Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Childhood Trauma: Failure

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



Picture This:

You have hopes and dreams and aspirations for your newborn child. You make assumptions about how he is going to be. One of these is that he’s going to do well in school.

Then one day some years later your child comes home with a failure notice. He’s shaken up because, naturally, just the suggestion that one is a failure is troublesome. But it’s the first time, so, put off though you are, you simply tell him he has to focus harder.

Then the report card comes home and there’s a big ol’ “F”.

“You’re grounded.”

As school progresses and with regular rounds of failure notices and “F’s”, parental hellfire becomes common place. Your kid is only 8 or 10 or 12 years old, but, damn it, he’s a failure and needs to be punished. Why the hell isn’t he like the other kids?

With each new suggestion or case-in-point of failure come more groundings. These groundings may evolve into spankings or God-only-knows what other kinds of abuses.

He may be a child, but he’s a failure. No one wants a failure.

And he knows he’d better not cry, either, because crying is what pussies do.

Trauma is piled on trauma is piled on trauma.

Does it hurt you to picture this?

If so, then I’ve accomplished my goal. People need to understand the horrors they’ve been dumping on their children since time untold.

This story hurts me, too. Failure trauma has been a major theme in my life. It certainly isn’t fun to revisit, but it takes someone who’s been there and is willing to face it to bring it to the light for everyone else who plays a role in the same. Otherwise nothing heals and the tragedy perpetuates.

When “Unconditional Love” Speaks, the Child Listens.

A child knows nothing but what the external world tells him. He’s gullible, naïve, impressionable, innocent—thoroughly dependent upon the words and actions of others to determine what he should think, say, and do and to define who he is.

This is particularly true of his parents. To him, no matter what the circumstances of his life experience, parents are to a child the perceived male and female personifications of unconditional love. Therefore, when “unconditional love” speaks or acts, the child listens, the child learns.

Getting back to schooling, then… There might be unease within the child when he’s handed his first “F”. But it’s not too big of a deal until “unconditional love”—i.e.: mom and dad—have their say. They determine what so-called failure really is.

They could say: It’s okay, kid. You’ve done well in other classes. You may be able to do better in this subject but even if you can’t do better I still love you and accept you. Not everyone learns at the same speed and some things are just more difficult for some kids, even grown-ups, because they don’t have an interest. It’s hard to learn what you don’t like.

And, contrary to what seems popular unspoken belief, although the kid is only 5 or 7 or 11, he would get it. He might be young, but hasn’t he gotten everything else?

Yes, he has. But unfortunately, such kind words are not what arise. Instead the child hears: An “F”? What’s the matter with you? You play too many video games. No video games until you get your grades up! I want to see you studying an extra hour every night. I’m going to time you.

Punishment could even involve physical abuse. Oh, but it’s just a spanking. It’s not like I punched the kid in the eye.

Folks who find yourself thinking, saying, and doing such things—wake up! You are striking your child! He comes home from school with the validity of his life in question, wanting nothing more than to be told there's been a mistake... And you slap him and tell him he's a bad kid.

The school has said: Your child appears to us to be a failure. If you agree, please sign this slip to certify that, yes, your child is, in fact, a failure. And so not only does the slip get signed—which is to say that mother and father of “unconditional love” have just acknowledged in written form that their child is most assuredly a failure, is dumb, is less than—but then mother and father of “unconditional love” drive the point home even further by taking away video games for two months and pulling out the belt.

At least temporarily, forget kindness and forget tutoring. The reaction is anger and punishment, instead, as if a kid who’s spending his life in emotional torment with a failure mentality is going to have any drive to do more math problems or show a greater interest in history.

All he wants is escape… Which is another way of saying he’s going to play even more video games or watch more TV or eat more junk food or, later on, get hooked on cigarettes and alcohol to cope with the cumulative stress. Math and history will be resented and rejected to the utmost, for now they’re associated with soul-crushing pain and suffering.

The Failures Who Fail Without Failing

Beyond the perceived failures as discussed above, there also exist the supposed failures who’d received “A’s” through the whole of their whole education.

These are the kids whose parents couldn’t even accept a “B”. For these kids’ parents are such hard-asses that, in their minds, even to get a “B” is essentially to get an “F”.

While trauma for these ones isn’t typically as bad as it is for the ones receiving “F’s”, I’ve no doubt there’s still trauma to be found.

Although "The System" itself may rain down accolades and scholarships on these children, because of the deriding ways of mom and pop “unconditional love,” the kids believe themselves to already be failures or near failures-in-the-making. This group pushes so damn hard to succeed, and may well manage to do so at least intellectually, but their effort and success are merely a means to both deny their failure self-perception and to attain their parent’s approval.

Parents: Please Take a Long, Hard Look at This Situation

If you are a parent, what I’d like you to first do is notice the hopes and aspirations and assumptions and such you may have of your child (or children). Notice where they come from. Notice that although they may exist within a “grown-up’s” mind, their original source is “out there” somewhere. Meaning: All these belief and behavioral “rights” and “wrongs” have been picked up not via inner-knowing but from culture, from TV, from parents and grandparents, from government recommendations, from religions, and so forth.

They are all fabricated shoulds and shouldn’ts. My child should be smart. My child shouldn’t make me unhappy. My child should do what I say. My child should be slapped if he gets poor grades. And on and on, ad infinitum.

So just first notice this: that a parent’s thoughts, words, and behavior toward a child are typically based on unquestioned external ideas which, too often, drive reactive punishment when the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” aren’t appeased.

Secondly, parents, I’d like you to contemplate your own childhood experience. Because, plain and simple, you pass on to your child whatever traumatic “unfinished business” you carry (conscious or not) that you’d absorbed from your own parents when you were a child.

If your kid is coming home from school with “F’s” and you hurt him rather than expressing love (you’re allowed “tough love” but anger, punishment, and abuse is a very different story), it means there’s something you need to work out from your own childhood. Your child is just a mirror you.

Deep, deep down in those places you’ve been avoiding, do you believe yourself to be a failure? Were you taught by your parents that degradation and abuse are adequate “preventative measures” for poor grades? How about the anger that arises every time your child brings a new failure notice home? What—or whom—are you really getting angry at?

Keep in mind that you cannot hurt another unless you are hurt yourself. Equally so, you cannot love another if you do not first love yourself. There is no love in the harboring and creation of trauma.

The System Perpetuates the Hell That Is Duality

Now I’d like you to notice something else.

Notice that The System is about the perpetuation of two things: uniformity and duality (which themselves perpetuate pain and suffering).

Kids go to school and they’re all expected to be like everyone else their age. If they fall behind, they are “failures.”

What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you be smart like everyone else? Why can’t you just fit in? Why do you have to be such a problem? Why do you have to ask questions the teachers can't answer? Why? Why? Why?

Then high school comes toward it’s close and the SAT’s come about. What are the SAT’s, or Scholastic Aptitude Tests? They're standardized tests wholly based on intellectual mind function (to hell with the unlimited-capacity 90% of the right brain hemisphere which works in abstraction) that are meant to determine where a student fits into the square, "One Right Way," consumerist world culture.

In other words, as the student comes to the end of 12 years of schooling, The System effectively tells the student and potential future educators whether he is smart or stupid. And the kids and parents go right along with it like it’s the God’s honest truth.

Even worse is it in China with their “gaokao,” or college entrance exam—a test which carries so much weight toward the passing or failing of an individual, toward whether one will be forced to become either a garbage man or a corporate executive, that stress-driven suicide is not uncommon among the students while still in preparation for the test.

But whether here or over there, our schooling system (and most all of our society, really) is one where there are always people who will “come up short,” who are “not good enough,” who are “less than.” It is a system wherein there are always people who will come to believe they are irredeemable failures and thus live their whole lives with such a despairing attitude.

Hurt and Healing

I imagine it’s evident to you by this point that failure, even potential failure, can and does easily become demoralizing at best and thoroughly traumatizing at worst.

When this programming gets into the mind, when the energy of the physical and emotional hurt lodges itself in the body, it creates nothing short of a life of regular nightmares—only there’s no need to go to sleep to experience them.

Even worse is that, because the trauma is subconscious, the everyday words and actions of a failure-mentality individual become charged for disaster—without the individual ever realizing hurt is coming until that hurt has already come.

This struggle will persist for a whole lifetime if the issue isn’t worked out.

As I've seen through my own experience: Life generally amounts to naught more than an interminable repetition of unintended self-sabotage and despairing self-destruction. Nothing seems deserved nor worth trying for because failure is always “guaranteed.” If the attainment of something (relationship, award, etc.) is sought after, chances are exceedingly high that, just prior to attainment, all that was built up will inadvertently be devastated and feelings of self and other will be hurt, often times quite severely.

Folks, this failure-focused culture is one ship we have to turn around. Not for just a few kids but for everyone. Everyone is either affected indirectly by those who struggle with the failure mentality and experience or directly since they carry it within themselves; the former of which includes all of us and the latter of which constitutes an enormous number of people though most are living the struggle in unawareness of what it really is.

With that, I offer you 6 solutions:
  1. If you are a parent, examine and heal your own childhood trauma. (We cannot pass on hurt that we don’t carry within ourselves.) Find methods that work for you: meditation, journaling, energy healing, whatever. There are many ways. We all hurt and we all need healing.

