Sunday, July 26, 2015

Trying on a Different Face

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

I would like you to try something.

It may seem preposterous, egregious, absurd, ludicrous, detestable, and downright revolting. Indeed, when the time comes to do it, the thought may make your insides churn.

But I would like you to try it anyway. See what happens.

Here’s what I’d like you to do…

Trying on a Different Face

When you’re having a rough time...

I want you to smile.

While you're having a terrible day at work, when someone cuts you off on the highway, when you’re awakening process is bringing emotions up that make you feel like the most disconnected, helpless, hopeless, worthless being in all of creation…

Instead of drinking a beer, going shopping, hiding in your smartphone, or bitching in attempt to ease your suffering…

I want you to smile.

Great idea, right? ;-) I can hear the groaning already.

Runners Take Heed

Let me immediately make it clear that I’m not here telling you to run from what hurts by sugar-coating your suffering with a smile rather than some other form of self-medication. Of whatever inner turmoil is causing discord in the present moment, you have to face it head on, now or later—no questions asked.

I have no interest in telling you to continue holding up the everything-is-just-fuckin’-dandy facade.

You know what I mean… When your car is falling apart, your kid is on drugs, and your wife has been distant but you fear standing up and resolving things in a healthy, empowered fashion, and then, as you walk toward your house after a typically stressful day at the office, your neighbor looks at you and says: “Hey, Steve! How are ya?” And you say, “Can’t complain!” with a half-baked smile on your face.

You know you’re kidding yourself. You know damn well. And if your neighbor’s own facade hasn’t made her too blind, deaf, and dumb to reality, she’ll also know you’re full of shit. Not that she’ll say as much of course, for running and lying about our true feelings are socially acceptable.

What I’m talking about when I tell you to smile when the garbage comes up is completely different.

It’s About Free Will

When painful emotions come up (along with their associated mental negativity and physical discomfort), we must realize that the majority of the time they arise is not because we truly need them in the experience we’re having. Rather, it is because there’s some program in our subconscious mind that perceives the experience to be akin to a different experience we’d had in childhood when we’d learned “how I am supposed to behave in this situation.”

In example, if someone cuts you off and you get angry and flick them off, chances are exceedingly high that you do not truly want to do this—you simply believe it to be so. What you really want is peace, but you’ve been programmed by family, society, religion, etc. to believe that peace is found though those painful things like anger-fueled revenge. In this and all such instances, you are merely reacting unconsciously due to a subconscious trigger.

Operating in avoidance of triggers is how probably 97% of us spend 99% of our lives. No matter how things may appear physically, the fact is that we’re running the same internal programming over and over again—the same false beliefs, the same suppressive emotional reactions, the same self-defeating fears.

So let’s say you become aware of the mechanics of such behavior and decide: I’m tired of being a robot to my subconscious and to others. I intend to change, to be real. There are 3 things that are going to have to happen:
  1. You are going to have to take a long hard look at your beliefs and realize their nonsense.
  2. You will have to start feeling your emotions. To non-judgmentally be with them when they arise, no matter how uncomfortable.
  3. You will have to make different life choices.
To the first and second points, life is what it is and we are what we are. To ever believe that we shouldn’t cry in sadness that our dog died or be angry that the government is trying to rip all our freedoms away or embarrassed that we were born with sex organs is so stupid.

And then God said: And to you, dear humans, I give “man’s best friend,” oppressors who will drive you to change when you stagnate, and a penis and a vagina to express yourselves co-creatively in the most magnificent-feeling of ways…But for heaven’s sake, don’t fall to the belief that these things are okay, and don’t feel what you feel. Just play dead. I know I’m God, but I’m also an asshole. And I’m going to be mighty pissed off if you willfully and openly experience the fullness in which I have created you.

Folks! It’s utter insanity! But it’s what we do.

So we have to both take out the mental trash and learn to feel what we've heretofore suppressed. We have to learn to accept ourselves for the totality of our experience and this means acknowledging reality and feeling both our brightest and darkest parts.

Thirdly, we have to make different life choices. We have to learn to express our free will.

As we process out our subconscious (non-free will) programming, we’re going to find that there’s now space for something new. While it is very true that we can fill this space with more garbage, let’s suppose we don’t. Instead, we allow it to be.

