Stay On the Beat but Don’t Rush

I was fortunate enough to have a handful of lessons and days spent with, in my opinion, the greatest trumpet player in the world;  Carl Saunders.  Not only is he an amazing technical bebop player but his tone is bluesy and personal, his range has no limits high or low, and his lines flow endlessly from tasty lick to tasty lick across the complete range of the horn in a one breath phrase longer than expected.  In short, he’s jaw dropping.  See for yourself:

Of course, he could also scat, sing, compose hundreds of tunes, play drums, bass and piano extremely well.  He is truly an extremely talented person.  In my time with him he gave me lots of honest feedback and very wise tips.  I’ve always thought that 70 year olds have the best advice.  They’ve really lived, accomplished much, proven their hold here, and are carefree enough to pass on their honest stories and lessons.

One of my favorite quotes of his was “stay on the beat but don’t rush.”  He was speaking musically but I interpreted this also metaphorically.  It’s about life.  Pay attention to where you are, consciously be aware and stay on the beat – in the moment – but don’t rush.  Don’t get ahead of yourself, don’t overthink or over do anything, just be where you are.

Musical time is also one of those things that gets better with age because it has to do with time itself!  Someone older who has been through many lessons and learned about what stays the same through the changes and the years will have better musical time than a beginning piano student.  Sure, this is because of their difference in experience, training and development but also their experience and understanding of time.  Or the fact that those 3 things take place over time.  So time improves as one gains more experience with time or simply has lived more life.

As CS used to end phone conversations, “stay on the beat, but don’t rush.” 🙂

Are You Going to Make the Change?

Why do you need to stay with something?  Is your dedication appropriate?  Why are you holding on to things that hurt or haven’t been panning out or haven’t been manifesting in the way you expect?  Here’s the thing; it may not be enough to just “let it go.”  You will actually need to change.  Look: life moves forward.  If you need proof just look at how yourself and others bodies are advancing in age and thus changing how they look.  Life is ALL about change.  In fact, that is what the Tai Chi symbol represents at the top of this blog.  The question is:  When you are hitting your head against something will you have the courage the CHANGE?

change

Let’s look at what change really means.  For starters, it does not mean taking a thought and saying, “OK, I won’t think that anymore,” or “I’ll adjust that thought or avoid that one or,” etc.  Change requires action to be real.  In fact, everything requires action to be real.  Intention is where you set your course of action but the actual result is where life happens.  Make the change.  That thing you are holding on to…a career, a relationship, a mentor, a belief, a job, a car, etc… it is actually holding you back.  You have to make a change.  Don’t be afraid.  In the making the change you are allowing for something much better to enter into your life.

Change is hard and scary at first but totally worth it in the end.  And when you’ve made a change and progress down that path for a while, great! but it will probably eventually be time for another change.  You will always be changing or rather, you should always need to be changing.  Don’t get stuck.  Change!!  You will still be there.  As you change you get a chance to drop some of your negative or non-helpful beliefs and add or emphasize more positive beliefs.  Optimism is really the ultimate goal for state of mind.  No matter how glorious something seems if it is making you feel something other than positive you must change, not just think, “ok I’ll let it go”…but change!  Now we are back to intention.  Keep your intention to feel optimistic and good, keep that above all other attachments, and you will keep changing for the better.

Intention leads the energy leads the action.  So your action is what needs to manifest.  You may be scared, you may think you are missing something but let’s be honest:  that thing you are holding onto is not working out!  That’s all you need to know. You should only be pursuing what is working out for you.  Always move on, keep moving on.  When you find the “right fits” they will be moving on with you and together you can progress towards better and better feelings.

You can’t change anyone.  You can influence people to an extent. You can’t alter the past.  When your dedication to something is not working out…job, person, relationship, dream, career, ideals, goals…then change them.  It was never your dream to have a dream that isn’t coming true was it?  So change the dream.  It was never your goal to have a goal that just isn’t happening.  The relationship you want is not one that you need to keep chasing around.  Let them go by changing.  Don’t be afraid, it’s natural, but better is beyond this!

