Friday, June 24, 2016

The Paradox of Knowing

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

We want to know.

So we create myriad definitions.

Of people, of places, of things. Of every and all.

The only constant in life is change.

Our definitions are thus rendered relative and meaningless.

Yet rarely ever do we let go of them.

We hold on to them long beyond their expiration date,
long beyond the moment in which we’d created them,
the moment in which, maybe,
their seeming “truth” had actually applied.

Our whole lives therefore become shrouded in cognitive dissonance,
in misperception and ignorance.

In our intense drive to know we create definitions…

The very definitions that inhibit us from the very thing we’d set out to attain:


Hence, why the path of the wise is the path of unlearning.

Because the wise know.

Or do they?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Pain and Suffering: What Is and What Is Not

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

The Common Understanding

What is pain? What is suffering?

Generally, we think of pain and suffering as the same thing. Or, maybe with a small variation, that pain is more so what an original instance of hurt results in—ex: the physical hurt of a broken leg—while suffering is the sustained hurt that may come after—ex: physical hurt of a mending leg or the inability to be active during the healing process.

By definition, the dictionary describes each word using the other, and the thesaurus shows them as synonyms.

For the average person this understanding may be sufficient.

But in the world of self-help and spiritual growth, it becomes useful to draw a clearly defined line between the answers to, “What is pain?” and, “What is suffering?”

Drawing a Line

As the saying goes: We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience.

We are already spiritual. It is our inherent nature. It’s just that we cannot readily see this because physical life as we know it requires us to experience with veiled awareness.

The holder of this veil is ego.

The ego is important because it offers each of us, as spiritual beings who’re never truly disconnected from the One or each “other,” a sense of self, a unique personality. Where things get rough is when the ego goes untamed and sees itself, and thus the person sees his- or herself, as separate from everything.

The ego does this by creating all sorts of definitions or stories—beliefs—about life, the universe, and everything and holds them all as “true.” But remember, What we believe we perceive. By the nature of belief and the Law of Non-Interference, Life will not force us to perceive what we do not believe. If we choose to believe something, our perception will always make it appear as such, no matter how ridiculous our rationalization, even when the Truth is right before us. It's called cognitive dissonance.

So it is our personal beliefs which keep the veil in place. We choose to believe a story that is not real and so reality cannot reveal itself to us. Said simply: Our beliefs prevent us from experiencing what is.

It’s at the seam between what is and what is not where we must draw our line between, “What is pain?” and, “What is suffering?”

Should we never make this distinction, we will never really be able to decipher reality from illusion, between what is a fact of now-moment existence and what is a fabrication of the mind which needs not exist and exponentiates the hurt in our lives. This distinction is a requirement should we choose to step beyond the veil of physical existence and truly expand our conscious awareness into the realm of Inner Self or Spirit where neither illusion nor suffering exist.

Pain and Suffering

What is pain? What is suffering?

Pain is physical, bio-electric, now-moment hurt.

The body, the vehicle of mind, emotion, and soul, is always existing in this physical now-moment. When a leg breaks, the nerves at the point of trauma send their bio-electric signal to the brain, and the brain makes conscious the physical sensation known as pain. If the physical hurt remains in the leg for the next few months until healed, although drawn out, the hurt is still the result of a continuous stream of always now-moment bio-electric signals and so it is still only pain which is experienced.

Suffering, on the other hand, is a function of the mind. Suffering can be the result of two things:
  1. One or more mental stories/beliefs about any physical discomfort we experience.
  2. One or more mental stories/beliefs about any emotions which arise.
To the first point:

When we break a leg in this now-moment we have a choice: Do we accept what is, or do we create a story about what is which causes us to perceive what is not?

We can realize: “My leg is broken. There is great physical pain and a lot of blood. I see the bone sticking through my flesh. I need to call 911.”

Or we can say: “Oh-God!-Oh-God!-Oh-God! I’m going to die! This is the—Ahhhhhhh!—the absolute worst pain I’ve ever been in; the absolute worst day of my life! That bastard shouldn’t have been speeding! He’s over there talking to the police officer like nothing happened, and I’ve got this bone sticking out of my leg! This hospital visit is going to suck! I'm going to be in rehab for months! There goes my basketball career! Right down the drain! This should never have happened to me! I've always known this was a dangerous intersection!”

How exhausting.

Although the former instance may well come with more emotion than suggested by the above statements, it is an example of now-focused acceptance—"this is what happened and this is what needs to be done." Conversely, the latter scenario is a perception-clouding illusory tale relating the now-moment experience to prior beliefs and using them to color the present and future. The latter is a mental drama having no bearing in objective physical reality, or what is.

The second manner in which suffering can arise is in the rejection of emotion.

Emotion, no matter what that emotion is, is a natural part of the human experience. The only reason any of it appears “wrong” is because suppression-oriented “authoritative” institutions have told us it is so and we have believed them.

If we want to say emotion is ever “wrong,” then it would only be in our rejection and suppression of it and the intensity of harmful, emotionally-fueled action that may result when finally vented.

Like when we feel frustrated. We can feel the frustration, breathe into it, and let it pass.