  2. If an adult, work with a counselor/therapist to clear out the root issues. If you are a parent and see the issues in any of your children, although a counselor/therapist may be useful, to start perhaps you could find a way to gently address the failure issue with him or her. Just be mindful of the nature of children: they are mirrors of their parents. If you find they close down every time you bring up the subject, perhaps they are just showing you a seemingly unrelated unhealed side of your own self (ex: believes a father: It’s not manly to talk about my feelings, or I refuse to admit that I, too, failed some classes.).

  3. Support schooling systems that aid the holistic development of children, such as Montessori and Waldorf styles. Part of the reason we hurt so bad is because the first 18 to 22 years or so of our lives are basically forced rote intellectual learning that separates the "passers" from the "failures." Furthermore, abstraction, creativity, and emotion are the majority of our inherent nature. To repress personality and "free energy" is to create great hurt.

  4. As Chip and Dan Heath repeatedly say in their book: Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard, we need to learn to focus on the “bright spots.” This is to say that rather than focusing on short comings—which forces mindsets and situations into deep negativity—we focus on the positive aspects instead, like the three “A’s” that were earned along with the “F”. From there we’d work to understand what made the “A’s” possible and apply those same techniques to the more troublesome areas.

  5. Our schooling systems need to begin teaching the truth through teachers who can actually teach (denying positions to those who are, for example, football coaches looking for a few extra bucks). Always bear in mind that failure notices and “F's” (and any other lower grades) could imply utter disinterest or a lousy teacher, not stupidity or laziness. We must learn to stop blaming the student when the error is within The System. Similarly, The System teaches us a lot of garbage—deliberate lies, misinformation, etc.—as usual, anything that will perpetuate "Slavonomics". As our individual consciousnesses are linked to the collective consciousness which holds all information from past, present, and future, we know inherently, though rarely consciously, a lie when we hear it. Naturally, such nonsense is difficult if not impossible for us to assimilate; the ones who do assimilate it well must create and maintain the greatest yet false "cognitive bullshit receptors."

  6. Love your children. Treat them how you want to be treated yourself. It shouldn't take a martyr to recognize that it’s profoundly painful to be on the receiving end of verbal denigration or physical abuse. I can only imagine that for most parents it isn’t exactly enjoyable to be performing the acts. It’s not an accident you feel terrible while in the midst of hurting your kids.

A Parting Prayer

I Hope this writing and the suggested paths to resolution help you both in recognizing these failure-related difficulties in your own life and the lives of your kids and in making headway toward healing.

My intention for you as I close this, now, is that any failure-related struggles affecting you and your children may be healed with ease and Grace.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Unity-Duality Paradox

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



The Unity-Duality Paradox

God is love.
God has created us in his image and likeness.
We are love. We are God.

Love does not cause suffering.
God does not suffer.

Though One is all and all are One, we suffer.

And so we will.

For within the veiled realm of dualistic existence,
without suffering we do not awaken;
without suffering we do not realize what it is we are not,
in order that we may remember what it is we truly are:

We are love. We are God.

-----
Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 5/3/13 to former personal blog “Without a Story.”

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Opposites That Aren’t Opposites

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



Dualistic Poles: The Opposites That Aren’t Opposites

Somehow we continue missing the inherent nature of life: Oneness.

Even though it's right in front of us at all times, we keep managing to look right past it. What we see instead is duality:
  • This is cold; that is hot.
  • This is light; that is dark.
  • This is sound; that is silent.
  • This is hard; that is soft.
  • This is healthy; that is diseased.

Yet this duality is a duality that doesn’t actually exist. It’s imagined. Because there’s no such thing, for example, as so-called “hot” or “cold.” Yes, relatively so. But “relatively so” is not real, much as it might be what we focus all of our attention on.

What is real is an ever-prevalent transference of energy between what appears to be two absolute poles in which, no matter what level of energy—i.e.: “temperature”—is sensed relatively, all is of the same one give-take system.

So, “coldness” is not “coldness” but is the absence of a higher level of energy, one we’d term “warmth.” “Coldness” and “warmth,” then, if it could be said in the following way, are in an eternal dance of balance. When “coldness” departs, “warmth” immediately replaces it, and vice versa. But, not really, because there is no distinction; there is no true point in the infinity to delineate and say: “This is where coldness ends and warmth begins.”

Even if we go to the point of a duality such as “healthy” versus “diseased,” still there is something ultimately short-sighted in this.

For even the fungal growth that is cancer, horrible though it may be to the relative perspective, is merely another form of life growing where the conditions for its existence prevail. By all means, if a person experiences cancer, I whole-heartedly support their effort to heal, to alter the conditions allowing it to develop. But in an absolute sense, there is nothing inherently “wrong” with cancer. It is not personal nor is there actually any "disease" about it.

When we look at a tree fallen over in the forest and see it run through with rot and having mushrooms grown on it, do we think: Oh, God, that must be terrible for the tree. What a horror this is?

Yes, if we’re still stuck in a fully dualistic and illusory mindset, we do. But in taking the bird’s eye view we think nothing of it whatsoever because there’s nothing “wrong.” There came an emptying of life from the tree, the tree’s protective mechanisms ceased to be, and so new life forms took up residence as circumstance permitted.

It’s the cycle of life:
  1. Life grows.
  2. Life dies.
  3. Death creates a void.
  4. Void is filled with new life.
  5. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Such is the way of existence: An eternal flux and balancing of seeming opposites having uncounted “points” between which, really, is all and only ever an indifferentiable Oneness.

And it’s this way of existence that, when known and observed from a necessarily nonjudgmental mindset, effects in the observer the peace, acceptance, and gratitude and the like endlessly sought out, yet never found, in the realm of perceptual polarities.

Experiential Self-Proof of the Concept of Oneness

I’m now going to offer you an anecdote from my own life and then provide you with a very simple method that can prove to you experientially the truth of what I’ve written.

About five years ago during a karate class, part of an exercise set required that I do a limit-breaking number of “mountain-climbers.” Since my shoulders were relatively weak and this exercise places a good deal of tension on them, it wasn’t uncommon in times prior for me to take a rest in the middle of a set.

On one occasion, however, as my shoulders began to seriously burn halfway through the set, I focused my attention sharply on my shoulders. I made the conscious thought: I am energy. At my very deepest level, I am nothing more than energy. Energy cannot tire.

Within about three seconds, all pain and weakness in my shoulders ceased. I finished off the mountain-climbers feeling as though I’d not done any.

The nature of life is energy. It’s everywhere and everything, and, as it has no polarity, it just is. We may not perceive it as such, but that certainly doesn’t make room for negation—it’s merely that our perception isn’t picking up on it.

For a brief moment when in karate class, I was able to tap into the greater energetic truth of life. I was able to momentarily realize within myself the wholeness of my inherent nature. (A nature that belongs to all of us.) I was no longer a “weak” human; I was no longer a “limited” human (if only in the sense of what I’d been seeking to accomplish). I was no longer at the “lower” end of the spectrum believing that I had to work my way up to the “higher” end of the spectrum. Contrarily, in that short period, I became, so to speak, the energy “spectrum” itself.

For you, the reader, you could try what I did if you’d like. I’m not sure it will work because life, as far as I’ve seen, tends to be quite personal—the “miracles” and epiphanies of another rarely if ever become one’s own.

Regardless, here are a few ideas of varying sorts to play around with that are likely to work for anyone. Be aware that the results typically come as an internal kind of feeling or knowing-without-knowing. You’ll recognize something is different, but may not readily be able to point precisely at what the difference is.
  • When you’re out in the cold and are catching a chill, recall that there is only what is, that “cold” does not exist.
  • When you’re reading the news and think, This is some bad stuff, take a pause and inquire as to where the absolute point is exactly at which “good” and “bad” separate or are defined.
  • When loud noises abound and you think, “Oh, how I would love silence right now,” although full quiet may be preferential, reassess whether there is as much noise as at first it seems. (Hint: Focus on the spaces beneath, between, and within the noises.)

So there you go. Give these suggestions a shot. If you want to work at more on your own, the key is to choose characteristics you’ve perceived as dualistic and then from a state of Oneness perception pull out whatever it is you’re looking for. This "whatever it is" generally being only as limited as you.

And remember: Whatever comes to you, it's Oneness responding to itself.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Imagination Police

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



The Star Wars Travesty

A friend recently told me of the Star Wars “Expanded Universe”-killing move of Disney.

In two paragraphs:

Back in the day while Lucasfilm did their Lucasfilm work, be it Star Wars movies or games or whatever, the fans created their own Star Wars “Expanded Universe” (EU) of side stories, characters, etc. This is to say that fans created books, artwork, and so forth, sent them in for approval, and then (assuming approval) the works were officially licensed as part of the Star Wars collection. (Note that they were important but not considered “Canon” as are the movies.)

My friend then told me, however, that after purchasing the Lucasfilm rights, Disney announced that any Star Wars-related material not portrayed within the first 6 films was, effectively, garbage. In other words, all the artistic works—books, comics, artwork, and whatever else—as related to the fan-created EU of Star Wars were officially made null and void, meaningless, useless, kaput.