It’s Not So Bad to Be Cheated

This topic sucks and may strike a nerve.  It was a huge push button topic for me for a long time.  However, the only real way to deal with the uncomfortable subject of being cheated on is to accept that it happened and it’s not really such a big deal.  Seems crazy right?  The fact is, it happens all the time.  People of a certain level will always be plotting to leave you and move on to the more convenient or exciting thing.  The way to circumvent this is to not attract people on that level or below.  Unfortunately, that can be hard to do as most humans don’t try to evolve or stay evolved and biology is a tricky persuasive racket.  It is not about being judgmental.  It is about being someone, yourself, who is trustworthy.

trustworthy

People can operate at a level of only violence and sex – many people actually do go here for their intimate relationships.  That’s called an animal level or biological level.  Above that people can operate on a social level – they’ll care about their reputation, appearances, what their peers think.  Both of those levels are not trustworthy.  They lack benevolent intention and integrity.

Integrity means your actions and words are integrated into one direction.  Always trust someones actions and do not trust their words.  You cannot trust words.  Trust actions.  Someone who says they’ll do things but doesn’t do them does not have integrity and cannot be trusted.  Don’t be a fool and trust something that isn’t trustworthy.  That is asking for trouble.

If a person can get beyond social mind they will have still far to go and a difficult journey through the harsh realities and triviality of life and growth before they can operate from a level of spirit or world wide love.  This is where you’ll find benevolent and trustworthy people.

So, think of all the people you know, how many have risen above animal and social levels?  How many have done the work along the journey of maturity, growth and spirituality?  Probably very few let’s be honest.  So that is how many people are trustworthy – very few.  Growth is not an easy journey, in fact it is excruciating at times.  Unless someone REALLY wants to evolve and grow they will not do it because it just takes too much work!

Therefore, if you get cheated, it is not such a bad thing.  The cheater simply doesn’t know better.  They can’t act better.  She only knows how to cheat on all her boyfriends and you were no exception.  If you could look back perhaps you saw it coming.  You after all are the one who chose her.  So, learn a lesson – that’s not a bad thing, it’s a great thing!!  Most people will cheat and if you aren’t deliberately choosing based on honest criteria you’ll get cheated on.  But again, the only way to really rise above it is to, yourself, change.  You have to be a trustworthy person, you have to have integrity and benevolence from the get go.  If you can become this and stay this then you will simply not attract those operating at less trustworthy levels.  Why would a trustworthy woman choose to be with a not trustworthy man?  So you see, you’ll only find a trustworthy mate by being one yourself.  If you work on achieving this, you’ve done more than most, though you still need to be discerning about who you choose to trust.  Be careful, look where you are stepping.

The River

Look at a river.  Be amazed.  What is so fantastic about the river is how the water continually moves with great, constant and steady force in places and in other places the water is calm and still or even circulating back.  Even within a few yards or feet of one another these two velocities of the same body of water can be found.  It speaks to the power of water, the never ending effort of the water to move and flow towards it goal, across any object, despite any setback the water flows.  It will flow every second, even after you leave the river and stop observing, the river flows continually.

American-River-Threat

There are many metaphors in the behavior of a river yet they can all be likened to energy.  I like to observe a river and see these reflections.  First, I think about my thoughts and how they, for better or worse, are a constant stream that never tire like the river.  No point in trying to stop them or resist them or even engage them – they will do as the water and continually flow with indomitable commitment.  Second, I listen to the sound of the river and try to hear only that.  I allow the sound of the river to be the captain of my thoughts.  As if the sound is talking to me and this works well because the sound is constant and keeps my attention.  I can let any other mental chatter slide because the sound of the river doesn’t weaken.  It is interesting to see what other songs come into my mind during this exercise.  Third, I like to think of the rocks and paths beneath the river. That if the water was gone the area below would look walkable though it would have been shaped by the strength of the river.  And I’ll picture other walking paths in the woods as being submerged in water, covered by the river.  In this way I can begin to sense how the water interacts with other elements of the earth…wood, air, mountain, life,..and that water everywhere is connected.  It is like a blanket.

  • Try meditating near a river and staring off in the distance just above the water at dusk or night.  In some situations you can sense or even see the essence of the river floating along smoothly above the water’s surface.
  • Another good meditation tool is to stare at one area of the river where there is some turbulence and try to see all the ripples and white water that occurs in your field of vision simultaneously.  This is called looking at nothing but seeing everything.

When you leave the river and go back to your home, work or city don’t be fooled – the river is still there running with as much commitment as when you were observing it.  Even now, the bodies of water you’ve seen are still doing their thing.  Water is powerful because of it’s relentless drive.  If your zodiac sign is cancer, scorpio or pisces then your element is water.  Can you see any of yourself in the behaviors of the river?

How Old Are You?

