Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Silly Traditions: Permission To Wed

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

The Tradition

For those within whatever world cultures this applies (maybe it's only here in the US), you are probably well aware of the “permission to wed” tradition. Even if you’ve never done it yourself, you’ve probably heard of it on many occasions.

Basically, before a man proposes to a woman (because it has to be the man proposing with that diamond ring to show her that a man buying a woman material riches is what love is all about), the man is supposed to go to the woman’s father and ask if he has permission to marry his daughter.

Conditional Love Or Self-Integrity

“Yes, dear. I love you. So much. And I want to be with you until death do us part… Or until I go to your father, as tradition suggests, to request permission for your hand in marriage and in the off-chance he says “no,” well, so long! It’s been real!

Now that’s love, baby!

Suppose you were in this situation. Suppose the father said “no.” Then what? Are you really going to just walk away from the relationship, allowing some dude’s selfish opinion to determine one of the most important decisions of your life? Or, because you’ve now asked, been denied, and can’t get in a time machine to reverse course, are you going to say to hell with the woman’s father because you demand the self-integrity to make your own decisions, to which he’s going to detest that you have defied his wishes?

Non-Integral Approval

And, you know… Hold on. I need to backtrack. Because if you haven’t done much if any self-healing work, then you probably don’t know…

One of the biggest Oh. Damn. Really? realizations a person will have early on when doing self-healing work is that people rarely say “yes” when they mean “yes” and “no” when they mean “no.” And they’ve been lying like this for so long that rarely do they even recognize when they do it (or else they somehow faultily see that the “rewards” of non-integrity are greater than in being true). They’ve become devoid of self-integrity and instead react to most of life’s situations based on subconscious ideas such as: Would mom or dad approve of this? What will my neighbors, friends, or fellow church-goers think? What does authority say I should do?

Most people live whole lives like this. Which gets me wondering then: How many fathers who’re asked by a potential son-in-law to marry their daughter say “yes” when deep down they mean “no”?

I don’t feel like it’s some grossly huge number, but I do suspect that the number of fathers who do say “yes” when wanting to say “no” would come as another Oh. Damn. Really? kind of surprise.

Plus, the soundness of a father’s decision-making may not be as sound as average perception would have it appear. It might be thought: By all means, it’s his own daughter he’s giving away. Of course he’s going to say “no” if he doesn’t approve.

I disagree.

When you realize, if you realize, the depth to which the average person is making nearly every decision not by free will as it appears but as driven by subconscious (i.e.: unknown) fears, errant beliefs, and trauma-based directives, you will also realize how it is that a grown man can “give his daughter away” (as if he owned her to begin with… right…) to a man he disapproves of.

To which the soon-to-be-wed man walks away feeling glorious that he got approval (never noticing in his average Joe’s blindness that he’d been lied to), while the father spends his days in regret of not standing up for his true feelings, hoping the relationship ends sooner rather than later, and faking approval in every future instance involving the man.

“It’s About Respect”

Then there's this whole "respect" thing...

Firstly, if the man intends to marry a woman regardless of what her father thinks, what relevance does respect-in-request even play? Because the respect surely isn't going to be for the father. If anything, it would then be to respect a tradition... Which is quite dumb considering that the man would not only be respecting a rather arbitrary-seeming-important, man-made "rule," but he'd be doing it merely for the father's egotistical pleasure.


What's peculiar to me, too, is when some suggest that the father should still be asked permission, out of respect, of course, even if the proposal is made prior to that request.

Hey, Mr. Twangerson. I hope you don't mind that I've already taken the liberty of proposing to your daughter. Do I have your permission for that?

This doesn’t sound much different from me going into my neighbor’s garage to borrow his lawn mower and then storing it in my own garage until it's needed again… though with the provision that after borrowing and storing the mower in my own garage I’d then ask if it were okay to use.

Because that’s respect, right?

Closing Thoughts

Just one individual’s opinion here, but if it has any value to you, “permission to wed” seems to me an absurd tradition. It might appear that in the past it had some reasonable value based on certain cultural norms of the times in which it arose, but really, as noted above, the ideas on which this tradition is based seem more senseless than anything.

As the common man seeks ever more sense, integrity, freedom, and (do I really have to say this...?) love-based love, requesting permission to wed is just one more concept that’s been held on to well past its expiration date.

And I don't know about you, but I know when I see mold on something, it means it's high time to throw it out.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Of Marriage

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

A Questionable Commitment

Two people decide to get married, to say, “I do,” forever and ever and ever.