Or... We can feel frustrated about feeling frustrated, which we “shouldn’t” ever feel, and so hang on to it rather than allowing it to pass through us... And perhaps then allow that frustration to evolve into anger, at which time we feel angry that we've become angry... And possibly follow up that by going into rage. But we "should never" feel rage, so we feel outrage that we feel rage at all... And then maybe, just maybe, our rage takes us into an utter berserk-mode frenzy of extreme violence... All because we refused to fully feel our initial bout of frustration under the mistaken belief that it was "wrong."

Just as we can experience and express “positive” emotion in a healthy manner, so too, with proper education and self-acceptance, can we express “negative” emotion in a healthy manner. This is possible because emotion is neutral. It’s not until we create a prior belief-based mental story in regard to the emotion we feel about a now-moment experience that an emotion becomes “positive” or “negative.”

If our car accident and broken leg fill us with anger, we have the option to use that anger either to talk to our city officials about improving the conditions at that intersection which we’d always known was dangerous, or as fuel to drop into rage and hire a hitman to kill the speeder.

The Summing Up

Pain is a bio-electric, always-in-this-physical-what-is-now-moment experience fact of life.

Suffering, although seemingly a fact of life, is the product of a now-moment experience overlaid by a fantasy story, about an experience, which exists only within the mind.

Since spiritual growth requires that we break down the veil of ego, it is most useful to draw a line between, “What is pain?”—that is: “What is physically and emotionally now?”—and, “What is suffering?”—“What is the mind’s illusory tale about what is physically and emotionally now?”

This delineation offers us one more important foundational support to aid in our clearing out of all that creates suffering: that which is false, fear-centered, repressive, past-based, and future-projected—not of this now-moment.

It is then with continued healing that Spirit can truly reveal itself from within us, that reality can clarify within our perception, and suffering can gradually come to an end.


Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 10/8/13 to former personal blog “Without a Story.”

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The 5 Beliefs Process

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Today you have the opportunity to learn what I call, “The 5 Beliefs Process.”

This process is about uncovering and resolving false beliefs—some which you’ll probably be shocked to find you hold as true—and thus clearing out the internal mess that fuels resentment, blame, fear, and so on.

The 5 Beliefs Process – Part 1

You can begin this 2-part process by making a list. List 5 beliefs about ___________, where “___________” equals money, sex, life, work, success, family, rich people, poor people, republicans, democrats, homosexuals, pole dancers, gambling, Judaism, God, hair with split ends, basketball games, this author’s writing, or any other category of people, places, things, or situations.

To point out, you may well come up with more than 5 beliefs. Write them all down. You’re going to start with 5 because 5 is motivationally easy. Any more might be overwhelming. So start with 5 bite-sized pieces and go from there.

To help you become aware of your beliefs in greater depth, look beyond what comes up in your immediate awareness of your beliefs.

If you decide to work on the category of “Relationships,” for example, consider how you think, speak, and behave in personal relationships as well as how your parents interact between themselves and with others. Of parents, you’ve learned from them far more than you’ve yet realized. If the category is “Work,” ascertain if your boss is like either or both of your parents and if your work experience reminds you of your childhood. Look into each category in a similar fashion. Recognizing the role of things like religion, social groups, family history, and so on can also be a big help.

The 5 Beliefs Process – Part 2

For the second part, you’re going to run through multiple steps. For each belief in your list, answer and/or write out the following:
  1. "Is this true?"
    Answer "yes" or "no"? "Yes" is not appropriate unless the answer is known to you absolutely.

  2. "Why not?"
    Pick apart your false beliefs to the best of your awareness and ability.

  3. Willingly release pertinent beliefs, fears, resentment, blame, etc.

  4. Willingly accept and embrace.

  5. Ho’oponopono
    "I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you."

An Example

Suppose you have a list of beliefs for the category of "Relationships." One of your beliefs could be:

"It’s okay to lie in relationships in order to avoid disappointment."

Your process might look something like this:
True? No.

Lying is lying. It’s negative behavior. Lying always comes with regret and guilt (unless you’re a socio- or psychopath) and thus disappointment on both sides—immediately for the liar, later on (if not immediately) for the one lied to. Lying in relationships is taught, if unconsciously, as acceptable by many parents and society at large. It is neither true nor healthy.

I willingly release the belief that it’s okay to lie in relationships in order to avoid disappointment.

I willingly accept and embrace honesty in my relationships and accept the consequences (comfortable or not) for which the doors of my honesty open.

I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.
I usually verbalize the 3rd step ("I willingly release…") rather than writing it. The number of releases and what they relate to (fear, shame, false belief, et al.) can sometimes be many and diverse depending upon what comes up in the 2nd step.

But I do recommend writing out everything else. This is particularly true of step 2 in which writing—rather than mere thinking—is critical to getting the most from the process. The mind will too easily gloss over the juicy bits that you can’t afford to ignore, or slip past unwittingly. If you’re going to expend all the time and energy to do the process, why not do it right?

