The Effortlessness of the Design

One of the things that drew me to teaching and sharing this understanding is I could see how different this was from everything else.

Everything I had come across prior or since has been focused on doing. There was always something to practice, affirm, remember, find, solve, fix, manage, control, change, adjust, uncover, investigate, do, be or have.

And when I was introduced to the principles I teach, share and coach from, it was obvious that none of that was necessary.

Instead of effort and having to do something to feel better, do better or have a nicer life, I saw how truly effortlessly we’re designed.

New ideas, solutions, perspectives, fresh thinking comes to us automatically.

Without having to do a single thing.

Insights, understanding and transformation are built-in to the system.

They’ve been happening since you were born and will continue to unfold throughout your lifetime. They’re what allowed you to learn how to speak, write, read, cook, drive, and a million other things.

Your mental health and well-being is a given, a default setting no one can be without.

It’s not the result of achievement, striving, effort, or anything else we think is a pre-requisite.

You already have it all. You already ARE it all. 

Clarity, love, peace, joy, creativity, calm, resilience, well-being… it’s all already yours.

Job done.

Effortlessly. Easily. With nothing you need to do to earn it.

If you’re not feeling that in this moment it’s perfectly okay, no human lives in the feeling of their true nature 24/7.

But dropping into that feeling is natural and effortless. So full permission to just relax. Give up. Stop trying. Stop seeking. Stop striving. Chill. Enjoy. Be.

The effortlessness of the design is already working perfectly.

On the Mystery of Wisdom

Wisdom: A word often used to describe the innate intelligence of all living things, including us.

Human beings generally don’t like not knowing things. We don’t do well with uncertainty, surprise or the unknown.

So often when I discuss the truth that we are made of wisdom, people want to know what wisdom will say.

How will it show up?

What will it have me do?

What solution will it come up with?

What new thinking will I have?

How will I see things differently?

What will occur to me?

And the truth is: I don’t know.

I know wisdom is within all of us; it’s the very essence of our being. It’s wisdom that’s beating our hearts, breathing our lungs and dividing our cells.

It’s wisdom that’s moving experience through us, and giving us something new and fresh in each moment.

But the form it’ll take? We have absolutely no clue.

It’s a bit like signing up for a mailing list. We know we’ll get something on the related topic: if we’re signing up for a culinary list we’ll get recipes. If we’re signing up for a yoga list we’ll get yoga practices. If we’re signing up for a music list we’ll get recently released songs.

But the form it’ll take? No clue. The recipe, the song, the practice… it’s completely unknown.

But we know we’ll get something.

If we can relax into the certainty that something will show up: a new solution, thought, perspective, idea, or action…

Then we can stop concerning ourself with the who, what, when, how of it and relax into our lives more.

We don’t have to sign up to the “wisdom” mailing list. It’s automatically set on “deliver indefinitely” when we’re born.

So we either understand that it’s inherently unknown yet reliable.

Or we think we should know it and drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out what will be sent and when.

Or we think it’s not reliable and stress ourselves out over what will be sent and when.

Both become unnecessary when we see that wisdom is 100% reliable but 98% unpredictable, as my mentor Michael Neill likes to say.

We don’t know what we’ll get, but we can relax into the fact that we’ll get something, we simply can’t not.

On The Warmth of Love

What do tenderness, compassion, intimacy, warmth, affinity, connection and bliss all have in common?

They’re simply descriptions of our true nature. That deeper place that exists universally in all of us is made of love.

As a space of love it comes through as a beautiful feeling because it is a beautiful feeling.

It’s a deeper essence underneath all the temporary dancing of our personal thinking.

It’s a solid place beneath the transient ideas we have of ourselves and others.

Sometimes it will come in the form of self-forgiveness: a deep sense that we knew we were doing the best we could in that moment and that’s perfectly okay.

Sometimes it’s seeing the innocence in someone’s action on tv: that they’re so clearly acting out of insecurity and are trying their best to feel better, no matter how misguided their actions.

Sometimes it looks like two lovers that can’t take their eyes off each other because they’re drinking in each other’s beauty.

Sometimes it’s that cozy feeling you fall into when laughing with your best friend.

Sometimes it’s the heart-bursting bliss you feel when you hug your furry friend.

Sometimes it’s standing at a hockey game and feeling the sense of oneness in the crowd.

Sometimes it’s a quick smile between two strangers on a snowy street.

A look, a touch, a feeling, a moment.

We drop beneath the noise of our personal thinking and we touch something more fundamental.

We move away from the fuzzy distortion of our ideas about life and fall into the signal that’s always present.

We wake up from the nightmare and find ourselves just sitting in a beautiful feeling with no effort whatsoever.

