Only Go With What’s Natural

Or another way to say it is do not go with things that are unnatural.  Here is my interpretation at the present moment of what Taoism is about in one aspect.

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Have you ever found yourself in a real psychological difficulty?  I’m talking about depression, anger, obsession, all the bad things.    It is not natural to be psychologically disturbed.  My theory states that if you are obviously having a non-natural difficulty it is because the upsetting situation you got into came about not-naturally.  Therefore, only do what is natural.

If you’ve forced a situation to occur generally the results are not positive.  They are hard to deal with and that is not natural.  This happens because you forced the situation rather than letting a different situation naturally occur.   If you find yourself having to deal with some really tough thoughts or patterns of thought then maybe try saying to yourself that this is not natural.  You are having a not natural reaction to a situation that did not occur naturally.  Both the situation and your reaction were not natural.  Therefore, you have to let it go.  It was not real.  It was forced or contrived and simply not rooted in the only thing that has any power – nature or naturally occurring things.

Nothing in nature is trying to be something it isn’t.  That is why nature works so well and is so astounding.  Go with your own nature.  Don’t try to be something you aren’t, don’t try to have something that doesn’t come on it’s own, don’t force anything.

I hope this sheds some light onto the formerly confusing (for me) phrase “go with the flow” or “go with your own nature.”  In the future to avoid unnatural reactions (which are miserable and hard to break) you should only do what is natural.  You have no power to create things that are not natural.

Acknowledge Upset, Stop Drama

What is drama?  Perhaps it is just a big distraction from your ability to move on from an upsetting event.  Here’s my best take on how to acknowledge upset, avoid drama, and continue living your life.

Masks with the theatre concept

That is drama.  Any extreme of emotion and/or the rapid change between them is drama.  Why do we need to create drama?  I don’t know.  But perhaps here’s how.  An upsetting event happens such as a big fight, emotional blow out, huge let down, betrayal, etc.  The upset sucks and is real.  With upset you can and should look deeper into it so that you may learn from it.  That being said you can’t learn everything from an upset because it probably involves another person and or just life itself which can behave as another person too.  You must look deeper at yourself and how you contributed to the upset.  Particularly useful is how you will prevent future situations earlier on to avoid repeated similar upsets.  I think the key here is to prevent situations earlier on.  Generally an upset is confusing because you feel powerless and bewildered.  This probably happens because the seed for the upset had been planted long ago and your inner voice was aware of the mistake but you choose to avoid and ignore it for a while.  Then the upset explodes and you are blindsighted and confused.  So the tip is to stop momentum earlier on when you see it heading for a mistake or a repeated mistake.

Now, after you’ve reflected and grown and changed yourself to the best of your ability (or at least set the intention to change yourself) then you should move on.  Surely, the amount of time and energy you spent dealing with the upset has taken your attention away from other matters and life simply requires more upkeep than to go a few days, weeks or even months without attention.  Enter the drama.  The drama is what keeps you focusing on the upset.  The drama is just a big distraction from the other parts of your life that need your attention.  The upset happened and it sucked.  But you learned all you could and will take preventative measures in the future.  Now, let the drama subside.  Don’t wear either of those drama masks.

Here are some tips to stop the drama because inevitably you’ll be sucked into your own creating of drama.

  • Group therapy is more effective than one-on-one
  • Physical exercise, a heavy session
  • looking at the other areas of your life that need attention

Other than that I really don’t know because I struggle with letting the past go.  When I figure out how to really be mature and not become entangled in drama after an upset I’ll let you know!

How to Pick a Good Partner (part 1)

This is only part 1 as it is a continuing development throughout life.  The partners I previously chose where not great choices otherwise we may still be together!  After each break-up, if one chooses to reflect, one can learn more about how to be in a relationship, the mistakes they made, and necessary traits for future choices.  Also, one can look deeper at their intuition and learn to listen to it without distraction for example:  in any of your failed relationships did you kind of know deep down that it wouldn’t work?  Always listen to the deep down voice.  And when you haven’t and things blow up – it’s just an opportunity to double down on your efforts to honor your internal guidance.

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Nice quote there.

Here are some traits I have realized are needed in my next partner:

  1. A desire to get along, to cooperate.  This expands into a desire to trust and a desire to be solution orientated in handling conflicts.  This excludes angry people, verbally abusive people, deceivers, etc.  They need to want to get along at all times!
  2. Regular evidence of them working on their mind and beliefs.  Do they admit when they are wrong?  Do they self reflect?  This excludes people who blame or never slow down to be sincere.
  3. Evidence of inquiry into communication skills, habits and road blocks.  Communication is everything and yet nearly NO ONE is born with developed skills and it isn’t taught anywhere.  One has to actively go out and seek a better skill set.