As anyone knows who has ever had an awesome idea and had it manifested (to any extent) only to have it utterly squashed; as anyone knows who has ever enjoyed the feeling, the experience of being a part themselves of such ideas and, likewise, felt the squashing as though a piece of them was stolen away, Star Wars fans felt, and continue to feel, that a part of the fabric of their existence has been stolen forever.

The Imagination Police

There’s a certain word I’d used a moment ago to describe Disney’s announcement of the “End.” This word was, officially.

…fan-created EU… [was] officially made null and void, meaningless, useless, kaput.

Officially.

Chew on that for a minute. But don’t swallow. You probably already have, but don’t. Gullible people swallow. You still chewing? Did whatever scrap it is you’re chewing on release any insights to you yet? No? Then keep chewing. Pardon the pun, but yes, this is a Chewie situation. You need to stay focused. Concentrate. Chew.

...

Get it yet?

If you are a Star Wars EU fan who feels that something vital has been deceitfully taken from you, particularly if you find yourself miserable and complaining about it yet not taking any action, I ask you this:

Why are you accepting as fact the idea that the Universe you and others have created in your own collective imagination—in a way, a most enthralling astral experience—as never having happened? This idea coming from a corporation no less! A corporation!

Can’t you still see all those vivid characters and environments and scenes in your mind’s eye? Aren’t your shelves filled with all those EU books and comics?

And yet you still give Disney exactly what they want.

They said: We’re the boss, now! and then punched you in the gut. Are you really going to stand there and say: Thank you, sir! May I have another!?”

What strikes me as more heart-breaking and gut-wrenching than Disney’s emptiness is that people, grown men and women, would submit to Disney’s emptiness believing that: Yes, it’s true. The EU is dead. Disney did it officially.

You know what Chewie would say about this?

“Raguaa, muu waaar hugaa.”

Which translates as: “Officially, my hairy ass.”

Which Path Will You Choose?

So the question comes down to: Which path will you choose?

I can only imagine that, although some fans are likely gone for good or only hanging on loosely, countless others, though they will remain disgusted and complain, will still go see the movies, will still buy the video games, will still get the toys for themselves or their kids.

Which is exactly what Disney is, quite literally, banking on—that people will feed the mouth that bites them.

Disturbed Star Wars fans… What if the hundreds of thousands of you don’t go to the movies? What if the hundreds of thousands of you don’t buy the DVD’s, games, and other merchandise?

What if the hundreds of thousands of you don’t submit to this dishonor of human creation?

Your money is your vote. Are you going to agree with Disney that you are not the master of your imagination? That your collective life creations truly no longer exist?

Or will you stand up and continue creating?

Because if the Star Wars movies and related products were to utterly tank, Disney would take the hint. They may be big, but they’re no bigger than the dollars the average you and me put in their wallet.

If you want your Expanded Universe back, you have to demand it… But first you have to realize that it never truly left. Not only is it sitting on your shelves in print and DVD (or VHS, whatever that is…), but it’s within you and it’s within every other Star Wars fan.

Unless you choose to believe the “official” statement. Then, yeah—it’s dead.

It’s your call.

It’s Everywhere

For sure, this kind of tragedy doesn’t end with Star Wars. It’s everywhere.

We’ve got Big Religion telling us who’s saved and who’s going to hell, yet no savior has thus far come and people are suffering like mad. We’ve got Big Government passing ever more laws and forever hiking taxes, yet solutions are always out of reach. We’ve got Big Medical and Big Pharma demanding preemptive screenings and endless medications, yet the multitudes are sick as ever. We’ve got Big Education telling us who we are, what we’re doing here, and how to think and live, yet these service-only-to-Big-Business-and-consumerism ways provide little sense of satisfaction for individuals. We’ve got guiding groups like the USDA telling us the “One Right Way” to eat, yet following every new edition of the Food Pyramid/My Plate the skyrockets that are the metabolic disease and cancer rates sharpen even further. We’ve got Big Security agencies with the most advanced spying and data collecting technologies in the world, yet terrorist events have become a dime a dozen affair, all of them “unforeseen.”

This may be the “official” story, folks, but it’s complete garbage.

Left and right, people are getting sick and dying, losing jobs, going homeless, being victim to child labor and abuse, having their rights and privacy taken away, and we keep paying for more of it.

Thank you, sir! May I have another!?

How long are we going to sit around paying to be manipulated by the tyranny that is Big Everything?

How long are we going to deny our imaginations, our creations, our artistic works—the very things that make us uniquely human and slaves to none?

The Star Wars Expanded Universe happened. Life happened. Artistic expression happened.

Indeed, they’re still happening. To you. And to me.

It’s time to remember that we don’t have to forget.

Post Script

If you need more clarity on the situation, go read/watch: 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Equilibrium.

Your art is resistance. Your resistance is art.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"Do You Believe In God?"

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



The Big Question

Time and again ever since I dropped religion, people have asked me, “Do you believe in God?”

This is a question often posed to religion-leavers like myself, so I’m going to address it here. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding as though being non-religious equates with the denial of God. This is simply not the case.

However, this is not to suggest that I do believe. I have no intentions of giving a yes or no answer, and my answer is likely to displease. For as far as this writer is concerned, the question of, Do you believe in God? is short-sighted and irrelevant.

Truth and Belief

For eons we’ve been living under a cloud of neediness to align with things. How do we align? By making up beliefs about these things and our relationship to them as though the Truth can’t or won’t reveal itself to us without us trying to tell it what it is and support it as such.

But the Truth already is and doesn’t need us to interfere. It doesn’t need us programming perception-altering ideas—beliefs—into our minds about how things supposedly are. All we need to do with life is see it.

So of God, why do I have to believe? Does my belief in God prove God’s existence or my disbelief negate God?

Neither does either. What is just is. If there’s a God, it doesn’t matter if I believe or disbelieve. In either case I’m still believing something, and so whatever life would show to me I’m going to perceive it as occurring through the falsifying lens of my mental constructs.

Religion’s Lie

And keep in mind, since this question of, Do you believe in God? is typically directed toward the non-religious from the religious, that religion itself is often a denial of God in the sense that God is just as Truth is.

Religion is an arrangement of dogmas, rituals, etc. which are nearly all based not on facts but on beliefs of “what God is,” “how things happened in the past,” and “what must be done right now” to prepare for “what will happen in the future.”

This, I feel, is an important distinction which many religious folks don’t get.

A person calling it quits to religion (and all related baggage) does not mean, implicitly or explicitly, that that person is also denying the existence of God.

Will religion often, in some way, shape, or form, overtly or covertly, drive the guilt-trip into the congregants that to perform such a move would be to deny God?

Absolutely! Indeed, your sorry ass is going to hell!

But only because you believe it. Hell is a mindset, folks. That is what hell is.

What truly bothers the organizations is that they're not going to be getting your support. You're one less person to help them keep up their facade of so-called "truth." And if using lies, fear, and the threat of eternal damnation are going to keep you, they really have no problem using such tactics... Which has nothing whatsoever to do with God, because "God is Love." (1 John 4:8)

Free your mind, free yourself, and then tell me how much God cares that you don’t specifically believe in him… or her…or it.

Experience and Knowing

Again, all we need to do is see. Life will take care of everything else because the Truth is the natural way.

And, if you still want, you can use the word “God.” But really “God” is just that—a word, a name, a descriptor for that which is the Totality-of-Divine-Stillness-and-Movement-which-Is-Everything-and-No-thing that can never be adequately described in human terms.

So rather than thinking about God and making up all kinds of mental suppositions about how this God is or what this God wants—try to experience is-ness instead.

Drop all else and just experience.

And always remember that Jesus said: “Know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

What he didn’t say was: “Make up a whole bunch of shit, believe it’s true even though there’s no proof and you’d heard it 294th hand, and then go live it as if it’s gospel truth.”

To see is to know. To be is to know.

Without judgment or assumption or belief.

Here and now.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Thought: Illogic

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



If you want to understand those who seem to you "illogical," then you must think illogically yourself.

At which point you will realize that the illogic of others is logic to them for it's the frame of reference through which they perceive life.

Not much different than how your own thoughts, words, and behavior may well appear illogical to others, though you, yourself, believe them to be "logical."

Similar can be said for “normality,” “sensibility,” preference, and so forth.

In the end, perspectives are neither “wrong” nor “right,” as all are equal and are functional for those who use them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Writing In the Dark

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



College Arrogance

Back in my college days I was always right. If I didn’t like the way something was being taught, either the method of teaching was stupid, the professor was stupid, or both. My judgment was, of course, clear.

Well, as it happened, I’d had this one professor who, on the first day of class, had a video to show us and asked that we take notes while watching it. After beginning the video, he promptly shut off all the lights—the only “light” remaining on being the small TV at the front left of the classroom.

A few minutes into the movie, someone asked the professor if he could turn a light or two on because he couldn’t see where or what he was writing. To this the professor stopped the video, turned all the lights on, and then stood there is silence for what seemed an eternity.

