

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What You Really Want

discover-what-you-really-want

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Is it possible to be spiritual & successful?

spiritual and successful

So many of us find ourselves in limbo when it comes to being present and content in the moment, feeling that who we are and what we have is enough — yet, at the same time — still striving to be and do more, and fit into a society that idolizes material success and recognition.

I recently stumbled across a video (quite lengthy) of Byron Katie answering questions from various people on Skype. (I absolutely adore Byron Katie, and I am always happy to share her work. I feel that she is the North American equivalent to the great spiritual masters of Asia, which were prevalent decades ago, but now extremely rare.) Someone asked her a question similar to the opening statement I made above. When I heard the conversation between the Questioner and Byron Katie, I knew I wanted to transcribe it and share it on Sunday Is For Lovers. I feel like it is a question that many people struggle with. Especially since people’s consciousness has been expanding & evolving rapidly, and more people seem to be aware that money can’t buy happiness. They can watch the news or take look around (or inside), and see that ruthless ambition, which includes the compulsive & obsessive need to be/have/do more, in hopes of being happy, is rapidly destroying our health and the planet.

I transcribed the Skype conversation that I saw and heard, and posted it below for you.

Questioner:
Is it possible to be happy with what is now, and still strive to be more, do more and achieve more?

Byron Katie:
It definitely is.

Questioner:
Good!
[Questioner looks relieved, and smiles broadly]

Byron Katie:
It’s like… what is there to stop you, other than what you are thinking and believing? What is there to stop you from creating the maximum? If you didn’t fear, what would stop you? Just because we get a little self realization doesn’t mean we become stupid. It’s the extreme opposite, wisdom is… [Katie pauses and stops herself for a moment] When you are tapped into that, not only are you free, but you have direction. And you don’t have to wonder about it or second guess it, it’s just so clear. And there’s nothing beyond you, because the directions give you what you can do from right here, right now. It’s powerful, whether it’s pick up a phone, or what’s going through the computer, or doing the dishes. And they are all equally as valuable when it’s fearless. And there’s an order to things. So, with nothing to stop you, why wouldn’t you be able to create at maximum? And you are living your maximum right now, when you consider what you are thinking and believing — you are living your maximum, we all are. So we are only held back by fear, and fear is what I invite you to question. To identify the thoughts… and question them. Freedom’s your birthright. And also, if you were really really truly happy… [Katie pauses] Let’s say you had nothing, that’s a very broad statement, but let’s say… [Katie pauses] OK, let’s just take you right here, right now. With everything you have and don’t have, if you were happy… [Katie pauses] If you were happy — isn’t that what you want?

Questioner:
[Questioner is no longer smiling and looks confused]
Am I happy right now?

Byron Katie:
No, if you were happy, in your life, right now — isn’t that maximum?

Questioner:
[Questioner pauses and thinks]
Ya. Actually, ya.

Byron Katie:
Ya, so it’s not about what we have or do. It’s about happiness. And [self] inquiry brings you happiness, because it brings you back to yourself, and there are no requirements in it. So with that kind of freedom, you have nothing to lose, because you always have that. And that’s a fearless state of mind. And entirely creative.

Questioner:
Ya, that’s really comforting.

Byron Katie:
You know.. I’m glad you asked the question, and I hope that I’ve answered it well. You seemed to have caught something… but if… if… not just… [Katie pauses] It’s like, of all the things I would want for you, and I could only choose one — it’s happiness. And then everything else becomes unnecessary, because that is the ultimate. And it’s not a silly happiness or a superficial happiness. It’s the authentic real deal. So it doesn’t matter, truly, if we are rich or poor, or we are sick or well, or we are tall or short, or old or young. Happiness. That’s it.
And just to say a little more… it’s… if you… [Katie stops, sighs, then pauses in stillness] I guess not to say a little more. [Katie smiles, then releases the smile — is completely still, looking directly in the questioner’s eyes, in complete presence]

Questioner:
[is silent]

Byron Katie:
So that’s what I love about The Work, it gives us the maximum. So if you had everything, everything ambitiously in the material world… and position, and power, and all of that… Would it bring you happiness?

Questioner:
[pauses, thinks]
Uhm, I didn’t really understand that last part of what you said… the connection is kind of…
[Questioner’s hand signal is suggesting that the Skype internet connection is so-so]

Byron Katie:
OK, so… if you had everything in life you ambitiously wanted — would that make you happy?