The default state we share reveals itself and we feel it instantly, deeply, profoundly.

We just find ourselves in the warmth of love. Welcome home.

What Do We Do About Major Problems?

I received a message today from someone asking me how this understanding can help with major problems.

She feels that perhaps seeing the truth about our human experience can maybe help us with minor problems, but major problems just are major problems.

So what do we do about them?

Well firstly, it’s really helpful to know that “major problem” is made up. Now I don’t mean the situation, circumstances or things in the world of form aren’t happening, I’m sure they are or at the very least they could be.

But for a situation to be a “major problem” we need to take seriously the thinking that says it’s a major problem.

If we don’t think something is a problem, we don’t experience it as a problem.

If we don’t experience it as a problem, it’s just simply not a problem to us.

I know, I know, this may sound too simple.

But truly: without believing the thinking that says a circumstance, situation or event is a problem, there is no problem. It just is what it is.

Most of the time I think climate change is a a major problem. When I’m thinking about it in that way I feel scared, hopeless, fearful, distressed, upset, angry and stuck.

When I don’t see it as a major problem I tend not to feel those things.

Climate change is still happening in the world of form, regardless of what I think, believe and experience about it.

Yet when I allow my thinking to shift and change (as it naturally is designed to do, thank goodness that’s not our job) I see climate change differently.

I see it as the by-product of a low level of global consciousness. I see it as an effect of self-consciousness, greed, insecurity and fear on a massive scale.

When my mind isn’t taking seriously all the fear, hopelessness and distress that comes along with the “major problem of climate change”, I have room to see it differently.

In that space something new occurs to me. It makes sense for me to do certain things and cease certain things. It might occur to turn my attention inwards and see where I’m innocently part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

I get answers and solutions that were previously unknown to me. I see the same events in a deeper, broader, more interconnected way. I have ideas that I didn’t have when I was staring down at the “major problem of climate change”.

And in that space, I have access to the unknown. Since my mind isn’t totally bogged down with all my “major problem” thinking, I get fresh thinking. This may take the form of ideas about anything: innovation, technology, education, personal change, societal change, global change, etc.

The important thing is not nailing down what the solution might be, it’s seeing where solutions come from.

Solutions come from where all new thinking comes from: the unknown. The not yet created. The not yet formed. The nothing (no thing) out of which everything (every thing) arises.

If something is looking like a “major problem” right now, the good news is a) you don’t have to take that thinking seriously, and b) you can go back to the drawing board and allow yourself to have fresh thinking about it.

We’re designed to see things differently when we don’t take seriously the current thinking we have about it.

So what do we do about major problems? We realize that “major problem” is an unhelpful label that we don’t have to buy into, and we rest in the space of pure potential that is the birthplace for answers and solutions.

On The Three Truths of Gratitude

This recent weekend was the Thanksgiving long weekend here in Canada and I swear each year that passes I love this holiday more and more.

This year though, I’m seeing a deeper dimension of what we all have to be grateful for.

That we are (all of us, no exceptions) the living, breathing manifestation of some universal truths.

There’s some truths that apply to all of us equally, regardless of circumstance, location, age, situation, history, ethnicity, gender, or anything else that makes us feel different.

Truth #1: Everything you experience is the energy behind life brought to life within you in any given moment. That energy changes automatically and naturally without any doing on our part.

What this means for us (and why it’s something we can all be grateful for) is we can’t be stuck in anything permanently. No matter how bad we feel, how awful our current experience is, how crazy or icky or hopeless our thinking is, it HAS to change.

It can’t not change. Change is in it’s nature. It’s in the fundamental design.

The same way the leaves can’t help but fall in autumn, your thinking, feeling and experience has to change at some point.

Truth #2: When your experience changes, the life you see out your eyeballs changes with it.

This is why we can go from hating someone to loving them (and vice versa) without them actually changing.

It’s how we can bemoan an ending one day and see beauty and hope in it the next. It’s how we can love the rain then hate the rain then be neutral about the rain all in the span of a few hours.

It’s not coming from anything outside of us.

I know it really looks like it does, but in truth it doesn’t.

When we know that what we’re seeing out in our lives is a reflection of what’s going on in our minds in that moment, we’re free to let that perception shift and change as it naturally will (see Truth #1) and have our lives as we know them shift with it.

Truth #3: Our true nature, our deepest core essence, is pure love, well-being and peace.

Have you ever noticed that people never settle down into distressed, agitated states?

They settle into peace, connection, love, a state of rest and relaxation.

They say things like “I feel like myself again” or “I’m back to feeling fine”.

They act with more kindness and compassion, they have better ideas, they’re clearer and more creative. They see the best in life, enjoy things, and have easy, fulfilling relationships.