Okay, well, at least until one of them dies. Or gets too wrinkly. Or gets really unhappy. Or doesn’t feel like folding the clean laundry anymore.

But it’s still a pretty big commitment. Especially since most people aren’t doing it for true love (as they confidently believe) but instead, subconsciously, wanting their significant other to fill in the voids in their life… something for which the divorce rate implicitly shows there’s a lot of shattered expectations and disappointment in the area of.


There’s the idea that marriage is important because it affirms loyalty, honesty, trust, and so on.

Uhhh… Does it really?

The last time I checked, nothing integrally experienced needs to be affirmed because it already fully is.

To suggest that expected interrelationship qualities need to be affirmed is actually to insinuate that the qualities are not of a satisfactory nature to begin with and so they must be sworn to, to God and in law, to prevent deviation from expectation.

Some might label this with words such as control and fear. I do, anyway.

Seems more sensible to simply choose trust and honesty. For if we can’t fully trust the one we call “significant other,” “partner,” “lover,” “second half,” “twin flame,” or whatever else without “bounding” him or her to us, there have to be some underlying issues begging to be addressed.

For instance: If you’re afraid “your” woman is going to run away, you need to be far less concerned with “eternal bondage” than with ironing out your personal abandonment fears and insecurities. Locking her in a box so she can’t run away is nothing but force and resistance, both of which only ever cause more friction and more hurt.

You might also consider that you’re attaching to the woman for the wrong reasons: Like maybe you know she’s a sleeper-arounder who’ll probably leave you for the next hot guy she passes, but due to your own unresolved childhood beliefs of your mom behaving the same way, you’ve come to believe that sleeping-arounding is what “unconditional love in relationships looks like.”

And there’s the key: (…not sleeping-arounding, but…) What does unconditional love look like to me but I know clearly, when I’m really brutally honest with myself, is not? What is the mother/father reflection I am seeing in this person and clinging to in fear and/or desire?

Religion’s Marriage

If needing to get married is a religious thing, I still don’t get it.

Do you really—reallyreally, truly—believe that if you’re 100% honest, loyal, etc. but have a family out of wedlock, God is going to smite you? I’m pretty sure it’s never happened.

And this marriage rite, is it right? I mean, it’s a man-made ritual enforced by a man-made institution. But it’s not the man-made ritual enforced by the man-made institution that the guy down the street swears by as true. It’s also different still from the man-made ritual enforced by some other man-made institution adhered to by the woman up the street.

Is his God your God or her God? Different ritual, different religion, perhaps a different God? I don’t know… So many religions proffering so many separate “One Right Ways,” I have to wonder if God, himself, doesn’t get confused!


Our many diverse cultures and religions carry quite a wide variety of ideas as to what exactly the implications of marriage are. No matter, they’re all basically saying the same thing of long-term and sexual relationships themselves: If you’re going to be in a relationship, you damn well better get married… or else…

Or else, what?

Or else you might be happy. Or else you might be a free mover and thinker. You might be more creative and focus more on the positive in life than the negative that triggers you every time you look at your wife of 36 years who you keep telling you “love” because that’s what your religion and society have told you to do since Day 1. You fear doing anything different because of all the threat of punishment and ostracism and judgment and criticism and shame and blame and guilt.

Folks, these are all ideas. Not facts or necessities but ideas. And very painful ones, at that. And you uphold these painful ideas by putting your active energy and belief into them as if they are some “Absolute Truth of Creation.”

They’re just ideas. Ideas that have been taken way too far.


Which brings us to the point of freedom and well-being.

Shouldn’t there be freedom to move in and out of relationships as one feels appropriate, assuming the I-love-you-forever-and-ever blind infatuation has passed or one or both partners aren’t working cohesively anymore and have no interest in seeking counseling? Or maybe because they have worked cohesively, with each partner learning the life lessons their other partner provided them, at which point they may no longer be attracted to each other?

Shouldn’t there be freedom to move in and out of relationships as one feels appropriate, without all the dramatic hoopla of absurd legal work and sanctified-by-God(-or-maybe-not) religious annulments with all their added guilt, shame, blame, and financial and material goods who-gets-what-and-how-much insanity?

Divorce and Children

“So you’re okay with divorce, then? What about the kids?”

What about ‘em?

By all means, sure, if parents get divorced then the kids are going to go through a lot of profound hurt. But do you not think that if those same parents stayed together but at constant odds, in resentment of each other, at a cold yet “friendly” distance, that all the stress and negativity and unhappiness wouldn’t traumatize them for life and warp their minds as to what “love” is, anyway?