After we had all aged a few years, he said that when he was in college the same thing happened to him. He said it was a lesson to write notes while focusing more on the video than the notes being taken. This would require that the note-taker set a finger on the edge of their notebook at the start of a line and continue to slide that finger down the imagined distance to the next line so that their writing hand would know where to carry on with the notes.

The professor then turned all the lights off and restarted the video.

As you may have suspected by my opening comments, I didn’t like this at all. It was most certainly the dumbest exercise I’d ever been asked to do in my life. What a dick this guy was.

That was both the first and last time I attended that class.

All of this took place back in 2005.

A Toolbox Without Tools

January of 2012 rolls around, and I can’t help but notice that there are some really strange things happening to me.

One of these is that my dreams, at least the ones I’d remember on waking, were becoming more frequent, more vivid, and more intense. For about a two week period I consistently woke up between 3 and 4 am. (A few times I’d woken up at exactly the same time—3:34 happened at least two nights in a row. But I’m left wondering if it was actually 3:33 and I just hadn’t turned myself over to see the time until a minute later).

After that, I spent about a week waking up between 4 and 5 every night. And in the time following, and at its peak, there was at least a solid week where I’d wake up every single night, an upwards of seven or eight times per night, with the memory of some wild and crazy dream I’d just had. (And I do mean wild and crazy—like there’s-some-bizarre-ass-shit-inside-that-needs-to-be-healed kind of wild and crazy.)

I had been interested in the idea of lucid dreaming and taking control of my dreams but my awareness and remembrance had been, to the above point, so few and far between that I’d never written my dreams down as recommended. As my dreams became more frequent, vivid, and intense, I figured it was a better time than ever to do so.

Yet because I couldn’t have remembered them all enough to write them down upon waking for the day, it meant that I had to write out my dreams in the dark. And so I’d lay there doing just that—I'd write a line and move my thumb; write a line, move my thumb. And suddenly it dawned on me what was occurring…

Oh, how it made me laugh! Oh, how I laughed! So arrogant I had been! To ever think that I knew better than the Universe itself! The audacity to think that Life was not giving me exactly what I needed! Oh, how I laughed!

The Moral

The key here is to take a hint from this once supremely arrogant author.

Too often, we think we know what we need and get all bitchy moany when it doesn’t make an appearance, or at least not in the way we’d imagined it would.

However, the truth is that the universe is quite deft at managing itself. It knows what it’s doing and knows when to do it—it’s we who typically don’t—it’s we with our silly notion of “human exceptionalism” hardwired into our psyches, driving us to behave like we’re beyond Creation’s intelligence and separate from cosmic law.

But we’re not. And so we must learn, at which point it’s often hard not to do anything but laugh.

-----
Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 3/15/12 to former personal blog “Without a Story.”

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Words Are For the Herds

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



Words are not used by people. People are used by words.

Not that it has to be this way. It’s just what we’ve so far chosen. Should you be interested in learning how people, including you, are used by words, then read on. Today I’m going to help you free yourself from the shackles of language.

What? You’re not wearing any word shackles? …Yeah. Right… And I’m King Kong…

You only think you’re not wearing word shackles because these fetters are of the mind. Not only are they invisible, but no one has ever brought them to your attention. You’ve spent your life believing words are true and real when, in fact, they are illusory mind-fodder designed to conceal reality.

This is not to say we shouldn’t use them. Words are kind of important to the interaction between most people in life as we know it. The purpose here (and in my other word-related writing, “What Is a Word?”) is to guide you into a deeper awareness of the subtler tones of language.

I’ll start you off with a simple example. The more exciting and complex will follow, as will the smiles and a-ha!'s.

Breaking Words Into Components

I’m first going to suggest that you break words into sections.

One word that comes to mind is: discuss. Normally, when we hear or use this word, it brings to mind imagery of multiple people talking together about the same topic.

When we break down discuss into parts—“dis” and “cuss”—there arises an alternate possibility. Now, “dis-cuss” comes across as "the argument/conversation we have with another as a means invalidating that which is being slandered or cussed".

Simple enough, and it offers a peek at where we’re headed.

Phonetics

Another way to see words is by their phonetic nature. In this sense, we would take a word and pronounce it in a slightly different way from the way we’re used to but still basically sounds like the word in mind.

An example of this is the word disease. From my own experience, people nearly always pronounce this word like “dih-zeeze.” This is all fine and good, but it’s also a subtle mask. Looking literally, hearing phonetically, and speaking slowly as we break down disease into its constituent parts of “dis” and “ease,” we recognize disease as "dis-ease," or a lack of ease.

Which is utterly obvious as to being what sickness is. But who sees it? It took this avid reader and wordsmith/manipulator-of-words/writer about 27 years, and that was at someone else's suggestion.

History is another common one. This word is a hair more complex than the prior two, but we’re still sticking to the same formula.

When we separate history to its phonetic, component parts, the result is “his” and “story,” or “his-story.” And isn’t that right on? Except for very recently, the last 13,000-ish years of recorded his-story has been of a world dominated by patriarchy. And, naturally enough, who do you suppose is writing about our past, telling us what he wants us to know and not telling about what he doesn’t what us to know? The Man!

Which leads to the question: What is the medium through which The Man dumps on us so many of his lies about "how life is"?

Take a minute to think about it. I'm looking for a frequently used, one-syllable word. Use phonetics. Sound it out. Say the word at half-speed. Alternately, you can ask the question and let your mind go silent and see if the answer comes to you.

...
....
.....

Ah... Yes... Through the news... Through the noose!

Alternate and Standard Definitions

Sometimes it may help us, once we segment words, to look at what we have when substituting definitions.

For example, let’s suppose we have a word beginning with the prefix con-. To most people, though they may not be exactly sure that con- means “with” or “together,” they probably still realize it as a common prefix which can be used on myriad other words and indicates the same for each. It’s unlikely con- would be thought of, instead, as meaning “scam” or “rip-off” as when placed alone.

But what if it did or could?

One instance of this can be found in the word consumerism. To the average Joe and Jane, consumerism is the ideology which promotes the buying of ever more goods and services. (Pardon me, whilst I chuckle. Ha! “Goods,” they’re called. It’s mostly ego-feeding trash… Anyway…)

Consumerism broken up, however, tells us a very different story. Indeed, it gives us a vital clue about “his-story.”
  • “con” --> fraud, scam, swindle
  • “sumer” --> Sumer --> Sumeria is the ancient Middle Eastern region where his-story tells us the excess buying of goods, just for the sake of having more, originated.
  • “ism” --> doctrine, philosophy, belief system
Yep. It’s been right under your nose all along. The Western “One Right Way” philosophy of consumerism, of the egregious buying of goods and services, is the most ancient of all scams!

So you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is read the “noose” paper. And scattered throughout you see advertisements.

Advertisement:
“advert is meant” --> “to draw attention is meant,” or
"advert eyes meant" --> "to draw attention of the eyes is meant."

And so your attention continues to flip-flop back and forth between the “noose” and "con-sumer" marketing. And you’re none the wiser. Until now. (You're welcome.)

Intuitions

The last major item on the agenda today is intuitive wordplay. To call it intuitive is to say that the recognition of a given word’s deeper meanings just happens. One moment you’ll be painting a wall or trimming your toenails, and the next moment you’ll be struck unexpectedly by word intuition.

I imagine this can come about with nearly any word at all and the meanings you’re offered will probably surprise you.

For example, the other day I was in my kitchen making lunch when the following just plopped into my mind, neat as you please:
Inform. Typically, we think of this as meaning: “to tell someone something.” But inform could also suggest: “to give data”; wherein the “data” is manifest or “in form” (versus unmanifest such as felt perception).

Information. Typically, “data.” But as seen with intuitive perception, and as related to the case of education as noted below, information becomes “in-formation”; as to say, “all subjects are given the same data with expectations for a uniform, predictable, and robotic outcome."

Etymologies and Education

One final thing I’d like to touch on briefly is etymologies. Etymology is sometimes important, but word origins are something few of us have a solid knowledge base in. Etymologizing isn’t then what I’d necessarily suggest, but I want to be sure to point it out as a possible path.

To me, reading into words, so to speak, is more about perceiving words through the intuitive eye as they appear right now rather than using one’s physical eyes to connect modern words to their bygone counterparts.

[Note 9/7/17: Since writing this post on 1/11/15, I’ve come to see that etymologies, if one looks deeply enough, can provide an amazing level of clarity. And so I do, now, highly recommend one keeps their eyes open to this.]

But regardless of how this all pans out for you, I want you to know that what I give you in this writing is meant to be guidance. Because with guidance I can lead you forward, without force or standardization, and allow you at any time to drop out or even advance further than I.

What I do not have any interest in doing is educating you. Education is forcing "in-formation" on others in unnatural ways (such as rote schooling or through the "noose") and expecting them to be able to barf it all back verbatim so as to be validated as worthy of grasping the "con-sumer-ism" mindset.

What I do not have any interest in doing, as the etymology of educating denotes, is “training animals”.


Click here for: “Words Are for the Herds – Part 2”.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What Is a Word?

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance—it is the illusion of knowledge.”
--Daniel Boorstin

“This is a tree,” you say, as you look at the hard, barky object with branchy protrusions and leafy growths.

