Revive or Release? Review your most cherished core beliefs – a New Year’s Clarity Exercise

Getting clarity in 2015 despite the ego not wanting to appear to be ‘the fool’

Core-BeliefsThe mind holds beliefs and the ego/personality wants consistency and doesn’t want to appear ‘The Fool’ even to itself; therefore , a result of this can relate to how we tend to follow our own habitual ways of thinking without changing them.

We can then start appearing a bit delusional to others because the ego unchallenged and unaccustomed to letting go enough to examine a belief (stories) can be really thick.

Again, ego/personality wants consistency and status quo and prefers not to change because to change may mean we’ve been wrong which horrifies that part of us.

However, if we have the courage to question those core beliefs it can be a huge relief.

Yet, we can (at first) become shocked, angry, and unsettled especially when we realize these ideas that we’ve been anchoring into were only stories that we told our self.  Again, to let go of those stories represents inconsistency and this frightens the ego/personality part of the psyche.

What happens when we do question and release some of those beliefs that need to be discharged is that we experience a huge relief and real liberation.  It’s like when you’ve been holding something in your hand or in your arms for or a very long time and when you get to put it down—ahhh, what relief.  Right?

In doing psychic work sometimes I see folks who hold one particular belief about the spirit world that affects every aspect of what they do; but it causes confusion because that belief doesn’t square with all other experiences.  They may call me hoping I will validate a belief that they are trying to be consistent with but doesn’t resonate fully anymore.  I see how they struggle with it not wanting to change the habitual thought and  how they go back to clinging to it and then letting it go again—it takes courage to open your mind sometimes.   It can be frightening, shocking and very unsettling when one’s reality shifts suddenly.

There’s no need to berate one’s self after seeing the light–it is best to see it as a necessary part of the path and the process of growth and evolution.

Another example.  I knew a person who as an adult well into her 40’s blurted out one day that her aged mother was responsible for her lifelong and current overeating problem because her mother overfed her as a baby.  She was serious about this lifelong belief and when I did a double-take and repeated back to her what she had just said because I could hardly believe my ears she became momentarily enraged and shouted back, “Well, who else’s fault would it be?”  This is a true story and really drives home the point that I’m writing about.  This individual had, obviously, never questioned her own assumption and carried it for decades.  It could speak to an overall tendency to blame others, not take responsibility in other areas of life too.  I don’t know if she has let it go fully or if she is still holding it but hopefully you get the point I’m trying to make through this example–we hold to the strangest beliefs sometimes without realizing it.

It’s the New Year 2015 and we’re one week in now so I thought it to be a good exercise for myself to sit down and write down on a steno pad my deepest-held core beliefs and examine them.  This of course requires bare-bones honesty and deep contemplation.

I used the 12 houses of astrology to list 12 areas of life and then to examine those, asking myself if any could be erroneous or ridiculous beliefs I’m still holding or that I’ve outgrown.

Going through this exercise is radical because it really makes you come face-to-face with what ‘you’ believe and it may be an eye-opening experience helping you to see the points-of-view which you’ve held that you may not even have been aware you were holding.   Releasing those, I believe, is a way to help you on your way to enlightenment.

You may, through this exercise, see that you no longer agree with your old self and recognize inner conflicts which have been holding you back or keeping you from clarity and preventing you from being fully open to the grace of the universe.

If you wish to give this New Year’s exercise a whirl, here are 12 life categories you may like to use to stimulate your review.

My suggestion is that for each category, ask yourself what is your most cherished core belief.  These categories are based on the 12 houses of astrology.

Some of the houses hold more than one basic category or meaning.  The suggestion is to select the one category from each house that seems most significant for you. This is a good exercise to come back to, perhaps starting with one house category on one day and the next on another.  All categories or areas don’t have to be accomplished all at one sitting.

Some beliefs you may wish to keep holding which  will serve to rededicate your values; but others may need to be laughed at and sent out of your mind and heart and on their way!

The 1st houset: the self, demeanor, physical body, public image, and vitality.

The 2nd house: money earned and material goods; what is valued; issues of survival and self-reliance

The 3rd house: immediate surroundings, siblings, short trips, left brain/intellect, communication

The 4th house:  self-image, family, home, origins, heredity, and the nurturing parent

The 5th house: creativity, love matters, pleasure, leisure, children, self-expression

The 6th house: everyday life/routine, daily work (job) and colleagues, mentors, small animals/pets and health

The 7th house: relating to others, partnerships, other people

The 8th house: power/control issues, psychology, occult, passions and crises, transformations, death, financial investments, inheritance, other people’s money and sexuality

The 9th house: philosophy, long distance travels, abstract and higher concepts (right brain), religion, and foreign matters.

The 10th house:  social success, professional destiny/career, authoritative parent

The 11th house: friends, collective projects, supports and wounds

The 12th house: spirituality, what is hidden,   difficulties, solitude

If you do work with this exercise and find it helpful, I’d love to hear from you.