Which should tell a lot to you folks who’re experiencing a rocky relationship and thinking that maybe having a kid will improve it. If you’re unsatisfied with your partner now, you’re going to be unsatisfied with your partner later… Only on top of all the relationship drama, you’ll have a kid between you to share it with.

Non-Marital Sex

“I suppose you must be okay with sex outside of marriage, too…”

There’s also the argument—at least from many religionists and other you-damn-well-better-abstain-from-sexual-activity-because-I-was-denied-it-and-don’t-want-to-face-and-resolve-my-inner-hurt-and-thus-blame-and-resent-those-who-experience-free-sexuality-type people—that no one should ever have sex (or sexual experiences beyond kissing) outside of marriage. If you’re one who believes this, do you really know this to be so? Or do you just believe whatever your religion (or conservative politicians or the like) or suffering-inducing beliefs tell you to?

Fact of the matter is: sexual expression—while, yes, it has the potential to create babies and so care must be taken—is as natural and nearly as necessary as eating and sleeping. It has to be done for survival of the species, and it plays a vital role in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being—a well-being for which the requirements do not magically accommodate based on who's married or as yet unwed.

The sex center is also the center for emotion and the source of one’s non-sexual creativity.

To thus deny one’s sexual nature is to deny an enormous aspect of what makes us whole, integrated human beings.

There sometimes arises the argument that people are more likely to break up when they have sex outside of marriage.

This argument is garbage. People in general are simply becoming more and more dissatisfied with life yet aren’t willing to make the effort to do the inner work necessary to improve. What this means is that they’re more and more likely to act on inner imbalances “out there” in an attempt to find fulfillment “in here.”

“Love” relationships and sex both then become selfish endeavors. People want to have the “greatest high” in life but without feeling the lows. Because it’s all for egotistical gain, the inner world suffers and external disappointment ensues… Just like it does with the majority of people who do get married, only those who get married are more likely (though this percentage is decreasing) to stay together simply because they’ve got the marriage contract and very possibly the weight of repressive religious and cultural beliefs and associated threats of punishment, shame, and so on.

In Closing

Individuals need to work to clean up their own inner imbalances so they’re neither getting into relationships for egotistically blind reasons nor blaming their imbalances on their partner and thus creating separation. So, too, do couples need to work together in relationship development so as to more easily smooth out the sore spots.

If marriage feels right to you, by all means, do it. As far as this writer is concerned, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the rite in and of itself.

But if you should take the time to do the necessary self-inquiry of the as-yet-unquestioned beliefs you’ve been accumulating since you popped out of the womb, you will come to see that not every relationship is meant to last forever. Indeed, most are not. They’re temporal learning experiences, only most people have forgotten and been unwilling to change so they’ve ended up pigeon-holing themselves in them for “forever” anyway.

Attaching chains, literally or figuratively, to human beings is and has always been a surefire way to manifest unhappiness and slavery.

Yes, slavery. Just because something is “normal” or “acceptable” doesn’t mean it’s just or rational.

Remember that love is only love when it’s free. When love is bound and gagged, that’s called… Well, quite often it’s called marriage.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Framing References

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

The “Comfort” of “Knowing”

The purpose of this writing is to help you accept others people as is.

In other words, the purpose of this writing is to help you get beyond any criticisms, complaints, and judgments you may have about others, to get past any lack-of-understanding mental obstructions you may have about others, and accept these others—all others—for who they are, as they are.

On the whole, the reason we complain and criticize and such to begin with is because we don’t understand. We’d like to believe we do, but truly we don’t. Our perceived lack causes us discomfort and this discomfort is something few of us are willing to face head on. We thus clumsily fill in the ad-lib blanks of the stories we create in our minds about our subjective experiences—and totally believe them—in order to feel the “comfort” of “knowing.” Unfortunately, these stories lean heavily toward the false, irrational, negative, and destructive.

But be that what it may, there is in us a deeper yearning for love, peace, and acceptance, whether we know the full story or not.

If you feel drawn to step away from all the lies and false mental “comforts,” I invite you now to follow me as I provide you with a key concept of understanding and 5 tips to increased clarity.

Are you with me?

Good. Then let’s go…

Framing References

The key concept of understanding is in awareness of varying Frames of Reference.

What is a Frame of Reference, or FoR?