Here are some red flags I’ve been dumb enough to fall for:

  • She had a boyfriend and was cheating with me
  • She was about to move to a foreign country as we started
  • I didn’t like or respect her career field
  • She valued physical closeness sooner than emotional connection
  •  I couldn’t trust her
  • My intuition said “no”

Wow, writing those out really makes it clear how dumb I was to choose some of the partners of my past.  As I stated before, just further evidence that your intuition, your gut, has to be trusted.  It never works out to go against your gut and the longer you try to ignore it the harder the fall back to reality will be.  You cannot ignore your gut.

Here are some strategies for meeting someone new because although I fell for some awful choices in the past it was my own fault for associating with them, attracting them to me, and agreeing to have a bad relationship with them.  Yikes!

Be more honest with yourself about who you are and what you want.  Keep that stuff to the forefront of your expression.  It is a balance not to scare someone away but then again, if they aren’t real enough to handle your truths then they are probably operating at a level of self-deception that you are trying to stay away from.  Make sure you have your life in order as failed relationships offer you a great distraction from the real problems in your life.  Realize that on some level the romantic attraction to others is a big racket caused by your biology.  This is bigger than just physical desire as that physical desire will trick your mind into believing false concepts.  It is not a need.  Bunnies in the field, dogs in the park, and monkeys in the zoo:  go observe them.  When you think you need to be with someone physically you are operating at that animal level.   Please learn to recognize and make distinctions between the levels of your consciousness and do not let the lower animal levels trick your mind, heart or spirit.

If you want a healthy, supportive and comforting relationship then choose that.  If those three adjectives are not found within the first date or meeting then, please, let it go.  At the first sight of a red flag do not proceed with that person until you have expressed to them your sighting of a red flag.  No need to be overly gentle here – you need them to be honest.  No need to be avoidant.  Clearly, directly, respectfully give them an opportunity to redeem the situation.  How are your communication skills?  Here’s a nice framework

“Hey, I’m really excited about you and having a relationship with you but I can’t proceed until we’ve cleared up ______________________.”

If they want the relationship they’ll work through it, if they won’t work through it, they don’t want the relationship and you will be a fool to stay with them.  If they blow up, run away, push you away, avoid it, are silent then leave them.  They don’t have communication skills or self-reflection skills.  Yours aren’t fully developed either but two partners need to be committed to growing as human beings together.

Middle Yin and Middle Yang

“I can’t believe she did that to me!”  –  “I can believe that she did that me, it makes total sense”

“What a jerk!”  –  “I get it, I understand their behaviors”

“I need to forgive her”  –  “I’ll never forgive her”

“I hate myself”  –  “I don’t hate myself”

I don’t know.  What is bothering you?  Say it and then say the exact opposite.  Lakes and mountains.  Heaven and Earth.  Fire and Water.  Wood and Metal.  Yin and Yang.  Where are you leaning more towards one area?  As an exercise take that area and say the opposite like some of the examples above.  They are quite generic as only you can make it specific and useful.  The idea is to be middle yin or middle yang.  The more stable of the areas.  You see, in the I Ching you read hexagrams, which are 6 lines, really it’s two sets of 3 lines.  In each 3 line set you want to be the middle line.  The not exaggerated view point.  Try to see those situations that really drive you nuts from the exact opposites.   Look at this picture:

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The exaggerated highs (full yang) and lows (full yin) are to be avoided.  So if you find yourself exaggerating some of your thoughts on a particular topic, like the experience of your last relationship, then try saying the exact opposite exaggeration with the goal of bringing your perspective more towards the straight line.  Middle yin and middle yang.

If your life can be represented by a string of a finite length then the more exaggerated the highs and lows are then the less your length it will be able to cover ie; a shorter life.  So the more you can keep your life steady and stable (it will never be a straight line as that doesn’t exist in nature) then the longer your life and health will be.

Forgiveness, free writing, burning

This topic is hard but essential.  I am by no means an expert or have a heightened understanding of forgiveness but I do know the value of it.  To be honest, all we can really do in our interactions with others is forgive.  It is really more complicated than that.  Here’s my suggestions for forgiving because we probably know it is important or have those things (actions people did in the past) that we just cannot seem to let go and are tortured by.  Well here’s what I recommend.

A worthy investment is a spiral bound notebook of ruled paper and some pens.  You might spend $4 USD.  This is worth the time and money to get these materials.  Then, free write on the subject, write without re-reading or editing, write even if it means just scribbles, write knowing that after you finish writing however many pages you are going to crumple them up and burn them so that no one can ever see them.  Burning the pages is important.  It is not enough to just throw them away and definitely do not leave them in the notebook.  One of the points of this is to have a safe outlet to get whatever is in your mind out of your mind without any judgement or holding back.  You can only do that successfully if the pages are then burned.