Questioner:
[Questioner nods her head yes]
Ideally… sounds like it would.

Byron Katie:
Well, I invite you to… the next time… [Katie stops herself] No, we can do it from here. Go back to a time when you got something you wanted. Something you really wanted. Do you see that moment?

Questioner:
[Questioner thinks, nods her head yes]
Ya.

Byron Katie:
You were really happy?

Questioner:
[Questioner nods and makes an ’emm-hmm’ sound to say yes]

Byron Katie:
How long did it last?

Questioner:
[Questioner smiles broadly, looks a bit embarrassed]
Ya, I see what you are saying. It was just a little while.
[Questioner pauses, questions her reply, and answers the question again]
An instant.

Byron Katie:
So you got what you wanted, and it lasted an instant. …And I definitely want more for you.

Questioner:
[Questioner nods yes, and makes an ’emm-hmm’ sound]

Byron Katie:
And I want more for you, because I know you want more for you.

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Every Path Leads to Nowhere

All paths lead to nowhere (now-here). So you might as well skip the plan and just get present.

I was looking at a diagram with a friend this morning. It’s one of those charts that show you different paths, depending on what choice you make. As he examined it he said, “This is pointless! Every path you take leads to a dead end! What’s the use!” When I heard that, something clicked. I laughed inside. I heard the truth and the wisdom. It made me smile to hear how every path that we think will lead us somewhere — brings us right back to ourselves.

I need peace,
I need children,
I need money,
I need property,
I need space,
I need accomplishment,
I need success,
I need creativity,
I need sex,
I need love,
I need freedom,
I need education,
I need friendship,
I need career,
I need protection,
I need expression,
I need rights,
I need balance,
I need security,
I need religion,
I need opportunity,
I need equality,
I need partnership,
I need family,
I need health,
I need answers,
I need individuality,
I need truth,
I need unity,
I need simplicity,
I need comfort,
I need luxury,
I need silence,
I need understanding,
I need help,
I need companionship,
I need solitude,
I need forgiveness,
I need romance,
I need independence,
I need support,
I need acceptance,
I need travel,
I need work,
I need solutions,
I need nature,
I need attention,
I need beauty,
I need respect,
I need allies,
I need nothing.

Pick any one of those that rings true for you, and ask yourself what you think it will ultimately give you. In what way will it be the answer? How will it complete you? Will it end the search? The constant need to want, like, or need something — will it finally be over?

And really be clear. Do you think fighting against something will give you what you want? Do you think you will be happy? What about striving for something? Or working for something? Will that do it? Will you be complete then? How about creating something? Will it end there? What about not wanting anything? Will that finally finish the job? What will it take for you to feel like you are whole & complete & content — like there is no path to take that would be better than the present moment?

Where are you in all of this? And why is it that you need so much to feel like everything is OK? What is it about you that isn’t working for you? Why are you never enough? Maybe the problem is you?

For me, when I get stuck on the “you” problem (a.k.a. the “me” problem). I can usually trace it to three things (actually, just one, one will do the trick). All three things lead to suffering. And all three things are just confusion in my opinion. Confused thinking.

1. FEARFUL
Bring any problem you have to mind. Trace it down to its roots. Go really really deep. Don’t cut yourself short. Dig down deep. What’s down there? Really look at it. Expose it. Give it a good face-to-face look. Is it fear? You betcha. So the problem you think you have — that you needed something to solve — really isn’t the problem, is it?

2. LOST
I can pretty much take any problem, any source of suffering, and catch myself dwelling on the past, or in the future. If I take myself out of those places (that don’t exist!), and I get fully present to what is happening ONLY in the present moment — if I can do that, then I am fine. And I don’t mean the current moment somewhere else. I mean right now, right here — with the one that was lost in past/future based thinking. If I just get still. If I stop and just feel what it feels like to be in the present moment fully — I will see that the suffering is unjustified.

The next time you are frustrated, or angry, or jealous, or stressed, or lonely, or discontent — the next time you are suffering in any way — ask yourself where you are. Where are you mentally? I bet you aren’t present to the gift that is now. This moment, in all it has to offer.