A FoR can be defined as the internal foundation out from which a person’s life expressions come. In other words, a FoR is the set of fears, beliefs, traumas, and all other conscious and subconscious stuff that determines what a person thinks, says and does, how they interact with others, and so on.

There are two points to make about this.

The first point is…

In the barest sense, in order to peacefully accept others as is you don’t have to know their FoR. You can, without a doubt, be more compassionate toward and accepting of others without this knowing. You simply acknowledge that those people you don’t understand—and may well make you want to piss and bitch and moan—have Frames of Reference that don’t jibe with your own.

To note, if you’re being triggered into reaction, it’s because there’s something about the others that is unconsciously resonant with something similar in yourself that you don’t like. At this you would do well to look within and resolve it.

Of the second point…

You may recognize the FoR of others to varying degrees of clarity. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll somehow know specific rooting incidents of their childhood. But you can, depending upon your level of awareness, pick up on body language, behaviors and practices, emotional expression or the lack thereof, etc. and be able to learn something about what internal references are framing a person’s experience. If and when you get really clear on things, you can read cues in just about everything related to them—type of job, where they shop, pet behavior, and so on.

For starters, a for instance: People generally cross their arms in conversation when they’re not interested in what others are trying to share with them; they may also slouch or lean. Subconsciously, these are maneuvers to inhibit the incoming energy of other; the former a straightforward attempt to block it and the latter an expression of the “weight” being more than they care to hold.

In a second instance, consider emotion and behavior. A boy is crying on the playground after being hurt. A bully walks over and calls the boy a “crybaby sissy.” As an onlooker you wonder how that bully could be so mean. Simply, the bully doesn’t know any better. It may be that his father is a “manly man” who refuses to cry and punishes and belittles his son for doing so. Now the son is out to prove to his father that he’s “good enough,” that he deserves his father’s “love” and approval.

Overall, if this work is to be taken to any depth below the immediate acceptance of other as having a Frame of Reference different than your own, the key point to remember is that you must get underneath superficial exterior observation and beyond the mind's immediate need to make self-serving fairytales. What you see in others (like what you, yourself, have been putting out to others) is 99.5% of the time a mostly unconsciously-scripted act.

With an open mind you must entertain the ways of others as though your own: If I behaved as they do, what beliefs, assumptions about life, and so on would I have to hold?

Here are 5 tips about making peace with the ways of others:

Tip 1: Education and Intuition

For the average person, a reasonable place to begin this work is with education. Inform yourself in areas such as behavioral psychology and self-help. This doesn’t mean you’ll need college courses but reading articles and books, watching videos, and talking with those who know will be a big help. Look into it and see what resonates.

While gaining an intellectual foundation, make it practical by observing both your own behavior and that of others; the former of which you can trace back with questions such as: What is this posture providing for me? and, Is this natural or learned? If learned, from who/what/where/when and to what ends?

You can also develop your intuition, which may be aided by the intellectual for perspective, and see what it speaks about self and others. Briefly, this can be done through self-inquiry and observation.

Whereas the solutions to math equations typically require the same formulas over and over again, intuition is open; meaning, you have to ask the appropriate questions and then “get empty” and see what comes up. Writing things out intellectually may certainly help at times, but intuition comes through a wholly different part of you. Again, the intellect provides reasoning and perspective, not intuitive guidance.

To know whether internally-attained information is intuitive or not, consider these 4 factors:
  1. Is it non-judgmental? If not, it’s false and of ego.
  2. Does it work? Intuition is “knowing without knowing.” It may contradict both what you’ve learned intellectually and what others believe, just as you may never get physical proof. No matter, it’s appropriate.
  3. Did it arise spontaneously? Insight springs forth from a still mind. Most other thought is misguided chatter posing as truth.
  4. Is it creative or unexpected? Intuition doesn’t work by the book. It’s not a close friend of standardization. It’s not asking for approval.
Also be aware that intuitive guidance doesn’t only come from within, per se. It does, but it can be more reflective in that you may get answers “out there.” For instance, if you notice you have issues with lack and question yourself about it, the answer may never spring directly into your mind. However, depending upon your level of attentiveness, you may notice that yesterday you’d questioned where your life-is-lack beliefs stem from and today your grandfather unexpectedly stopped over at your house and talked about the impoverished experiences he’d lived through during the great depression.

Answers are everywhere. It’s your task to figure out and ask the necessary questions.