This is the natural state of everyone. This is what we all have going for us. Underneath the temporary weather of what we’re thinking, feeling and experiencing, we’re just whole, complete and always okay.

So this year it’s these truths that I’m the most thankful for.

The ones that have nothing to do with sipping hot chocolate lakeside on a gorgeous fall day, nothing to do with big feasts of delicious food and good company, nothing to do with anything that’s temporary.

Just some eternal, fundamental truths that we can all be grateful for, today and always.

On Insight

A question I often hear is some variation of

If the realization of these truths (often called insight) is what changes lives effortlessly, how do I have more insights?”

The bad news is you can’t force insights nor can you make yourself deeply realize a truth that you don’t yet deeply realize.

Because insights are a passive process any way of actively trying to make it happen won’t work and is quite frankly exhausting.

The good news is that the capacity for insight is built-in to the human system.

You’ve always been having insights even if you didn’t call it by that name or recognize that what shifted was in your mind, not in your life. 

You’ve had insights recently. Yes they might have been small, hardly noticed or explained away, but they’re still insights. You will always have insights, they’re part of the inevitable unfolding of life.

The more we can allow ourselves to relax and realize the job is already done for us, the less it’ll look like a good idea to try to force ourselves to have insights bigger or faster than we’re currently having.

Insights are like butterflies that land on your shoulder in a butterfly room (if you haven’t been to a butterfly room I highly recommended it, they are magical places).

The simple fact that you’re a human being means you’re already in the butterfly room.

If you want more butterflies to land on you, chasing them or begging them or running around trying to get closer to them is not going to work.

Instead you want to be still, open and completely unconcerned with which butterfly lands on which body part when.

Simply having an open mind and being willing to have new, fresh thinking about anything in your life (especially the things you believe can’t change)  is the psychological equivalent of relaxing on a bench in the butterfly room.

If you’re willing to see things differently and be wrong about what you think you know about life, you’re bound to see something new at some point. It’s inevitable.

It’s like sitting on the bench being curious as to which butterfly will land next  instead of frantically plotting, analyzing and figuring out how to draw the butterflies to you.

It’s peaceful, open and letting nature take its course as opposed to trying to get ourselves involved in a natural process.

The moment we’re less wedded to what we currently think we open the door to fresh thinking and seeing life anew.

On Driving From the Passenger’s Seat

Life has been giving me a (not so gentle) reminder lately…

Loud and clear it’s saying:

Hey, did you know you are not in control? Do you realise that you’re suffering because you mistakenly think you are?

You are not in control of what happens in your life, or in the lives of others, or what happens in the world.

You are not the driver of this vehicle. Sure, you can come along for the ride. You can be a front-seat passenger.

You can look out the window and enjoy the view. You can make up fun games. You can gather your favourite snacks and choose the best music and even make some suggestions about rest stops, destinations and detours from time to time.

But don’t forget: you’re not the driver.

And while that may sound victimy or passive at first glance, it actually comes with a lot of relief once I can see what’s behind it.

Drivers don’t get to nap on the job, they can’t chill out or shirk responsibility for any amount of time. They always have to be managing everything, sticking to schedules and consulting the GPS.

They’re constantly scanning the ever-changing environment, always actively doing something with an eye on the destination.

Lately though, I kind of forgot that I wasn’t the driver so I was trying to drive from the passenger seat, and failing miserably at it.

I was shouting instructions, repeating shoulder checks and trying to control the speed at which we were travelling.

It’s exhausting (not to mention impossible) to try to drive a car that you’re not actually driving.

I was trying to “do” life, deciding what should happen when, what shouldn’t happen at all and exactly when we should arrive where.

But life reminded me (probably for the hundreth time, if I’m honest): that’s not my job.

Yes, I can do something. I can look out the window and enjoy the ride. I can relax and ponder. I can get curious and reflective. I can daydream, laugh and sing along.

I can rest in my well-being. I can share the love and marvel in the views. I can connect with people whose paths I happen to cross. I can make the best of a rainy day.

I can do what occurs to me to do, make suggestions when it occurs to me to make them, and stay open to going places I’ve never been.

But make no mistake, I’m not driving. You’re not driving. We’re not the drivers of life.

Life is the driver of life. The Universe, the Unknown, Mind, the Life Force, and energy and intelligence of all things no matter what you call it… that’s the driver of life.

The more I relax and allow the driver do the driving, the nicer time I have.

I’m freed up to do what occurs to me to do as a passenger on the ride of life and let go of all the rest.

The timing? Not up to me. The destination? Not up to me. What other people do? Not up to me. My future? Not up to me.

All this suffering was just showing me I was trying to do something that’s not my job.

And that’s a really nice thing to know.