It then becomes as if, even though life seems to be playing at the same speed, we’ve now become aware that there is a space between what is happening and how we answer to it. We now no longer react instantaneously when someone cuts us off. We see there is a gap, a choice point, in which we see there exists an option: Do I get angry, or do I choose peace? And because (reactive) anger is merely something we’ve found through introspection to be a father-learned trait, we make the free will decision to choose peace, to choose non-reaction, non-attachment. (This is not to say anger is useless and has no purpose. But that the way we’d been expressing it, if at all, has been wholly dysfunctional.)

So imagine this now. You’re driving down the highway, someone cuts you off, and instead of “You #$?%^& @#%$^* ?>**(&^^!” you smile instead. Indeed, you even breathe with it for good measure.

Actually, you know... Why not try it right now...


Suddenly things feel at least a little bit more okay, no? Imagine if you could also feel this non-explosive okay-ness as someone is cutting you off...

Just beware, my friend… Because if you make free will choices too frequently you might notice that life is actually okay…

Smiling in Action

The first time I’d thought of trying this was while I was in the midst of a pitch black state of despair. The kind of despair that has no apparent cause but just comes up in the light of awakening and calls for release.

To my ego (“who I am,” of course, right?) the idea was utterly asinine.

Higher Guidance: Smile.

Ego: C’mon, ya bonehead! Get a grip. You feel like the most disconnected, helpless, hopeless, worthless being in all of creation. This is you. This is how you’ve been feeling your whole life. It’s all you know. It’s your essence. You will know and be nothing without it.

Or something like that. You know, just the ego trying to reassure and look out for the higher good…

Well… I smiled. I smiled. In a state of profound despair, while lying on my side in bed, I put the biggest (and awkward-feeling) smile on my face that I could muster up and kept it there for 10 seconds or so.

And then something unexpected happened… My abdomen muscles began tensing and releasing very rapidly. Said another way, suppressed energy that had been stored in my body for years unknown began moving, began shifting and releasing.

I don’t recall how I’d felt after this first incident. Yet as these waves of despair strike me from time to time, I’ve repeatedly found smiling a most useful tool of release. Time and again it’s worked within seconds.

And it's so mind-bogglingly simple!

This is not to say that the despair of my nearly 31 years of life has been completely erased with naught but a smile. (Not to say it couldn’t work that way for some lucky fellow.) It’s a long process and I’ve an incredible weight to let go of. However, I do usually find that with whatever is coming up in the moments before I smile, even if my body doesn’t tense or shake I feel somewhat better afterward, whether that be for an hour or a week.

Accelerated Healing, Not Suppression

A few moments ago, I made the point that what I’m suggesting here is not about running from the hurt. If we’ve got the hurt, then we must acknowledge it fully as our own and deal with it consciously; that the hurt isn’t going anywhere until we do.

And so to reiterate: With this smiling practice, it’s not to be viewed as saying: All I have to do is pretty up this prison cell with rainbow, heart, and unicorn stickers and it will be like the cell doesn’t exist. Because in this case the hurt is known and any defensive action reinforces the facade and makes matters worse.

But with acknowledgement and by subsequently smiling with the arising of old, physically-stored emotional baggage, it’s as if the feel-it-to-heal-it release process is actually accelerated. The reason for this, it seems to me, is that with smiling comes a profound shift in physiological processes.

Remember, as above, so below. If one level changes, all levels must change accordingly.

While running the hurtful programming, the body is releasing a continuous stream of toxic stress hormones. Physically these hormones are part of what keep the energetic programming locked into our muscles and joints and such and cause disease, mentally they are what keep us hooked into negative thinking, and emotionally they are what keep us feeling any and every shade of lousy.

Yet if we can not only focus our accepting attention on this hurt but basically smile lovingly at it, we suddenly shift our body’s physiology. We quickly and effectively fracture or even collapse altogether the biochemical structure supporting our dis-ease and replace it with a life-affirming one. If the body changes in this way in full consciousness, if the old structure falls, the mental and emotional aspects must shift accordingly.

Now It's Your Turn

So, the next time you're feeling like junk, why not try on a different face? Why not smile? See what happens.

Maybe you won’t notice anything, maybe something will shift “miraculously.” Whatever the case, the result is going to be very personal. We all have our own path.

No matter, we're all equipped to smile. And smiling authentically goes a long way toward healing.

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