Or perhaps you see the tree and tell someone about it later: “Today I saw a tree.”

To which your friend sarcastically replies: “Cool story, Brah.”

For indeed, all either of you perceive is a hard, barky object with branchy protrusions and leafy growths. All either of you perceive is a concretized illustration of a word as defined in your mind. Even should you look at it up close and touch it, still the regard is about the same: you perceive a hard, barky object with branchy protrusions and leafy growths.

This occurs to you and most everyone else because we’ve become so mentally fixated. We’ve come to define the whole of things by their mere name, appearance, and, for some, a scientific description of their workings. Ah, yes, a tree. I know what a tree is. There’s one in my back yard and I studied them in high school.

And so we go on the rest of our lives “knowing” what a tree is.

Not really, of course, because what is tree?

Tree is a word. It’s a word that triggers mental imagery and description; it’s a word that evokes past experience to define what is right now. And so real does it seem to us that we become fooled—that is, we fool ourselves—into believing that we “know” something of which we really don’t know anything about.

Which is both ignorance and a very subtle form of arrogance: Believing something is what it is not, perhaps even “knowing” it.

A word is just a word, you see. It is an arbitrary sound or combination of sounds when spoken and an arbitrary set of dashes and dots and curves when written. All of which have been agreed upon as “true” for a billion and a half different “sound sets” yet none really meaning anything in the end; or to your Bengali- and Swedish-speaking neighbors if you speak English.

Similar to Michael Brown’s sentiments in his book Alchemy of the Heart, we spell words, which act like magic in the mind, making “real” what is not. By the nature of belief and “knowing,” “spelling” causes us to forfeit our ability to actually see what is real.

A tree. A cow. A human. A house. None of these things are words. Words are naught but indicators or signposts easefully allowing for the non-telepathic transmittance of information from one source to another. To think we know something by any mere word and its scientific kerfuffle as the sum of what a thing is is foolhardy.

Words are dead.

What any word signifies is alive. What a word points to is now; it has a life cycle and is active within and without itself at both overt and indiscernible levels. To those with an ability for sensing the subtle, that to which a word points may be seen as burning with an internal light or perhaps as interacting energetically with the life that comes near to it. Have you never wondered why newborns seem to forever be looking with such fixed glances at some of the most non-descript of places? Do you suppose maybe they see what we grown-ups—we "a-dolts"—have lost...

The human intellect is of great importance. Evolution or the galactic geneticists or God or who/whatever planted us here would not have designed us without it did it not offer us something critical. However, it’s not the end of who we are as we’ve come to behave like. For by its nature the intellect makes death through definition, having no capacity for the abstract, for a life in constant flux. Without the abstract—the wordless, undefined perception of what is, now—there is no life. Perception remains dimensional, defined, and, well, damned.

But life is fuzzy and free, because life is alive.

Just like you. Just like me. Just like tree.

Which is to say then that, in totality, what is real cannot be explained by a word or any set thereof.

For, indeed, reality is an "experience of the mindless."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Then the Shepherd Said to the Herd…

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



The Pope and the President, the Principle and the Premier.

They will always have a word to speak when dis-ease arises.

Not because the people need it, but because the people think they need it.

Because the people have become a herd—a mesmerized herd held in mass by dogs and directed by the personification of fear—powerless and unwilling to do anything without authoritative approval.

“What to do?” they look up and ask to those who look down upon them. “Our souls are stained, our bodies are dirty, our minds deceive us, and our emotions are too wild to be trusted. You must tell us what to do, Shepherd.”

“Obey.”

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Childhood Trauma: Threats, Abuse, and Punishment

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



Ender’s Game

I recently finished reading Orson Scott Card’s “Ender Quartet,” consisting of the books Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind. While Card shows through the tale of Ender’s life and adventures that he is an outstanding storyteller, Card also reveals quite a well of wisdom.

One such piece of wisdom, from Ender’s Game, comes as a thought Ender has while at Battle School. Thinks Ender: “A good commander… doesn’t have to make stupid threats.”

Ender notes this to himself after one of his commanders threatens punishment on him for questioning authority and not doing as demanded. The commander is supremely arrogant and sees Ender, who is only a few years younger than he, as a worthless and stupid child. From Ender’s view, it makes much more sense to treat one’s soldiers with respect. After all, they are not the enemy and must be worked with cohesively to succeed. There must be trust all around.

This is a superficial meaning, however, needing not have any relation to a military operation. More immediately, it is (to this writer) about family; it’s about the relationship and interaction between parents and children.

A good parent doesn’t have to make stupid threats.

Stupid Threats

How many times do parents threaten their children with punishment, how many times do parents verbally degrade or physically hit their children, for saying and doing things for which the parents disagree with? And in how many of these instances are the children being threatened or punished for doing the very same things the parents themselves either did when they were children or might still do when their children aren’t around?

Right. What comes around, goes around. It’s familial karma. What’s in the consciousness (at any level) of parents is naturally and (usually) unwittingly passed into the consciousness of their children.

Unless adults have made the very deliberate effort to clear out their own childhood traumas resulting from their parents doing more or less the same to them, adults, as parents, will inevitably pass some form of that negativity to their children. It can be no other way.

And so it comes to parents to clean up the sludge in their consciousness so they cease polluting the world and their children with their inane threats and abuses. It is up to children (of nearly any age) to learn to actively keep themselves free of baggage as soon as they are able. And it is up to various societal groups (such as schools) to learn from those people who truly understand healing—READ: the ones-who-have-been-there-before, not those who’ve read some intellectual theory in a textbook and now believe themselves to be qualified—so that physical, mental, and emotional difficulties can be dealt with appropriately when they've already become trauma and can be worked through consciously when arising in daily life before any actual trauma occurs.

The Argument

Considering the way our society has been since time immemorial, it would be expected for the argument to arise that: If I’m not supposed to threaten or strike my child when he misbehaves, what do you want me to do?

Up front, the note must be made that if your child wants to run out into the middle of a busy street, then, yes, you have to take stronger measures than just sitting there on your porch sipping tea and kindly requesting that he cease playing chicken with the oncoming cars. What these stronger measures are, however, are your own. Solutions will be many and unique, some ideas being listed below. This disclaimer out of the way...

First keep in mind that what I’m suggesting through this writing is a process. If you’ve slapped your son daily for looking at nudie photos every day for the last year, it’s likely going to be difficult for you to not do it again today and tomorrow. So begin by seeing the process of it.

Next, instead of immediately flaring up when you see your son looking at the pictures (or if you do flare up, then afterward), ask yourself why you are flaring up. Ask what is within you that perceives nudie photos to be so bad. Have you, perhaps, suppressed the anger, helplessness, and trauma of when your parents had punished you for doing the same? Figure it out.

Yes, I know. The nudie picture example as flawed, John. Of course it’s wrong, and he should be punished!

Is it wrong? Is it really? Listen… I’m not here to tell you one way or another, okay? I’m here to tell you that you have to figure out what is true for you, what is right and wrong for you.

If you’re slapping your kid for looking at nudie images because your religion forbids it and demands prompt punishment, realize that you’re acting out a rule of a man-made institution. As stated in the Bible: the laws of God are written in our hearts. Before you go reactively walloping your kid, let go of all the extraneous crap and then figure out, probably for the first time in your life: What does my heart tell me about this situation?

Because if you find that your religion is wrong, then your incessant need to punish your child becomes wrong. Similarly but said differently, maybe you would find that looking at nudie pics is okay once in a while. Or maybe your religious ruling does have some degree of validity, but the deeper truth is that you’re subjecting your son to a hell of a lot more trauma and suffering from threats and abuse (and yourself to a lot of unnecessary misery) than if you’d just leave him alone to learn what’s right or wrong in his own time.

And unless you have no heart, certainly you must already know how it hurts you to strike your child every time he misbehaves. Which in the religious case would indicate that there is something seriously wrong with your religion, not you.

And what’s all the viciousness doing anyway? If your son's been doing supposed wrong for 365 days and caught and slapped every time, don’t you think he’d have stopped if your punishment were actually fixing the cause?

Indigenous Solutions

Aside from the suggestions for healing I made in the above section titled, “Stupid Threats,” there are other ways, ancient ways, worthy of consideration.

Whenever we become lost in life, whether it be in diet or community or whatever, we can almost always refer back to what certain indigenous tribes from around the world have done. Granted, some of these things are either inappropriate or irrelevant to the modern day. But there are still plenty which, had we the humility to take the practices on as our own, would reveal amazingly positive results for all of us.

The practical wisdom of (some) indigenous tribes are a “proof of functionality” revealing that threats toward and abuse of children (or anyone who’s imbalanced, really) is never necessary and “a good parent doesn’t have to make stupid threats.” When worked properly, personal trauma and troubles potentially to be created in the world at large would be nearly nonexistent.

One example of dealing with unruliness comes from (assuming my memory serves me correctly) an anecdote by Robert Wolff in his book Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing. Wolff tells how in one of the villages of a tribe he’d visited it was known that a certain tribe member was stealing the belongings of others. Everyone knew who this thief was yet no one said a thing. No threat, no punishment. Not even the lightest of chidings. Just zero attention. Eventually, all stealing ceased and all items were returned just as mysteriously as they’d disappeared.