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A WORD OF CAUTION.  If you do cathartic writing like this make no mistake, someone you do not want to find it will, and they will read it.  Even if someone says they love you, they will violate your privacy if tempted.  Unless they are a very highly developed, mature and spiritual person who is in a totally calm state they will read through you personal information.  This means, burn pages, lock your iPad, lock your iPhone and change passwords on all your devices to things not easily decipherable.  Don’t be blind sighted.  If something bad can happen it will – so take care of protecting your information.  In this technological age you have to spend time every few weeks pruning your chat history, emails, messengers, profiles, etc.  Unfortunately perception is reality and the person violating your privacy is looking for something to hold against you and they will find it regardless of the validity of their claim against you with it.

And of course after this person violates you, well, now you have a whole new opportunity to learn to forgive.  Write about what they did, free write, let it fly, anything goes – then burn it and take a nap.

A fire pit, or non-flammable bowl serves well to house the burning material.  Use caution, buy a cooking lighter (one with length), and be sure to extinguish any ashes.  You should also clean out the area and erase traces of your activities.  These exercises are for your development not for others to inquire about.

Alter Ego

You probably have an alter ego if you have ever made choices and either a few minutes, hours or weeks later really regretted them and wondered why, why did you do that?!
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Why do we have alter egos?  Well, why do we have egos?  It’s only my guess but an ego is where we take the beliefs we have learned about the world and formulate a singular point from which we can operate under those beliefs.  For example, if you think gravity is real, your ego will not try to fly.  Ok more complicated, if you think you are a bad person, your ego will work to hide or conceal that fact while simultaneously enabling you to be bad.  I really don’t understand egos but they are a formulated mask or shield that allows you to maintain a sense of self and operating system for dealing with the world.  It is a good thing to be able to disengage your ego when receiving communication from others in relationships particularly if you value the other person such as a partner or a teacher.  This can be difficult.  And, rest assured, they will mostly likely have an ego too!

So, the alter ego, this may be where you have two sets of beliefs that conflict with one another and when your primary ego can’t integrate an event that has taken place in your life, for example your girlfriend cheating on you, then you will subconsciously resort to the alter ego who can then alleviate your primary sense of self from acknowledging the facts.  To continue the example, gf cheated so alter ego comes along and says I don’t need anyone and pushes the ex away and runs away, buys a pack of cigarettes and abandons projects.

A confusing question is how many alter egos do you have?  They may not all be negative.  When I find myself saying “yea you know what just forget this, I don’t need this I’ll just do ____” that is probably my alter ego talking and no, it won’t make me happy.  You can’t follow an alter ego because eventually your primary ego will come back and look at what’s happened and say “how did I get here?”  The key, as always, is awareness and centeredness.  Keep steady, be patient, wait and relax.

You are to blame (try it)

Ask yourself – when is the last time I looked at my actions and accepted responsibility for any negative situations I’ve been blaming others for?

If we all stopped blaming others for any of our issues and owned up to our choices, beliefs, behaviors and alter-egos the world would surely improve.  Most definitely personal relationships would improve.

One great exercise:  take a situation where you felt you were wronged, where the other person totally stepped out of line and violated you, abused you, disrespected or insulted you THEN re-frame your lens so that 100% of everything that went wrong was YOUR fault.  Really dig into that until you start to believe it…spend some time on it, 10 minutes at least if not 30-1 hour or more.  Now regarding the other person, have your thoughts and feelings changed?  Do you feel more empathy?  Do you feel more responsibility, ownership or control?  Perhaps some of the negative feelings you had for that other have been removed and now other deeper feelings for them can surface.

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This exercise is very extreme and quite wild.  Very few of your friends would ever encourage you to do this.  Most likely after a negative situation with someone else you’ll go to your friends, family, etc. and tell them the story how you are feeling it and they’ll of course take your side and tell you what they think you want to hear.  This may not be a good thing.  Love those friends of yours…but are they really helping you to RESOLVE the issue in a peaceful and loving way with the other?

I don’t recommend doing this exercise to beat yourself up or to make quick decisions immediately afterward but as a learning experience it is useful.  Find people who will tell you the truth and not just what you want to hear (or what they think you want to hear).  Find people to advise you and ask them “what are some options for how I could handle this situation?”  instead of just letting them stir up your already emotional state and push you further down whatever destructive road you are on.

It is my belief that it is not the higher road to be silent, faux-peaceful.  These things are actually avoidant and do not honor or respect yourself and the other.  Deal with life.