Which number of lifetime are you currently living?  If you are still young and new you’ll be traveling a very different path from a soul who has lived many times.  I think we are born here from a non-physical place so that we can learn new things here and continue to refine and add to the non-physical soul.  Master Ni says, “the world is a place where the souls have come for the process of purification and refinement.”  Accepting that, it then becomes important to acknowledge that not all human beings you will interact with are in the same process as you.  Don’t be arrogant:  no matter how much you know there’s always someone who knows more.  Even still, there are many who are not yet interested in their own inner refinement or even willing to look.

past-life-regression

So how old are you?  What are your interests?  How into spirituality, reflection and growth are you?  Do you have a sense about the question:  What are you here for?  Or do questions like that make you uncomfortable or seem trivial?

If you’ve lived many times you have had many opportunities to learn therefore you will most likely be interested in more esoteric ideas and experiences.  If you are new you will be more interested in worldly ideas or concerned with the ego.  Perhaps this explains how there is such a great variation of interests among people.  How is it that some people only want plastic surgery and to travel the world while others only want to meditate and look inward?

If you’ve been born again you don’t remember much of your previous lives.  It takes a few years for you to catch up to where you left off.  It is a slow process to shed off the impermanence of this reiteration and connect with the deeper subtle truths underneath.  Each new lifetime, depending on the work you did in the past life, you progress a certain amount.  My guess is that the progress is more gradual than sudden.  It is undeniable that every human is born with challenges here – will they face them, learn from them?  Maybe not, maybe that’s not their path.

When choosing people to socialize with, what level are you connecting to them?  An animal level, earthly level or spiritual level?  It is my conclusion that two people on different paths or too distant in their number of lifetimes will not travel together for very long in this life yet there’s always a reason why you have been led to interact with someone.  Learn, grow, and let it go.  Eventually, keep all your focus inward on your own purification and, further still, learn to appreciate those you’ve interacted with despite the pleasantness or unpleasantness of the interaction.

 

How to Pick a Good Partner (part 2)

Although I know it’s better to think about what you DO want rather than what you don’t want I would like to talk about some things you don’t want just for a minute.

  • Don’t  pick the hottest woman in the room
  • Beware the woman who is extremely receptive
  • Give no time to a flirtatious woman who is not single

pollination-food-crops

Don’t pick the hottest woman in the room:

Hopefully you aren’t looking from a physical standpoint only as that will surely lead to trouble however you want to find a mate who is pleasant to look at.  The nice thing is the more the relationship develops the more attractive they will appear to you 🙂  Beware of the hottest woman in the room and do not pick her.  This is for many reasons.  Female form is great and should be celebrated but the hottest woman in the room will have all the guys she meets wanting to celebrate her, some for purely physical reasons and some starting there and wanting more to develop.  You are asking for trouble if you pick this woman.  Second, there may be something about a woman who always wants to appear to be the best looking thing.  It could be a hyper-competitiveness with her friends in which case the love of one man won’t do for very long.  Soon the appeal of you will wear off and she’ll need the next shiny thing.  A woman who spends hours a week on her outward appearance could have been spending hours a week on her inner beauty.  Physical appearance is truly only skin deep.  Self-worth comes from a much deeper place.  If she has inner beauty she won’t need to rely on outer beauty for security.

Beware the woman who is extremely receptive:

Although it feels great to meet a woman who seems totally into you.  There can be wild, fantastical and exciting moments between you two.  However, a woman who is extremely receptive to you as a man is to be avoided.  She will likely also be extremely receptive to other men as well.  If she doesn’t outright cheat on you, good, but when your relationship hits a rough spot, distance, or she has an opportunity then she may very well receive attention (or other things) from another man.  Women who are apt to make physically risque connections with you in public or dangerous places are also willing to do that with other men.  In other words, if she’s easy for you – she’s easy for them too!  Beware.

Give no time to a flirtatious woman who is not single:

This one should be obvious.

You’ll notice in the first two cases you are trying to avoid extremes.  Any relationship that has extreme sides is not good.  You want steady, reliable, calm and open.  Extreme may be exciting and fun but like a pendulum it will swing back the other way.

Always use caution when choosing any course of action and especially a mate.  Look at what you are getting yourself into with a clear and sober mind.  Do not be tricked by your biology.  You should feel very, very secure in a woman’s commitment to the relationship before you proceed with her.  It’s your heart, your feelings and your life you are directing.  It demands a lot of thought, attention and care.  Be careful with yourself.

 

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.

Hopetoun_falls.jpg

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.

intuition_quote.jpg

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:

sinewave_as_generated.png

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.