As the natives here showed, attention is energy is sustenance of that which is manifest. What we focus on endures; what we acknowledge and release fades.

There is another tribe I’ve read of which offers a fresh perspective on how to deal with child misbehavior. When such occurs, a number of other family and community members form a circle and put the offending child in the center. The adults then take turns telling the child what makes him or her good, reminds him or her of times when he or she had done well.

How about that? No one flying off the handle. No on placing blame or laying on the guilt. No one giving or receiving threats or abuse. Just immediate acceptance and healing.

Give Them What They Need

Another solution is to give a child what it is that the child needs. Absolutely, this is as open-ended as anything. But I’ll use an example to give you an idea of where I’m going with this.

A close friend of mine has a son (now an adult) who is extremely troubled. He’d spent the better part of his life this way. Recently he was imprisoned for the first time. And, yes, while prison is generally prison, he’s also able to cope with his life for the first time ever. He has a routine; he has food, clothes, and shelter; he’s finally been diagnosed and is being treated for a mental disorder; he’s receiving an education appropriate for his high level of intelligence and for which he is excelling at. Whether his life will ever be roses and sunshine is still up for debate. But it certainly appears that sprouts are shooting up where before there’d only been a desert hardpan.

Sometimes the most straightforward (yet not so obvious) answer to healing imbalanced humans is just giving them what they need, whatever that may be for any given person.

The other day the concept of child punishment came up at the dinner table. My Mom said something to the effect that when I or my siblings were put in the corner we were supposed to think about what we’d done wrong.

I said: “Mom, I never once thought about what I’d done wrong. Ever. I was either too busy making faces at someone in a different corner or being mentally miserable because it was so boring.”

And that's the thing: I think back on all the times as a kid that I was put in the corner or grounded or belted or whatever—and never once—not one time—did I ever think about what I’d done wrong. Maybe I cried, maybe I bitched and moaned, maybe I repressed some more emotional garbage. But never once did I think about what I’d done.

And do you know what? I would do the same thing time and again. If my brother was teasing me and I shrieked at him and called him a penis (as I was wont to doing), I’d be punished for it. And by next week, perhaps, he’d tease me and I shriek at him that he was a penis again. And I would be punished. (...guess my parents don't know the truth when they hear it...)

The same goes of all the other thousands of crimes I’d committed and punishments I’d received as a child. The same goes for the trillions upon trillions of other crimes and punishments of the world’s children (and law-breaking adults).

Why? Because threats and abuse and punishment don’t work.

The only time these things “do work” is when their victims get the shit traumatized out of them and come to fear the potential wrath to befall them should they ever repeat their actions again.

If you want to change what a person does, then you must give them what they need. You must either truly understand why they want what they want and give them adequate reason and personal space to change their mind, or you must change yourself (dropping the inclination toward punishment) and teach the way by walking your talk.

Last Words

You may do well to think about these things, especially if you’re a parent. What you see in your child is nearly always a reflection of something in you. To threaten or break a mirror just because you don’t like what you see, well, a broken mirror simply exponentiates the reflection that was already there and traumatizes the "mirror."

Keep in mind the echo of Card’s advice: To his or her children, a good parent doesn’t have to make stupid threats... or ground them for a month or tell them how horrible they are or belt them or slap them or send them to bed without dinner. All such drama creates trauma, and trauma makes for more karmically repetitive drama.

A good parent seeks to maintain their children’s love and trust, not to physically, mentally, and emotionally traumatize the children and push them away using self-righteous threats and abuses. A good parent seeks out and heals the inconsistencies within themselves before lashing out at the inconsistencies—or seeming inconsistencies—within their children. A good parent uses their children as mirrors to their own self, rather than targets of blame or as punching bags. A good parent honors their children as unique individuals, rather than treating them as robots designed to validate their every belief and behavior.

A good parent treats their children how they would like to be treated.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

“I’ve Married My Mother!” – A Discourse On Opposites and Attraction

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



Funny, isn’t it? How so many people say: "I’ve married my mother!" or "I’ve married my father!"

Of all the fish in the sea, isn’t it peculiar that so many folks, if not early on in their relationships then certainly more so with the passage of time, come to the realization that they’ve “married” one of their parents?

The answer is quite simple: No.

It is not peculiar, not in the least, at least once we know the difference between what we’re superficially looking for and what we’re truly looking for in a relationship and why.

What Am I Looking For?

There is only one “thing” in the whole of this dualistic existence that any of us ever truly want. We usually don’t know consciously that this is what we want and may often believe we have it to a greater or lesser extent… But we don’t—perhaps ever.

Nonetheless, because we’re subconsciously aware that we’re missing the realization of this “thing,” we go on seeking to obtain it via the only methods we know—these methods being fully external and taught to us by our parents… Who, it just so happens, were seeking to realize the same “thing” in a way taught by their parents, though they themselves were unsuccessful.

And thus, in our unwitting search, we’ve all so far come up short.

What is this “thing” I speak of?

Unconditional Love.

The “Problem” of Duality

The central “problem” of duality for those seeking Unconditional Love is that Unconditional Love is of wholeness, of completion of self. This means that Unconditional Love cannot actually be found within our divided, duality-based experience.

We don’t recognize this consciously, however, and so we go on searching, searching, searching, using whatever means seem appropriate to us.

Often, this means that whatever qualities we see in ourselves, we unconsciously seek to match their opposites in the external world.

This means that marriage usually becomes (…Spoiler Alert!!!...) not a true love relationship but an affair unwittingly designed by two duality-minded individuals to offer each other the “2nd half” of themselves.

The Elusive “2nd Half”

In needing to realize wholeness yet not understanding the greater need to go within to do this, no matter how many times we may marry our 2nd half will remain elusive.

Consider the examples below, where the male and female play equal and opposite roles. Note that the roles presented for each gender can be reversed.
  • Male is rageful; female is submissive.
  • Male is an alcoholic; female is dry.
  • Male is intelligent; female is foolish.
  • Male is sociable; female is shy.
  • Male is big-mouthed; female is timid.
  • Male is athletic; female is lazy.
  • Male is prosperous; female is poor.
The list goes on, with every trait having a polar opposite.

Experientially, this typically forms the cornerstone of marriages:

Two people unconsciously see in each other their “2nd half.” They unconsciously fall in “love” with an idea of completion. And they unconsciously go off and attempt to live a life together under the false pretense that their marriage has been consecrated by heaven and will last forever.

Yikes! That’s a lot of unconsciousness!

Is it any wonder why the divorce rate has skyrocketed? It is any wonder why people get married and divorced 2, 3, and 7 times and are still restless as ever?

Parental Influence

Parents give their children the foundation of what they know (beliefs, fears, etc.), whatever that may be, these teachings often being passed on wordlessly, vibrationally. Children adapt these teachings each in their own unique way and then express them in some form during every interaction they have with others.

In example, suppose our father is sociable man who’d married the shy woman who is our mother. They’d done what seemed appropriate to them based on what their parents had done and their parent’s parents and so on. (Though of course no one had ever specifically told them they’d married in order to realize a 2nd half.)

And so, without making the very conscious, deliberate effort toward true self-understanding which most of us have never done, we only have what our parents have given us to work with (for good, bad, better, worse, or indifference) and so have no choice but to live within these limits (not that we'd ever label them this way).

In a “parallel” sense, this means that if we’re female we would carry some of the traits which Mother does. As we grow and get into relationships, we will then, as Mother did, seek a 2nd half who compliments our own half. If Mother is shy, we would be shy, and we’d therefore seek a more sociable male as a partner. We’d thus “marry” our father.

In a “perpendicular” sense, Mother may be shy yet we are quite sociable. And here now during this reading, as a female, we think, I’m not shy like my mother. Indeed, I’m the proverbial social butterfly. We must take care in such thought, for it may be ego blinding us, and we may still end up in a relationship for unconscious reasons.

It could be asked at this point, Where does my sociability come from? Is it authentic or is it taught? Because if it’s authentic, then we will know it at the core of our being; we will be unshakable, fearless in this regard. If it’s merely been learned (as taught in unawareness by Father) or created as a defense mechanism of sorts (like, I refuse to be shy like Mother), well, guess what?

We’re still dancing with duality. We’re still going to be unwittingly searching either for a 2nd half who will provide the shyness or for a sociable one who will support the perceived “rightness” of our fears and false beliefs we’ve created toward our mother.

Similar can be said of males.

As a side note, but certainly not of any less importance, we need also to be aware of our motives when a relationship would result in our mate being the equal or opposite of both our parents.

For instance, if both parents are shy, we may find ourselves attracted to other shy people. This could be indicative of both a need to prove our shy ways “right” as well as a means of seeking parental approval. If our parents are shy yet we seek a sociable mate, as before, this could indicate some kind of unconscious rejection rather than true desire.

The Good News: You Need Not “Marry” Your Mother or Father! …But You’ve Gotta Do the Work!

As I’ve alluded to above, “marrying” one’s mother or father is not a necessity. We’ve only done it for the last few thousand years or so because we’re silly like that.