You can email me:  joystar777@gmail.com.

 

Angry? Fearful? Disappointed? Dont’ worry: things are not as they appear to our ego-based delusion

July 18 2014 shadow clouds in the mountains

Holy smoke!  Ego’s get rabidly angry when they hear that life is an illusion and that they are too.  My gosh, how folks fight for their ego’s identity; it never fails to amaze me.  Just try mentioning to another human that there is no self and just watch the resistance and anger that manifests.  This is the same reason people fear death.  Self-cherishing!

Okay then.  Let’s say that life is not actually a dream, and not an illusion, and not a bubble; HOWEVER, life is LIKE a dream, an illusion, a bubble.  Things are not as they appear to us in our ego-based delusion. For instance, an object like a table is just made up of protons and neutrons. A physicist would tell us that a table is basically just empty energy. But, of course, if someone threw a table at you (let’s just say), it would hurt (*mostly because we believe it would.) Ultimately it is empty, but on a relative level it appears as solid and our memories will make it feel solid. Those who can, as we have read about, walk through walls do so because they know the truth of reality. Ultimately what we see is an illusion (like the reflection of the moon in the water or a reflection in a mirror) and this illusion is presented by our various senses and the memories associated with those senses over eons of lifetimes which create the reality as we now experience it. The point is that things re not what they seem to be.  In meditation one can experience the direct realization of this truth (intellectually knowing doesn’t do it)  and this experience of direct realization in meditation  is truly trans-form-ative!

The world, including ourselves, are like a dream, a rainbow, a bubble, a flash of lightening–ungraspable and in an impermanent contestant flux.  Life may look substantially solid and (‘Lordie knows’, as the saying goes) how the gods and angels above might laugh at all the crazy tactics and dramas that we monkey’s create as we try to make ourselves righteous and indignant in our self-cherishing attempt to create a solid identity.  It’s laughable really.

Shadows.  Rainbows.  Let’s take a rainbow for an example.  It is created by conditions, by rain and Sun and by many other causes, but when we try to find it, we cannot.  Just the same way, in a dream everything seems so real but the dream doesn’t have any core reality that exists outside of our very own mind.  A bubble seems real but prick it and it is just empty air.  Life itself is this way.

“May I see all things as illusions and, without attachment, gain freedom from bondage.” — that’s the ending of the Eight Verses of Mind Training.

What kind of bondage?  Ego bondage.

Duality and Oneness are so misunderstood.  Self and other:  this duality.  And we watch how we and others create causes and conditions which create self-cherishing responses to life which create more and more separation and ego-based delusion.  People will say things like “I must protect myself from this or that”  or “I must do certain things that make me feel good”–all of which emphasizes and reinforces the sense of self, the sense of ego.

Putting self last and other’s first is a way to break the spell of ego-based delusion and best of all it increases happiness.  People are very concerned for their self when they are asleep and deluded but then this is instinctive isn’t it?  I mean this whole self-preservation instinctive behavior is what causes us great suffering if you think about it and it is the furthest point from true spirituality that there can be.

One of the antidotes to self-cherishing and ego-based delusion is to put others before the self but not, of course, in a masochistic type of way.  I’m referring to a way of balancing that all important self-clinging that gets us into trouble and causes so much suffering for self and others.  I monitor this in myself when I am awake and clear and centered and I admit that I fail at times and loose my way in my own ego-based delusion many times.  I cling to my own self importance when other humans seem obnoxious to me and I actually want to run from them, forgetting the rainbow, the bubble and the illusion of causes and conditions playing out before my eyes, ears, and all my senses.  It’s tricky; it’s a pickle; it’s often lost but then picked up again, and again–always coming back to these Eight Verses (below) as an inspiration.

I can somtraining-the-mind-imageetimes realize in the ‘heat of the moment’ so-to-speak about how silly it is to become angry at something or someone that/who doesn’t really exist in the first place, at least not in the way they appear.  Again, in all relationships to person, place or thing– “May I see all things as illusions and, without attachment, gain freedom from bondage.”  But then meanwhile, may I at least put others before myself as a way of releasing self-cherishing so that I can let go enough to wake up from the sleep of self-importance.  See what I mean?

Well, anyway… the Eight Verses in their entirety appear below and by the way, it is said that His Holiness The Dalai Lama who is called the Embodiment of Compassion repeats /recites these verses every day.   Personally, I fail miserably as I try to follow the path of someone like The Dalai Lama but I do aspire to these verses in my life view, my attitude and actions to avert ego-clinging.

Just as in meditation thoughts wander and we bring them back to center, to breath, to the focal point, this how we can bring ourselves back from ego-clinging which is what indignant righteous self-protection is all bout and what worry, fear and anger is about too.

Anyway, the inspirational antidote, the meditation and contemplation to counter-balance and hopefully release all of that anger, fear, worry and self-protection and self-cherishing  are the following versus offered here for the reader’s consideration:

With a determination to achieve the highest aim
For the benefit of all sentient beings
Which surpasses even the wish-fulfilling gem,
May I hold them dear at all times.