Tip 2: Functionality

Remain mindful that what anyone says or does isn’t “good” or “bad” or “right” or “wrong.” Such determinations are old, broken, dualistic thought processes. Sure, seeing the survival-focused “badness” perspective can serve us when we’re about to be attacked by a stranger in a dark parking lot. But judging “badness” of so many otherwise safe things we experience in daily life is to put on the blinders of a blurry Frame of Reference.

The way of any given individual (whether mystic or miscreant) is their way because to them it is functional. They use it because for them, whether they have full control of their behaviors or not, their inner directives on some predominating level of consciousness cause them to be that way.

Acceptance of and having compassion and even gratitude for other people is vastly easier when we’re able to discern functionality before making judgments.

Tip 3: Why Not?

When others put you in a state of discomfort and confusion you wonder, Why?

Perhaps the better question is, Why not?

We’ve been living in an experience of duality, which absolutely could not exist if there weren’t equal and opposite forces at work. As you may choose to be kind, so another may choose to be unkind; as you may choose to be unkind, so another may choose to be kind.

For the vast majority of people the vast majority of times, people who hurt others (and you’re sometimes going to be one) are all unwittingly and repeatedly playing out exactly, yet with personal interpretation, what their parents and childhood environment had taught them.

It’s a choice to teach it. It’s a choice to carry it on. It’s a choice to unlearn it and do something different. What any individual will choose and when is theirs and theirs alone.

Tip 4: Unawareness and Innocence

The fourth tip relates to unawareness: Others may not even know they are hurting you or the hurt may be you unknowingly hurting yourself based on personal false beliefs and misperceptions.

Frame of Reference-wise, perhaps your perceived offenders had never learned what you did so they think nothing errant of their behaviors.

Take many of the drivers from New York City in example. I live in Pennsylvania in a well-populated city, but traffic here at its worst hardly compares to daily traffic in NYC.

Once I’d turned 16 and got my driver’s license, I raved about every NY driver I neared on the road because their driving practices seemed so wild compared to my own. Then at 30, after 14 years of complaining, I had to drive to NY with someone—straight through NYC and Times Square, no less.

I was quickly humbled.

“Wild” driving is the culture anywhere even remotely close to NYC. Turn signals are optional and may go on only one flash before lanes are changed. Honking is the norm. Heavy stop and go traffic is more common than breathing. Said differently, unpredictable driving is the culture, it’s the FoR. If you want to drive to NYC and live to tell about it, you basically have to drive that way.

Which is all to say: When those New Yorkers come on in to PA, they have no thought that they’re hurting anyone. They’re merely driving how they drive, momentarily away from the rush yet with the NYC traffic culture still fully embedded and active. In truth, my biggest source of anguish was in me hurting myself with all my ignorance, frustration, and misplaced condemnations.

Tip 5: Personal Perspective

This final tip is in regard to the verbal cues of others.

Consider that much of what people speak (and we do an awful lot of talking!) can be begun or ended with a phrase such as, “from my perspective.” After all, it is in individual perspective (informed by beliefs, fears, etc.) that determines one’s perceptual life experience and what is related to others and how. In other words, we speak from our Frame of Reference. Just as we do with other behaviors, our words reveal to everyone exactly what our fears, beliefs, and so forth are.

Truly, little if anything is hidden. No matter how hard anyone may try to hide something from themselves or others, they’re still, usually unwittingly, telling everybody.

The question is: Who has ears to hear?

Do Your Own Work

The deeper you wish to go in framing references, the more important it is to work on understanding your own self. Because a fact of life is that you will never “get” anyone else unless you “get” yourself. At the end of the day, all life really is is a mirror of self. You see what you be.

If you’ve got all sorts of fears and silly ideas about how life is and how people are—though, of course, without self-work you’ll probably think them as “normal,” “right,” and “good”—you are going to project these falsities onto the world around you. You are going to inaccurately “read” others and open yourself and others to hurt. The imbalances you see in others will be, first and foremost, the reflected imbalances you see in you.

Even worse, because the ego so neeeeeds to “know” and be “right,” is that this perceived power can become arrogance which can lead to an unquenchable need to tell other people what’s wrong with them, how they should be doing things differently, and all that stuff that reeks of interference.

Yet, in the end all Frames of Reference are equal because they’re all wholly subjective.

So rather than taking your thoughts, words, actions, and mannerisms and such at face value, as “the gold standard” by which everyone should live—something nearly all of us have done to some degree since childhood—be sure to work out your internal struggles.

Only as you truly progress in understanding yourself, and thus become more accepting, aware, forgiving, and the like of yourself, will you truly be able to see others clearly and accept them and their “them-ness” as is.