Through this writing, I’ve frequently used the terms unconscious and unwitting—terms describing a state of unawareness.

I know it’s going to be difficult for some (perhaps many) who read this to accept that they are living their lives in the unaware manner I’ve suggested. No less, the truth is the truth, and we can’t really grasp this truth until life throws us a major curveball—read: (commonly) a deeply traumatic experience which forces us to face our lack of integrity, our lack of wholeness and self-awareness—or we willing begin doing the deep self-inquiry required to make our unconscious conscious and thus develop a greater self-awareness while releasing our as yet unrecognized limitations.

If we’re lazy and our significant other is quite active, is there any better argument? On some level, do we not wish to be more active ourselves? Are we not looking for completion through them? Sure. Isn’t it evident now that perhaps our 2nd half has an interest in us because s/he would like to learn to take it easy once in a while? Sure.

Because laziness and over-activity alike are fear-based (the former being of apathy and/or despair and the latter of avoidance of internal discomfort). Neither is the deeper truth of who we are or what we want.

By all means, we may have a personality preferring peaceful homeyness or one instead leaning toward frequent rock concerts and mountain climbs. There is nothing inherently wrong with either. But if our relationship is one of laziness and go-go-go as an unconscious cooperative attempt at “completion,” then we are a testament to these very words.

Be aware that none of this is meant to suggest that this 2nd half business is a problem, as such. It’s only a “problem” in the sense that it’s an existential lesson. Remember, lessons are not just found in math text books—they are the very reason we are here in human form on earth!

And so we must do the internal work concerning relationships, which carry some of the greatest lessons.

If we aren’t in a relationship, we can work out what traits we would look for in a significant other and see how they apply to us and our parents. If we are in a relationship, then we should be readily able to compare traits between our significant other and our parents and self-inquire as to why we’ve made the choice we’ve made.

If we are currently in a relationship and it strikes us that, My girlfriend/wife is my mother! then we’ve surely become cognizant that we’re caught up in the consequences of unconscious action. We now have enough awareness to begin the inner work necessary to get to release our misalignment.

And it is time to do the work when we realize these things because not only do life lessons come up when Life deems it’s time for us to “face the music,” but once we see we cannot unsee, which means that anything we do to follow up that is not of healing is avoidance. Conscious avoidance creates inner friction (usually more than unconscious avoidance) which causes both external troubles and internal dis-ease.

A Happy Ending

Let’s pretend we see the truth and do the work in a timely, healthy manner.

What do you suppose the outcome would be of breaking down the internal wholeness-denying barrier of I-am-the-1st-half-and-need-a-2nd-half-for-completion?

The Unconditional Love we’ve unknowingly been seeking through unconscious means can be realized, can be experienced consciously. But the implication of Unconditional Love is self-completion. Such experience is for each of us and each of us alone. It is not an experience anyone else can give to us. For it arises from the space where duality has no say. It arises within.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Butterfly and the Fly in the Sink

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



The Butterfly

by Nikos Kazantzakis
I remember one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the back of a tree just as a butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited awhile, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient. I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life. The case opened; the butterfly started slowly crawling out, and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath, in vain.

It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced the butterfly to appear all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand.

That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the external rhythm.

Personal Thought

I’d read the above piece some time ago. My thought was that it was a very good lesson and one that I would take with me for the rest of my life. It’s something I’ll never do, I had thought to myself…

The Fly in the Sink

I was standing at the bathroom sink one night when I noticed a very small and fragile fly on the side of the sink. It appeared to be stuck in a small water droplet. I thought: He’s in danger. I must get him out before he dies.

I ripped off a square of toilet paper and gently touched the edge of it to the side of the water droplet. The water absorbed immediately, and the fly flew off the side of the sink and began hopping around on my hand. Proud that I had done a good deed, I lowered my hand to the countertop. The fly hopped off only to land in another water droplet.

Dang, I thought, and placed the edge of the toilet paper against this new droplet. But although the water had been absorbed, things were different this time. The fly’s body and wings had been crippled. It was still alive, but its movements were minimal; a struggle.

I momentarily debated what to do about the fly. On one hand, I avoid deliberately taking the life of any creature, no matter how small or large. I’ve come to have a deep respect for the wonder, intelligence, and purpose that other creatures carry. On the other hand, I’d just interfered with the life of another being; one that I’d “saved” only to inadvertently cripple. Uncertain of what to do, I took a shower as I’d initially intended. When I finished, the fly was still writhing around in same small area of counter space. It was still alive when I’d left the bathroom.

Arrogance, Ignorance, and Interference

It had never occurred to me that perhaps the fly was fine just the way I’d originally found it. Maybe within an hour or two the original water droplet would have dried and the fly would have remained among the living. I don’t know. In my almighty human arrogance, my immediate assumption was that the fly would die otherwise; that it was already in danger when I’d first seen it.

But perhaps the fly was bathing or drinking—perhaps even basking in a water droplet as humans do in the ocean. Perhaps the fly was only in danger because I interfered; because in my ignorant compassion I crafted a fairytale drama about the situation of another life—a life that I knew little if anything about and a drama story that led me to destroy rather than create.

Are You Serious!?

Some may think my story is a bit on the humorously absurd side of things. “John, it’s a fly for God’s sake!”

Such individuals are more right than they know. Quite literally, it is for God’s sake: it is life.

This life is something that many of us have great difficulty comprehending. Our culture teaches that any existence beyond our own is of minimal value (heck, sometimes ours included). We’ve learned such a deep-seated fear of death, a death that most of us haven’t the foggiest clue about, that we seek to destroy everything in our path that appears suggestive of death’s potential discomfort.

We step on the critters out on the sidewalk. We spray deadly chemicals all over the insects on the plants in our garden. We smash harmless bugs on the walls and floors of our houses. We clap winged insects between our hands. And this is only our dealings with the smallest, most helpless of creatures.

Occasionally when people kill insects which pose absolutely no threat to them I’ll ask something like: “How would you feel if a foot came down from the sky and stepped on you?”

“Smashing,” they tell me. No they don’t. I just made that up for a bit of comic relief. But they do look at me like I’m an idiot, maybe going so far as to actually say just that.

Chalk it up to human arrogance, I suppose. Such behavior doesn’t make sense to me anymore, but I guess if killing the defenseless critters of the world is what some must yet do, then so be it. I don’t agree with it, but I can respect it because I wore those shoes once, too. I’m as guilty as the next guy.

But now I know better. And through my clearer perception I’ve come to realize something: I’ve ended the lives of countless other beings for their committing no greater atrocity than trying to survive peacefully…and inadvertently provoking the fear of death within my own being that I was too afraid to face directly.

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Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 7/29/12 to former personal blog “Without a Story.”

Monday, September 7, 2015

What Does Your Occupation Say About You?

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



Life Lessons: Hidden In Plain Sight

That job you’ve been doing for the last 30, 40, 50 years is a major part of your life purpose, you say?

Well… Probably not.

I mean, yeah, it kind of is because you’ve so far made it a central focus of your time on this planet. But that’s not really where I’m going with this.

I’m leaning not towards things such as why it seems you are here, what work runs in your family, or what has fallen into your lap, but: For what purpose did your soul incarnate here?

Because I can tell you as I look around that most people are not so much fulfilling a life purpose through their occupations as they are actually unwittingly responding to a subconscious drive. They’re spending 8+ hours per day, 5+ days per week staring with blind infatuation at their life’s most gigantic signpost—the very signpost that would reveal to them their greatest internal life obstacle.

The very signpost which, if acknowledged and its associated internal imbalances resolved, would align them with their deeper meaning for being here.

Purpose Is an Extension of Internal Fulfillment, a Consequence of Some Degree of Soul Realization. It Is Thus Internally Realized, Not Externally Given.

Let’s Consider:

Who of us does for a living what our parents do themselves and/or want us to do? Who of us are doing for a living what happened to fall into our lap? Who of us are working for a boss who shares traits with either/both of our parents (overbearing, lazy, greedy, etc.)?

Who of us has taken up a certain place in the workforce seeking to fill our lives with a certain quality—for instance, we’ve joined the military because we’d believed we needed to prove to others, “I’m brave,” or “I’m honor-worthy”?

Even if we totally dig our work, these questions must be asked. Because the simple fact is that most of us are doing for the sake of doing without ever recognizing the higher purpose for which we’ve become involved in that doing.

Although this topic covers nearly every occupation, let’s use someone having a family lineage of firefighting as a for instance.

Your grandfather was a firefighter. He had four children, all of whom were also firefighters. Of course, one of these children is one of you parents. Growing up within this firefighter-identified setting and all of its beliefs and fears and such, you’re come to think it a great way to make a living—brings in money, saves lives, makes one courageous, etc.

As a child you’d played with firetrucks and always dressed up as a fireman on Halloween. Once you’d reached high school age, you volunteered at the local fire station. Once out of school, you’d promptly attained all the required training and became a full-time firefighter. All without a second thought.

But what if you would have had a second thought? Before all this firehouse work, what if you’d have self-inquired as to whether such work is truly what you want or if there could be something deeper within it?