Writing has a way of healing because it’s the physicalization of what’s been stuffed inside. Writing is self-permission to express physically what would’ve been better off expressed and let go of years and years ago but wasn't.

A Caution and an Example

Before looking at more examples (a few of mine), I want to offer a caution.

This process is NOT designed to make anyone feel good. You will probably feel “good” (whatever that means) after processing and releasing a heap of inner garbage, but what arises during the process could be entirely different.

When you make your initial list, it’s very important that you write down whatever comes to mind—without judgment. If you do judge something, then you definitely need to write it down. That judgment is a rarely cracked-open doorway to your subconscious. Be sure to open the door—no matter how unexpected or seeming absurd.

Take note that you may not always recognize the thoughts as beliefs and so choose to ignore them. Oh, it's just a stray thought. No. Once again, it's a door. Write it down. What comes up comes up specifically because it's a belief. You've posed the question to your subconscious, and your subconscious is replying.

In example, when I was working on the category of “Women,” the following belief came up:

“Women are whores.”

Initially, this sounded ridiculous to me. Calling women whores is not something I’d ever thought I’d made a stereotype of. Even as a derogatory word, I’ve used it rarely and only on women who slept around a too much. Nevertheless, I wrote it down. To describe the sight of the inner junk to trigger such a belief as “unexpected” is an understatement.

This is my processing:

“Women are whores.”
True? No. It’s just they’ve been made to appear this way in this female-repressive society. Also, I’ve made my female side a whore by selling it to anyone who I’d thought I could get love and approval from by being tough, manly, etc. Just a reflection of myself. I willingly accept and embrace my female side and the necessity of its integration for wholeness. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.
As you can see, I didn’t include step 3 ("I willingly release…"). Had I, it would would’ve looked something like this:

I willingly release the belief that women are whores. I willingly release the need to repress my female qualities such as love and empathy in attempt to attain love and approval of others. I willingly release the belief that I’m not manly enough as is.

Surprise, surprise…

Two More Examples

The next two examples are also from my processing in the “Women” category.

“Women are seductive.”
True? Not inherently, though some may choose to behave seductively. Any truth there may be to a stereotype seems likely to have been developed by women in attempt to get love, attention, respect, etc. from males through eons of being treated less than dogs. Alternately, through history men have shown that they don’t often do a very good job of managing their sexual appetite; that they’d rather blame, label, negate, and control women than resolve their own frustrations.

As for me… I’ve repressed my female qualities in order to fit in, to be “normal.” Yet knowing subconsciously the sense of wholeness it could provide for me, I feel drawn to reintegrate with it. On the outside this appears as if women are self-glorified sex machines trying to entice me and other men. Such is the guidance of false belief and a distorted culture. But inside it’s me yearning for wholeness of self and being afraid of the experience of reintegration. It’s simply the female energy that is seductive to me specifically because I feel so distant from it within yet need it so badly.

I willingly accept and embrace the female aspect that is me. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.
“Women are useless.”
True? No. They have about 4,900,000,364 functions. This belief stems from a heritage of such belief and from the fact that I’ve utterly shut down to my female nature. I believe it does not serve me, so I shut it out. I now see that it must have a use because my life is useless without its integration. I may have thought I could end my pain and suffering by stuffing it away, but I still hurt extremely badly, none of my hope in stuffing it away ever succeeding. I seem not to have a use until my female side is reawakened. I’ve sold my wholeness in attempt to become useful to society, family, etc. Yet I’ve become useless to myself, splintered. Now I cannot appease anyone out there or in here. I use supposed female uselessness to stuff away my pain and self-protect; but it doesn’t work. I’ve never fit in, I’ve never been manly enough, good enough, tough enough. I willingly accept and embrace my female side, the usefulness of it, the necessity of it for wholeness. I willingly accept and embrace women as useful, as male equals. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.
“Women are useless.” Apparently I believed that one. Seems so outrageous to me, as if I’m a female slave owner from the 1600’s (in which case they still would have been useful…).

Again, a central key in this is that the above beliefs and others came up and I wrote them down and worked through them—regardless of how preposterous they’d initially sounded. And what a delight it has been then to see and heal so many false concepts “out there” and their reflected toxic waste “in here.”


I want to call your attention to the fact that at no point in this work should you create new beliefs. For instance, if you find yourself with the work-related false belief of, "Work isn’t supposed to be enjoyable." Run through the process as detailed above and be done. Do not then create a new belief saying, “I willingly now believe that work is supposed to be fun.”

Simply clear out the junk and then let your experience flow exactly as it flows in any given moment. Whether you believe work is supposed to be unenjoyable or fun, you’re still believing in something which means that you’re still perceiving, thinking, behaving, and emoting about life as “supposing” to be a certain way, a certain way which it won’t always be. Your expectations will repeatedly be shattered, and you’ll be disappointed over and over again.

Plus, reality is. Rarely do we need to have beliefs about anything. Reality will be there whether we believe it or not. Like the birds, bees, trees, wolves, and ocean, they all work in a flawless unity because they’re only ever focused on reality.

They accept what is, they flow with what is, sometimes they eat, and sometimes they’re eaten. It’s just the way it goes.