Whenever I interact with someone,
May I view myself as the lowest amongst all,
And, from the very depths of my heart,
Respectfully hold others as superior.

In all my deeds may I probe into my mind,
And as soon as mental and emotional afflictions arise-
As they endanger myself and others-
May I strongly confront them and avert them.

When I see beings of unpleasant character
Oppressed by strong negativity and suffering,
May I hold them dear-for they are rare to find-
As if I have discovered a jewel treasure!

When others, out of jealousy
Treat me wrongly with abuse, slander, and scorn,
May I take upon myself the defeat
And offer to others the victory.

When someone whom I have helped,
Or in whom I have placed great hopes,
Mistreats me in extremely hurtful ways,
May I regard him still as my precious teacher.

In brief, may I offer benefit and joy
To all my mothers, both directly and indirectly,
May I quietly take upon myself
All hurts and pains of my mothers.

May all this remain undefiled
By the stains of the eight mundane concerns;
And may I, recognizing all things as illusion,
Devoid of clinging, be released from bondage.

 

May all who need to find and read this post, find it and by  reading even one line here that is helpful, may they be so helped, aided and thereby served.

Impressions, Imprints, Cyber-footprints in SAMSARA

samsara2
SAMSARA and IMPERMANENCE

Impressions!  Imprints!  Cyber-footprints!

I don’t think about that often enough.  Or so I recently realized!  I tend to work through my rough days on my blog, hoping that as I do so that a reader out there somewhere may be helped through the insight that I, myself, seek.    But before going further, there must be an understanding conveyed.  One that I don’t convey as often as I should; one that should go without saying but that I forget to say–perhaps even forget to say to myself!  But look, it’s not easy to stay awake sometimes!  Life is full of … well, the most efficient way to say it is through one word SAMSARA.

Let me get an official Buddhist definition of that word [SAMSARA] and this from Wikapedia seems as good as any others from Google:  Saṃsāra (Sanskrit, Pali; also samsara) is a Buddhist term that literally means “continuous movement” and is commonly translated as “cyclic existence”, “cycle of existence”, etc. Within Buddhism, samsara is defined as the continual repetitive cycle of birth and death that arises from ordinary beings’ grasping and fixating on a self and experiences. Specifically, samsara refers to the process of cycling through one rebirth after another within the six realms of existence where each realm can be understood as either a physical realm or a psychological state characterized by a particular type of suffering. Samsara arises out of avidya (ignorance) and is characterized by dukkha (suffering, anxiety, dissatisfaction). In the Buddhist view, liberation from samsara is possible by following the Buddhist path.

I use divination to help me find peace because the process of  looking for insight puts one in the mental framework wherein one shifts or better said begins to detach from the mental affliction long enough to look for insight. [My profession involves divination after all; its a habit.  LOL.]

I’ve been conversing through private text on my Facebook account with a blog follower who summarized the last few years of my life in a few lines that made me startle a bit, thinking ‘Man o man, my life really sucks!”   But of course it doesn’t, and it is full of just as many ups, downs, attractions and aversions as anyone else’s here in Samsara!  No better or no worse, at least potentially, as anyone else’s life who is aware of their mind where it is all located anyway!

Here’s the last bit I wrote this morning, sharing a paragraph from the communication that I’ve been having with a reader:

I think one comfort is that we are never alone in what we experience since the human condition seems very universal… in that no matter what kind of dilemma one is in, one can always find so many others going through the same illusion or experiencing the same dream (or nightmare); so that on some level there is comfort when we can do as the Buddhists do which is Tonglen … basically to say, ” May all of us, may we join together , all of us, and may I be the one to gather it all up here, now;  and then may we all be free of our delusion and wake from the dream and be liberated! And how does the liberation happen”?

What kind of  liberation? Mental–for that is how it all occurs anyway, in the mind.  So, to look at life and hear, see, experience it without aversion or attachment, either one… to just say “Oh, now it is this and now it is that or now it is ‘not’  this and now it is ‘not’  that… hmmmm… okay… and that’s how it is or isn’t…. and now I notice that there is a regret thought, or a memory thought, or a judgment thought, or a happy thought, or a silly thought, or a sad thought, or whatever it is.”   Just looking at the mind.  Well, that’s pretty simplistic  sounding, but most Buddhist teachings are and that’s why I, for one,  like them. LOL I may blog this. Don’t be surprised if you see this text again!

Some  last thoughts:  IMPERMANENCE!  This is a good one to reflect upon too.  That helps put it all in perspective as well… the Buddhist perspective of the “precious human life.”   I have to often remind myself not to become caught up in self-cherishing; this, too, being the source of difficulty and suffering.  And then if all else fails, I hit the pool and go swimming to focus on my kick, stroke and lap times while everything else falls away!