3. SEPARATE
Ahhh… back to the “me” & “you” problem. :) Don’t cha just love it! It’s everywhere. Look over your day. Look throughout your life. Look all over the world! Don’t you see it? It’s like a disease that everyone is suffering from. There is a Zen quote that I really love, it’s “No Self, No Problem.” That quote is one of the most profound quotes I know. (And if you have ever seen my Facebook or Twitter pages, you know I am a quote magnet. So if I say this one is tops, I mean it!) Everything is integral in my opinion. Just like it is becoming more obvious that we are all part of one world (no country is separate), because the planet earth is showing us that (e.g., destroy the rainforests, and everyone everywhere feels the impact). When you believe that every person, every living being, isn’t moving as one, from a common source, totally and infinitely connected — you will feel it. And it isn’t a good feeling. It’s called suffering.

All three of these things, these roots of suffering, or feelings of incompleteness, all of them can instantly disappear.

On Thursday evening I was bent out of shape, not in a good head space. That night I couldn’t sleep. I felt terrible. The next morning I received an email from someone. They reassured me that there isn’t a problem. Everything will be taken care of. All is well. After that, I was light as a cloud and had the most amazing day! How is this possible? I asked myself, “Aimee, what happened between last night & this morning? How can you go from distraught to bliss? Nothing happened, but a few brief words from another person! Nothing physically changed — just a few words were read!” I thought about it and I realized that I could trace the distraught feeling to all the roots of suffering I mentioned above. And the person that reassured me in their email, addressed each one of the three roots: There is nothing to fear; This won’t happen in the future; We share the same goal. –And whalla! I was back to bliss! But what I should have realized is, that I don’t need that to come from outside of me. Not from any person or circumstance. It was there all along.

Try it for yourself. Just notice. Hold up your wants. See if they can solve your problems once and for all, or make you feel totally complete & whole. Then, hold up your problems. See if you can trace them back to a feeling of fear; past or future based thinking; or an idea that you are a separate individual. Have fun with it. Have fun digging and checking out the roots. Dig deep. Get your hands dirty. Everyone is in the mud. But everyone doesn’t have to be stuck.

Take a good look at what paths you want to take to get you somewhere, that isn’t already here. Check to see if it leads you to a dead end (right back to you). Or just give up the search, and find what you have always been looking for — right here, right now — in this moment — just as it is. See that it is already perfect, already complete. Stop and settle into it, fully feel & embrace it. Feel how it feels to love fearlessly.

[Today’s blog post was written and posted back in September 2012.]

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Have You Been Sold a Dream? Are You Still Buying It?

A few weeks back I was at an appointment waiting to be called next. I looked to my left and saw a newspaper – the Wall Street Journal. As I flipped through it something caught my eye. It was an image of a man and a woman totally enthralled with one another in a blissful state. The man was reclining on a cloud made of stuff; tennis rackets, wine glasses, classical instruments, elegant accessories, overnight case, golf clubs, champagne flutes, skis, etc. The advertisement had two tag-lines: Element of Well-being / For a Better You.

My immediate reaction was a long sigh. Was the viewer supposed to think that this cloud of materialistic stuff and a vacation stay in a hotel would bring them bliss? I feel so tired of the marketing that is pushed down people’s throats. All day every day everywhere we look, we are being marketed to. The idea of “this thing” or “this look” or “this place” is what you need to feel great, to feel happy, to feel whole. Most of us know that none of those things bring lasting happiness, yet we are sold that idea over & over again – and we buy it!

Everyone talks about a vacation or a lifestyle that they desire. Most of us hate some part of the way we look as well, comparing ourselves to others and feeling like some aspect of ourselves is inadequate. Or it can be the other way around, we think that the way someone else looks or lives isn’t good enough for us. Who taught us that? Where did we get our standards from? What did we pattern ourselves and our lives after? Why is it that our life is the way it is? Did we freely & fully create it? Or did we allow society to greatly influence our decisions and our views?

If you lived alone on an island, would you be worrying about the same things you desire or stress about today? Would you want the same job you currently have? Take a close look at your life & ask yourself, “If I lived alone and I never or rarely saw people, what would I be passionate about, what would matter most to me? What would my life be about and look like?”

Would you need a vacation? Would you be working as hard as you do? What would matter most to you? More stuff? Faster car? Bigger income? Smoother skin? Second home? An academic degree? …Or something freely available and priceless, like love? I think we could say that love would be the most important thing. Yet we don’t see that, choose that, or act like that in our day-to-day lives. We don’t seem to make that our dream, our goal, or our number one priority on a daily basis.  And trust me, every money-driven corporation and business wants to keep it that way.

[Today’s blog post was written and posted back in August 2011.]

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