Like you want it not because you truly want it but because it’s what others want and expect of you. Or because it practically fell into your lap and you don't like the discomfort of trying new things. Or because it carries a thread of guidance to your greatest internal life obstacle—the obstacle you don’t recognize consciously but your soul knows and reveals to you subconsciously?

Occupation as a revealer of your greatest life obstacle. Yes. In choosing to be a firefighter (and because the universe loves puns), you might ask yourself questions such as…
  • What am I truly burning to be, to do?
  • What is smoldering within me?
  • Who’s life am I really seeking to save?

Intense stuff, I know. But critical nonetheless. After all, what purpose would we have for being here as individuals if we’re merely meant to live out the desires of our parents and families, of our societies, religions, and governments?

Rarely if ever does any kind of satisfactory life purpose come so easily as family lineage or by waiting for the “right time” and “right place.” Satisfactory life purpose doesn’t come automatically by doing everything we’re told to do by government, religion, et al. (though most of us fail to see that we are indeed “doing everything we’re told.”)

No. True fulfillment and purpose come through understanding who and what we truly are and why we are here. It comes through understanding the deeper meanings of each aspect of our lives and then integrating what we learn into our experience of life.

So you see, wanting to become a firefighter is (likely) nothing but an outwardly manifested circumstance created by you unconsciously as a means of overtly directing you to the fact that internally you are, say:

Burning to be free of familial “we are firefighters” identity constraints. The angry rejection you’d received from your parents as a child and your subsequent emotional repression when telling them you wanted to be a water salesman has been smoldering in you for ages. The life you are truly seeking to save from “burning up” is none other than—your own.

Life Shatters. Then Transcendence.

To those who are unaware of the cosmic irony of life, this may all sound so silly, so foolish. But this is how we humans feel about most things which are potentially heavy on both mind and emotions once revealed to us in even the most minor of light.

[Indeed, it’s probably why we’ve created jokes the way we have—because we sense or know there’s a truth untold yet fear saying it plainly; we know we can express that truth in the guise of humor and receive approval rather than condemnation. Indeed, it’s the very fact that a joke is truthful that makes it so funny.]

So, sure, when coming across something so direct as the message here, that the occupation one has been working at for a lifetime has been nothing more (or less) than a guidepost to their greatest life/internal/personality obstacle, well, it can be life shattering.

Yet, this same situation is meant to be a source of empowerment.

Nothing can even begin to change until we recognize there’s some kind of misalignment. How could it if we don’t even consciously know something is there to be healed? But now we know. And like G.I. Joe said of knowing, it’s half the battle.

Once the acknowledgement is made we can then do the internal work to figure out whatever is needed about why we’ve been doing our chosen external work. Why have I chosen this occupation? If I’ve been drawn to this line of work because Life has a lesson for me in it, what is that lesson? What negative traits do my family members share with the people I work with, the traits that drive me mad? What are the similarities between my internal nature and my external work?

It’s with this internal effort that transcendence can come through. The stages of life are really not much different than passing from 2nd to 3rd grade: we learn the appropriate lessons and we more on to bigger and better things…

Or we don’t learn the lessons, and we don’t move on. We repeat 2nd grade again and again and again. (Ever notice how your 1st boss treated you like a fool? Just like your 2nd and 3rd bosses? Just like your father? Do you see who the common denominator is?)

Plus, when we work a job in blindness as to its deeper personal meaning, we’re always unconsciously looking for that job to fill some void within us. And from time to time maybe it does sort of seem to do the trick. Inevitably, however, that fullness will always fade.

When we clear out life issues, the fullness is realized internally and it stays. Granted, afterward there will arise more life obstacles, but with any true internal shift there comes a corresponding perceptual and/or external shift; meaning, we realize our experience is not what we’d thought and we can be more at peace with it and/or we change occupations altogether because the subconscious programming which had been fueling our perception that we could fill a void by way of our occupation has gone kaput.

What Does Your Occupation Say About You?

Let’s now take a closer look at some occupations. Let’s see what your occupation may be saying about you. Or asking.

Is what you’re doing really, truly you? Is it really, truly you’re soul’s desire? Or—no matter how much you may claim to like what you do—have you unconsciously chosen your occupational path as a means of creating a doorway to one of your life’s greatest lessons?

Below I have constructed a varied list of occupations and just one of many potential signposts each of them may be presenting. Keeping in mind that the external is a mirror of the internal, your task (should you choose to accept it) is to use these examples as direction for self-inquiry of your own occupation.

Be it known that I am in no way attempting to suggest that any of these or other occupations are wrong or unimportant or any such thing. Clearly, as life is unfolding in this present moment, all of these things are right and necessary for one reason or another. It’s just that, were we to truly look within, we may very well find a striking correlation between our work and some of the most repressed feelings we carry…

  • Repairman: What really are you hoping to fix?
  • Psychologist: Who’s sanity really needs to be restored?
  • Police Officer: Who really feels arrested, imprisoned?
  • Baker: What is really baking?
  • Doctor: Who really seeks to be healed?
  • Accountant: Who’s worth really needs to be balanced?
  • Grave Digger: Who is really feeling dead?
  • Mathematician: What really needs to be solved?
  • Disc Jockey: What really yearns to be heard?
  • Soldier: Where is the battleground that really clamors for ceasefire?
  • Maid: What really is so unclean?
  • Teacher: Who really doesn’t know?
  • Video Game Programmer: Who really feels played?
  • Demolitions Expert: What are you really trying to destroy?
  • Equestrian: Where do things really feel "un-stable"? […Funny, sure. But could it also be true?...]

Make the Conscious Choice

More often than not, we choose occupations not with free will, as we’d like to believe, but due to the influence of two things:
  1. Subconscious needs,
  2. The external influence of family and society and the like.
Of the first item, I guess the question is: “Why Not?” If life is a continual learning process, why wouldn’t our occupations be the external home to some of the greatest lessons available to us?

Of the second: We must always remember that we are individuals, each on our own journey. The fact of the matter is that even if our parents are both firefighters and we have 16 brothers and sisters who are all firefighters doesn’t mean that we, too, are supposed to be a firefighter. Heck, they’re probably all playing the same unconscious game we are.

And, again, this is not to knock any given occupation. Each one is serving its purpose, whatever that may be, for better or for worse. And while some folks may leave their jobs and take a wholly new path after releasing their occupation-related internally suppressed garbage, some may find themselves continuing on exactly as they had been, only because the junk isn’t there they’ll be able to do their job so much better.

So why not chew on this idea for a little bit? Do some occupational self-inquiry.

Notice that your attention has been riveted so closely to the work you do that you’ve not been able to see the bigger picture—that your occupation is a life lesson hidden in plain sight.

Allow yourself to step back and refocus. Be like a firefighter. Pull back far enough to see that the blaze that’s forever threatening to burn you from the inside out can be put out completely with the fire extinguisher that is already and has always been within you.

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

[Section added 12/5/2015.]

Since initially writing this piece, it’s occurred to me that aside from our use of any current or past occupation as an internal guidepost, there are other similar and perhaps equally powerful ways to discern the deeper truth of ourselves.

Childhood Aspirations
At one time or another probably everyone has been asked: What do you want to be when you grow up? And although we might have said a farmer or a doctor or an astronaut, it’s far from a given that we do indeed become what we’d desired to be as a child. Especially the astronaut types—like me.

No matter, the key is that we’d had that draw to begin with. For some kids, I would say, their draw is authentic. However, since foundational trauma and programming is established within a child in its earliest years, I would speculate that the draw for the majority is, unbeknownst to them, either or both of two things. Let’s use the instance of, Dad’s a doctor, so I want to be a doctor.
  1. Parental approval.
  2. Naturally, as a naive and uninformed human, the child doesn’t realize that Dad’s over-working, meticulously medical nature is not healthy but is instead a plea to his patients and the medical community for approval. The child thus comes to believe that: Dad only approves of those you work up to his standards. If I want his approval, I must become like him.
  3. Internal Resonance.
    Although occurring at a level below conscious comprehension, the child recognizes: Doctor Dad is very important and helps people. But because he is never around, I feel unimportant and helpless. Maybe I can get these feelings back if I become a doctor myself.
Toys
Another good place to look for inner-self-related imbalances is as reflected in the toys we’d played with as children. To explain this one, I’ll use myself as an example.

As a child I loved to play with Legos. While I don’t regret this for a moment, it’s now evident that my resonance with them goes deeper than I ever could have imagined.

One item of note is that Legos are about putting things together, about building things. Not much different from my time later in life working as a mechanical engineering technologist building machinery. Why's this important? Because I’d already believed, even as a child, that “things are broken and it’s my responsibility to put them back together.”

Also of Legos, the two main themes to hold my interest were those of Space Exploration and City Fire Fighters. While I’m not exactly sure the meaning of the space theme (I suspect it’s more of a soul yearning for a return to Infinity than about a specific life lesson), it seems far more than mere “coincidence” to me that I, the kid who’d spent his whole life struggling with anger—with an inner burning—would have such an interest in the Fire Fighter collection.

Why not take a look back at your own childhood. Is there someone you'd held a preference for dressing up as or certain toys you'd been particularly fond of? See what you come up with. I'm sure you'll surprise yourself.

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Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 9/20/14 to former personal blog “Without a Story.”